Aliveness

Trinity: Part 1

Aliveness
Friday, May 10, 2019

Greatly ought we to rejoice that God dwells in our soul; and more greatly ought we to rejoice that our soul dwells in God. Our soul is created to be God’s dwelling place, and the dwelling of our soul is God. . . . And I saw no difference between God and our substance, but, as it were, all God; and still my understanding accepted that our substance is in God. —Julian of Norwich [1]

I find the “fidget spinner” toy a helpful illustration to understand the Trinity. [2] When still, a fidget spinner clearly has three different lobes; however, when it spins we lose sight of the distinct wings and simply see unbroken movement or flow. Even more significant than the qualities of the individual members of the Trinity is the flow between them. At the Trinitarian level, God is a verb more than a noun, God is a flow more than a substance, God is an experience more than a deity sitting on a throne. And we live naturally inside that flow of love—if we do not resist it.

Infinite love is planted within humans and all of creation. Everything is attracted to everything: life is attracted to life; love is attracted to love; God in you is attracted to God in everyone and everything else. This is what it means for everything to be created in the image of God (Genesis 1:26-27). God placed this alluring attraction of life toward life in everything that God created. Thus, we might say the Trinity is the soul of creation.

Once we allow the entire universe to become alive for us, we are living in an enchanted world. Nothing is meaningless; nothing can be dismissed. It’s all whirling with the same beauty, the same radiance. In fact, if I could name the Big Bang in my own language, I’d call it the Great Radiance. The inner radiance of God started radiating at least 13.8 billion years ago. We must realize that we are the continuation of that radiance in our small segment of time on Earth. We can either allow it and let the Trinitarian Flow flow through us or we can deny it, which is to deny the divine image.

This is nothing I can prove to you. This is nothing I can make logical or rational. It can only be known experientially in the mystery of love when you surrender yourself to it, when you grant subjectivity or a blessed I-Thou relationship to every other thing—a plant, an animal, a single tree, the big blue sky, “Brother Sun, Sister Moon,” as my Father Francis of Assisi put it. The contemplative mind refuses to objectify things. It sees similarity, likeness, symbolism, communion, connection, and meaning everywhere. It becomes a fully symbolic universe. Use whatever words you want, but with this vision you will live in a fully alive and congenial universe where you can never be lonely again.

References:
[1] Julian of Norwich, Showings, Chapter 54 (Long text), trans. Edmund Colledge and James Walsh (Paulist Press: 1978), 285.

[2] You can see and play with a digital fidget spinner here https://www.google.com/search?q=spinner.

Adapted from Richard Rohr: Trinity: The Soul of Creation (Center for Action and Contemplation: 2017), MP4 download.

Image credit: Rublev Troitsa (detail), Andrei Rublev, c. 1400–1410, Tretyakov Gallery, Moscow, Russia.
Inspiration for this week’s banner image: If we take the depiction of God in The Trinity seriously, we have to say, “In the beginning was the Relationship.” The gaze between the Three shows the deep respect between them. —Richard Rohr

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