Trinity Sunday

Fr. Tim’s Corner

                       My true self is found only in communion with others.

                                                                                                --Thomas Merton

Merton’s words ring true:  that it is in our relationships where we come to fathom the mystery of ourselves and arrive at self-acceptance; that true self made in God’s image and likeness.  In her book, “The Drama of the Gifted Child” the Swiss psychiatrist Alice Miller posits that a child, once it is born, begins to discover itself by a process she calls “mirroring”; that is, the child looks into the face of the parent and is “mirrored back”.  If the child meets up with confusion and ambivalence, the experience is wounding; where the child “introjects” this confusion and ambivalence.  If a parent’s love and focus are mirrored back, then the child discovers who it truly is.  A healthy bond takes hold.  At best, we find ourselves in the face of another.   It’s the way we’ve been wired and way to our true self; the self-discovery so essential for the maturation process.

I believe it all hints at the Trinity; the mystery we celebrate today.  In a similar manner, our relational nature and need for the other exists in God.  This hunger for connection, so much   part of our psyche, is found in God in some manner.  This movement beyond self—the outreach of love—is the self-same pull and movement known to God.  The god of the philosophers was known as the “Unmoved Mover”. Whereas in the Christian revelation—the face of Christ—we encounter a God who is deeply moved.  Though language limits, I do believe these parallels help us fathom something of God’s Triune nature.  At the heart of God, there is communion and relational life.  This is what makes us ‘tick’ and, in a way,     makes God ‘tick’ as well.

St. Augustine once wrote of the kingdom of heaven as ‘not just to be looked at but to be lived in.’  The Trinity, too,  is not some mystery we can look at.  What we celebrate today can only be lived.  So the artistic renditions of the Trinity are simplistic and so miss the point of this article of faith.  The Trinity is not some old man with a white beard, with Jesus in flowing robes, and a fluttering dove.  This does not do it justice and only leads to confusion.  We will be convinced of God’s Triune nature only when it is lived.  This is why the communal life is so necessary for Christian belief.  “Where two or three are gathered…there am I in the midst of you.”  It is in our communion with others—face to face—where we discover who we truly are and know first-hand that we are loved as we are.  It is this experience of relational life and love where something of God is made known.  It is the way we live the Triune nature of God’s life within our own skin.   

In my Croatian heritage, there’s a dance called the “Kolo”.  In this dance, people hold hands and form a   circle. Alive with music and movement, this circle of dancers goes round and round.  Whenever I’ve joined in, there’s always been this sense of oneness with those others in the circle.  Within the circular motion there’s sensed an energy coursing through me; a joy.  I can’t help but smile whenever I enter the dance. 

I like to believe that, at the heart of God, is found an endless, circular movement happening; a dance, if you will.  Perhaps, it is the movement of the planets and stars, as they go round and round in infinite space, which mirrors such a dance, within the silent, harmonious joy that is there.  Perhaps this best images the Triune God and three-person mystery we celebrate today.  Just a thought…

Father Tim Clark, pastor


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