True love makes everyone a winner
I want you to close your eyes for a moment and imagine a boxing ring… or, if you don’t like boxing, think of the wrestling ring – same thing. Around the boundary of the boxing ring are two or three strong, but flexible, stretchy-ropes.
The TRINITY is a dogma of faith which says the following:
There is one God and in this one God there are three Divine Persons; the Father is God, the Son is God, the Holy Spirit is God: God is a community of love. Yet there are not three Gods, but one, eternal, incomprehensible God!
The Father is not more God than the Son, neither is the Son more God than the Holy Spirit. (Excerpted from The Church’s Year of Grace, Pius Parsch) If you are not confused, then you are not concentrating and thinking sufficiently!
The analogy of the boxing ring is my attempt to use our imaginations: we cannot explain the Trinity fully using human knowledge, because God is both present and beyond us. We try to create a framework so our minds and hearts can imagine a deeper understanding of God.
The framework of the Trinity is like the ropes around the boxing ring. They help prevent ourselves and others in the Church from creating false teachings about God. Within these “boundaries” we can then wrestle with the reality of our lives and let our imagination find God in new and comforting ways.
I’m trying to encourage you to stop focusing on the definition of the Trinity and concentrate on how the Trinity can assist us to believe in God with more gratitude and less fear: what we need is a healthy fear of losing God in our lives.
God models for us the give and take of love in community. There is a continuous expression and revelation of God in our world: there is the giver of love, the receiver of love and the expression of that love. A limited but easy example of this is in the ideal married life: the husband and wife give and receive love constantly in order to keep the marriage alive.
The importance of children in married life is that it becomes the best visible expression of that love: the greatest protection for children in a family is the real love and respect shown between husband and wife. However, most of the energy of husband and wife is devoted to their kids: children allow the parents’ expressions of love to come outside of themselves. Love that is internal only becomes like a cancer that destroys life.
The ropes of the wrestling ring give us the freedom to try and run away from God when we think God has abandoned us, or we’re angry with God for some suffering we have experienced. God does not hurt us when we run away, but we can hurt ourselves if we fall through the ropes. Those occasions of deliberate and serious sin.
The boxing ring has two corners: let’s use red and blue: red the colour of blood, suffering and struggle, and blue the colour of Mary, the model of peace and joy.
In the first round of our Divine Wrestling match today, we have in the blue corner, God, and in the red corner, Moses. And Moses “wins:” ‘Lord, Lord, a God of tenderness and compassion, slow to anger, rich in kindness and faithfulness.’
In the second round, we still have God in the blue corner, and ourselves in the red corner: we “win” as long as we shout: Glory and praise for ever! (ie. we don’t want to lose God.) In the third round, we still have God in the blue corner, and St Paul in the red corner: “Brothers, we wish you happiness; try to grow perfect; help one another.”
And, in the final round, we have Jesus in the red corner and ourselves in the blue corner: “For God sent his Son into the world not to condemn the world, but so that through him the world might be saved.” Note the reversal of God now sitting in the red corner to give us life.
And the winner is? God helped all of us become winners. At a big stadium some years back, a large athletics competition was happening between many schools. The competition was fierce in the 1,000 metre sprint. Unfortunately, in the last 100 metres the person coming second tripped over. Instead of continuing, the girl in front stopped and turned back to help up the other runner. Together they walked to the finish line. When the other runners saw what had happened, they all joined arms together and everyone crossed the finish line at the same time. In the stadium, everyone went quiet for a moment, before everyone stood up and applauded.
Truly, the Trinity opens up the reality that God wants us all to be winners together. God has “turned back” to walk with us so many times in the history of the world, and yet we are so slow to learn. God is a community of three Divine Persons who keeps inviting us to join in.
By Gerard Conlan, OMI