Living in the promise of peace our Triune God can give

By: By Sister Rachel Bergschneider, OSB

Solemnity of the Most Holy Trinity, May 26
Proverbs 8:22-31; Psalm 8:4-5,6-7,8-9; Romans 5:1-5; John 16:12-15

I once belonged to a study group that met monthly. At one of the meetings, a member of the group announced with all confidence that he had unraveled the meaning of the Trinity. He would explain it to the group. Even the great theologians throughout the centuries would be proud! Of course, the group fell short of understanding the explanation.

How do we “wrap our heads” around such a mystery? Many tomes have been written and countless arguments have been voiced to nudge at the mystery, without overwhelming success.

The God we, as Christians, believe in is a personal God . . . a relational God . . . a Triune God. Each of these descriptions is critical to helping us not only believe but be transformed by the reality of such a God. Transformed is the operative word here. No matter how long we study the Trinity, we will fall short. Our focus is to discern how these descriptions of God can open us to an experience of the God we hold most central in our lives.

To begin, Jesus tells us in today’s Gospel that “I have much more to tell you, but you cannot bear it now.” (John 16:12) Coming to “know” God is a lifetime endeavor. The Israelites, in their long journey to the Promised Land, gradually came to understand that God is personal. God cares. God has only our best interest at heart. The New Testament people knew God not only as personal, but relational because of Jesus and the Spirit’s presence in their lives.

The journey of the New Testament people — and still ours today — is one of discernment and prayer. We must resist the temptation to want to know it all now. The disciples, who were with Jesus for those three years, did not come to understand who Jesus was. How many times did Jesus reprimand them for their lack of understanding? We build on their understanding but still struggle to understand 2,000 years later and are limited in what we can hold in our heart.

We are people of promise. We live in the promise that God — Father, Son, and Spirit — will open us to the overwhelming goodness and peace that only the Triune God can give. A meditation on the three Persons of the Trinity hints at the indescribable love within the Trinity. Such love generates more love. Love is found in its fullness in the relationship of the Trinity.

What does this mean for how we are to live? Our lives reflect the God in whom we believe. How we are in our relationships is a mirror of how we really understand who God is. This promise we live in to be more like God is the promise to live in goodness and peace. Each day of our lives holds the promise of manifesting the love of the Triune, relational God. By our choices of manifesting goodness and love to those we encounter we pledge our commitment to become more like our God.

It is gradual, however. It is fidelity to remain open to hearing the “more” that we cannot now bear to understand. It is relying on and trusting in the God who cares for us, who loves us beyond any understanding we can ever have. It is being willing to live without the certitude that we know it all.

Prayer and discernment leave open the door of more, of trust in God who does not fail. By this we are gradually transformed into the person God desires for us to be.


SISTER RACHEL Bergschneider, OSB, is a member of the Sisters of St. Benedict of St. Mary Monastery in Rock Island. She serves as pastoral associate at St. Thomas the Apostle Parish in Peoria Heights.

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