Today we celebrate the Feast of the Most Blessed Holy Trinity. This is one of the hardest feast days to preach or write about. It is difficult because we can’t fully grasp that our God never had a beginning and never has an end. No one created Him. He always was and always will be. It’s difficult because this God of ours is one God in three Divine Persons: the Father, the Son, and Holy Spirit. They are one God, and no Divine Person is greater than the other.
It is so hard to wrap our minds around why God created us. He doesn’t need us for anything. He wasn’t one day bored and lonely and said, “I need company, so I am going to create angels and humans.” He lacks nothing, and yet, He still created us. We can never fully understand the Trinity, but it is so important that we try. It is so important to understand why our God wants us to come to know Him and love Him. It is so important because we are made in the image and likeness of this Triune God. To learn about the Trinity and ourselves is a process. St. Francis de Sales said, “You learn to speak by speaking, to study by studying, to run by running, to work by working; and just so, you learn to love by loving.” God is Love, so we learn about Him by loving. Love is the only way we can come to know God and ourselves. In this love, it is always about going beyond oneself. In this love, it is always more about concern of others.
When thinking about God’s Love, a story that comes to my mind is one I heard from a man named Mark. He talked about his experience of learning about God as a boy. As a small boy, he was always late for dinner. One day, his parents had warned him not to be late or there would be consequences; and yet, he arrived later than ever. When he entered the house, he was starving and could smell the food. He went into the dining room and saw his parents already seated at the table about to start to eat. Set in front of his Mom and Dad was his favorite meal: steak, a baked potato, and asparagus. In the kitchen, he smelled his favorite desert that his mom made excitedly, which was chocolate cake. He sat at his place ready for this great meal, and then noticed what was set before him — just a slice of bread and a glass of water.
Mark sat there in silence staring at his plate, sad and starving. All of a sudden, his father’s hand reached, picked up Mark’s slice of bread and glass of water, and set it before himself. Then his dad gave Mark his plate of steak, baked potato, and asparagus, smiling as he made the exchange. As an adult, Mark realizes that His father took on the punishment that he deserved. Mark often says that, “All my life, I’ve known what God was like by what my father did that night.” God is so concerned about us that he took on the punishment that we deserved through His Son’s death on the cross. Again, God’s Love is self-giving not because He needs it, but because that is who He is. Is that who we are? Is that who we are striving to be?
We are called to participate in this same self-giving love. Would we be willing to take on the punishment of someone? Would we be willing to take on the punishment of a loved one who doesn’t want anything to do with God anymore? There is great power in this act of love. The more we come to know about this great power, the greater the responsibility we have to share this love in our lives.
This self-giving love gives us the power to become God-like in our sacrifices and offerings for others. We can share in this saving, life-giving power that God gave to us. We can offer things up for others as saving actions for their souls. We can offer our real sufferings and pains for others; however, to really offer self-giving love and sustain it, we must see God’s Love at work in our own lives. We must see how God loves us first and we can find God’s messages all around us. There is a love story that is going on in the world right now. God invites all of us to participate in this love story. So please, fall in love and stay in love with God, because it will make all the difference in the world.