Today we celebrate Trinity Sunday and as Church we reflect for a moment on the greatest of mysteries – God is a communion of persons – Father, Son and Holy Spirit. Here it is most helpful to remember the Christian understanding of mystery: mystery is not a puzzle to be figured out and then set aside but rather a reality to be lived and as we live the reality we, ourselves, are brought to deeper understanding. On our own accord we cannot reason our way to the Trinity. The Trinity is the ultimate truth both revealed and given and it is in living in this truth that we come to be grasped by it. Our faith affirms that the best way to live within the truth of the Trinity (to be grasped and moved by the mystery) is the way of love.
In the first Letter of John we read that “God is love”. St. Augustine takes this biblical truth, enters within it and then concludes, “if God is love then God must be Trinity.” The very dynamism and nature of love, he writes, “…presupposes one who loves, the one who is loved, and their love itself.” Love links us into the reality of God and therefore the truest way to know God in the reality of Father, Son and Holy Spirit is to live authentic love. As Christians it is not enough to just receive love and run the risk of getting trapped in a false sense of love which is only about self and ego, we must give love and give self if we are indeed to grow into the fullness of who we are meant to be and the fullness of understanding.
A lesson can be learned here from the two seas that are formed by the Jordan River; the Sea of Galilee and the Dead Sea. The Sea of Galilee receives the Jordan’s waters but then it lets it flow out again and the sea is full of life. The Dead Sea receives the Jordan’s waters and keeps it, no streams flow out of it – it is in fact “dead” – no life in its waters or on its shores – a salty waste. These two seas are a symbol to us. Love has been given to us in our baptisms in the abundance of God’s generosity – God’s very triune life – but in order for it to fully bring life; this love must flow through us. For Christians it is not enough to just receive love, we must give love. It is in our triune DNA. Further, this very giving of love is a pathway into knowledge of God.
God does the same for us. We ask God to give us a little love and God then asks us to first give Him and our neighbor all the little love we have. Even if it just begins as the smallest of streams what little love we know must begin to flow out from us if our own hearts are to give life and know God.
The Christian knows, because of the Trinity, that true life and true joy is found not just in consuming and receiving but in the giving of self for other people. Authentic love that is freely given diminishes no one, rather it fulfills and brings life and understanding. To give true love is a pathway into knowledge of God and the very mystery of the Trinity.
St. Augustine is correct. Because God is love it follows that God is Trinity.