Saturday, June 05, 2004

Solemnity of the Holy Trinity, Year C

There is actually an overlap between the commemoration of D-Day's 60th anniversary and the Solemnity of the Holy Trinity. When I think about what those brave soldiers did on that day, braving death diving out of airplanes, offering themselves up on the altars of the foreign shores of Normandy, staggering through the hedgerows which impeded everything they were told to do, I can think of only one motive. That motive is love. Even those German forces who had the living tar pounded out of them, I suspect the motive was the same. In the German forces, a large part of the enlisted infantry were conscripted Poles, Romanians, and other folks the Germans had run rough-shod over. They knew to flee meant a bullet in the back from their commanders, but all they wanted to do was go home and be free. So, pushed from the front and pinned from the back, these men opposed our fighting men, but I don't think it was happily, and I am more than certain that they did not endorse what the higher-ups of the Nazi government were up to.

The Trinity is the same way. The inner economy of their existence is translated into their external economy of action in the world. So, Creation becomes an expression of the Father's desire to love another and to show His care and solicitude for it. The Son's redemptive death is love poured out for us. The Spirit's sanctification is love rebuilding the one redeemed to be the image of the love that saved Humanity. In short, the Love which binds the Trinity together is not just for the three persons to share; it leaves a thumb print on everything it touches. That's why I particularly like this version of the Trinity rendered by El Greco.

The crossover extends to us as well. If we have been redeemed, then we are remade in the image of the Son, restored to the image and likeness of God, and therefore must live in the world as a participant in the life of the Trinity. In Heaven, the beatific vision will be unveiled before our "eyes". For now, in this life, the vision peeks through the edges of reality, making itself felt and known even now. But just as the Trinity and the soldiers of D-Day share in works exemplified by love, we know this life to be a trying battlefield. Oh, I know, the poet would have us overlook this, but the battle remains. We must strive against our foes (our sins, our vices, and our Ancient Enemy) and fight in the hard scrabble soil of our souls. In this day and age, we need not just the Theological and Moral Virtues to live the Christian Faith. We must have courage if we are live in the light of the Holy Trinity.

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