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Center for Action and Contemplation

Trinity: Weekly Summary

Saturday, January 15, 2022

Recognizing Trinity as relationship itself opens conversations with the world of science. This surprising insight names everything correctly at the core—from atoms, to ecosystems, to galaxies. The shape of God is the shape of everything in the universe! —Richard Rohr

When we try to understand Jesus outside the dynamism of the Trinity, we do not do him or ourselves any favors. Jesus never operated as an independent “I” but only as a “thou” in relationship to his Father and the Holy Spirit. God is love, which means relationship itself. —Richard Rohr

We can think of the Holy Spirit as our interior homing device—that for all our stupidity and mistakes there is this deep internal intuition that we are the sons and daughters of God. No matter how lost we get, it keeps pointing us back “home”—to love, to connection, to meaningful relationship with Someone or something else, to soul. —Richard Rohr

The Trinity is infinite outpouring and infinite infilling without end. It can only be experienced as a flow, as a community, as a relationship, as an inherent connection. —Richard Rohr

The human person grows more, matures more and is sanctified more to the extent that he or she enters into relationships, going out from themselves to live in communion with God, with others and with all creatures. In this way, they make their own that trinitarian dynamism which God imprinted in them when they were created. —Pope Francis

Wherever the human heart is healed, justice gains a foothold, peace holds sway, an ecological habitat is protected, there the human and earth community already reflect in fragments, the visage of the trinitarian God. —Elizabeth Johnson

Receiving Love

Catholic writer about the new cosmology Judy Cannato (1949–2011) suggests a practice of being on the “receiving end” of Love, which is essential to participating in the trinitarian flow. She writes:   

The entire history of the universe has been the history of the outpouring of love. Karl Rahner reminded us that grace is nothing other than the Divine’s self-communication in love. God creates in order to give God’s self away in love. All that creation has ever been invited to do is accept this gift of love. . . . Unfortunately, in our orientation toward action, we have forgotten that we are merely receivers. . . .

Being loved disarms us, brushes away our ego defenses, and then exposes us not only to the other, but to ourselves. And it is from ourselves that we most often hide our gaze. . . . Everywhere the Holy One is shouting and whispering, “Let me love you.” And all that is asked of us is to receive. In reality, that is our life’s work. Nothing more and certainly nothing less.

Cannato encourages readers to practice receiving love from both God and people in our lives:

Try this exercise: sit quietly and bring to mind those who care for you—in the present and in the past. As you recall each person, receive the love that is there for you. Let it into your heart. Even if someone has a quirky way of showing love, receive the love. Sift through the dysfunction if you have to, but receive the love. Never mind if the person has never said, “I love you.” Receive the love, one by one. Hold all that love in your heart. Let it penetrate your whole being. How does it feel to consciously, intentionally receive all of that love? Can you allow that to sustain your journey for today?

Experience a version of this practice through video and sound.

Judy Cannato, Field of Compassion: How the New Cosmology Is Transforming Spiritual Life (Notre Dame, IN: Sorin Books, 2010), 170, 171, 179.

Explore Further. . .

Image credit: Brian McLaren, Untitled 4-6 (detail), 2021, photograph, United States. Jenna Keiper and Leslye Colvin, 2021, triptych art, United States.

The creative team at CAC sent a single-use camera to Brian McLaren as part of an exploration into contemplative photography. His photos are featured here in a form inspired by early Christian/Catholic triptych art: a threefold form that tells a unified story. 

Image Inspiration: Trinity is the mystery of deep, abiding relationship. Each of the organisms in these photos reflect different forms but share the same source, providing benefits to the others. They are intricately related in their shared ecosystem.

Prayer for our community:

God, Lord of all creation, lover of life and of everything, please help us to love in our very small way what You love infinitely and everywhere. We thank You that we can offer just this one prayer and that will be more than enough,  because in reality every thing and every one is connected, and nothing stands alone. To pray for one part is really to pray for the whole, and so we do. Help us each day to stand for love, for healing, for the good, for the diverse unity of the Body of Christ and all creation, because we know this is what You desire: as Jesus prayed, that all may be one. We offer our prayer together with all the holy names of God, we offer our prayer together with Christ, our Lord, Amen.

Listen to the prayer.

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