The three great feasts of the Church’s year are Easter, Christmas, and Pentecost, in that order.
Christmas, of course, is the nativity, the birthday of the “Word Made Flesh,” God the Son, incarnate in Jesus Christ. God the Father’s Christmas gift to the world was Jesus, our Savior, His Son.
Pentecost is the birthday of the Church. Once again, we have a gift, the Holy Spirit. And the Spirit brings us presents, which we call the “seven gifts of the Holy Spirit” and “the twelve fruits of the Holy Spirit.”
Among those gifts and fruits are healing and peace. This tough time of the coronavirus prompts our prayers for healing: bodily for those affected with the disease; emotionally for those exhausted caregivers; spiritually for all of us patient in our trust in God’s providence.
Now the turmoil in our cities after the injustice in Minneapolis has us seeking the Holy Spirit’s gift of peace. Wasn’t that the first grace Jesus gave His apostles that Easter evening? “Peace I give you!”
This Sunday’s feast, Trinity Sunday, can offer insights on our challenges these days as well.
True enough, we can at times find the doctrine of the Most Blessed Trinity cerebral and up-in-the clouds. One God; three divine persons, Father, Son, and Spirit. So what?
Wait a minute, though. Two very practical lessons flow from the lofty doctrine of the Trinity.
For one, this three-in-one, this blessed Trinity, is not way up there! This Trinity dwells in our souls! We have the very life of God—Father, Son, and Spirit—deep within! This gift came at Baptism, is sustained by faith and prayer, and is renewed and strengthened by the Sacraments.
That means, as the Bible tells us, we are each temples of God, with the Trinity abiding within us!
Think of the moral implications of that. Would we ever do anything to hurt or debase ourselves, or another, if we really believed that we and they are containers of God’s very life? From this comes our conviction in the utter dignity of the human person and sanctity of all human life, whether on the sidewalks of Minneapolis or the streets of New York.
You may have heard the disgusting news that St. Patrick’s Cathedral was defaced with vile graffiti. As shocking as that is, violence against the human person is far more awful.
The second pointer the mystery of the Blessed Trinity gives us is that the omnipotent, omniscient, infinite, eternal God, who always was, is, and will be, exists in a community of persons, Father, Son, and Spirit.
We are summoned to reflect here that community of persons, called not to be alone, selfish, or destructive of others, at odds in ideologies and hate, but to be united.
Have we not seen that these last ten weeks of the dreaded virus? We have been one in care, caution, and compassion. We have seen this community at its best, in our families, health care professionals, essential services, police and emergency responders.
God forbid turmoil and unrest now would tarnish the luster of the community that has, like the Trinity, been one.
Ideas have consequences! The most sublime idea of all—actually a reality, not just an idea—the Most Blessed Trinity, has consequences now in our tense and troubled times.
7 Gifts of the Holy Spirit
Fear of the Lord
12 Fruits of the Holy Spirit