Is there anyone or anything so wonderful as this God of ours?
Moses said Put this question to the ages that are past. There is a way in which on Trinity Sunday we are all like Moses. We are urging each other to draw on the experience of all those who have ever believed in God. We want to understand God better. The knowledge and love of God: these are what we are after: Loving God is the most important thing in our life. Along with love goes some understanding, some knowledge. Do we think of ourselves as reaching out to God? By the grace of God we are becoming more alert to what God is offering. All is gift. God gives us what we need. Among His generous helps to us is some knowledge of Him. With this understanding we will love Him better. We try to understand what we love. We hope to love better.
The Church is the great community of those who have ever believed in the one true God and have tried to live their life according to His commandments. The Church shares her knowledge with us. The ages that are past respond to our questioning. Our predecessors share with us the gift that they and we are still receiving. God is offering of Himself to His creation, to us. No one has ever seen God but the life of faith has not been all leaps in the dark. We are not left only with reminders of the unknowability of God. God has revealed Himself in Jesus. The Word of God bears witness to this revelation. There has been a revelation of God. When Jesus came into the world, God walked among us. Through the Holy Spirit, He is present still. When Jesus founded the Church, the God who is all around us, was to be addressed, heard, interacted with within the structure of a shared faith. The Holy Scriptures, sacramental life, the treasures of doctrine, the life of grace and charity – these structure a real closeness to God. This God is active in our life, surprising us very much sometimes with His call and by the response He prompts. After the Ascension Jesus did not leave us blundering about in the dark. The day of Pentecost, in which we still live, was the descent on the Church of a Holy Spirit who would be the presence of God with us every day and every hour.
We each have our particular journey to make, including, no doubt, our moments of great uncertainty, and even confusion and darkness. However the God revealed to us is with us, leading us forward, strengthening us even in the toughest times and enlightening us. He shows us Himself present in our life. God moves us to a love of Him and of all that He has created. He instills in us knowledge of what He is and knows and wills. Our service of others, spontaneous and carefully-planned, routine and one-off, is inspired by God’s sharing with us the divine life. In this sharing is some appreciation of the divine purposes even if they are ultimately inscrutable. At the Feast of the Holy Trinity we celebrate our being drawn up into the life of God: a life of communication, sharing and understanding.
The God who is revealed to us is a Trinity, a holy and undivided Trinity of Father, Son and Holy Spirit. The God who is being shown to us all through a life of faith, hope and charity is a God who creates, who redeems and who sanctifies. One of the works of the Holy Spirit, the work of sanctification, of making holy, is like all the works of God, also a work of the whole Trinity. The holiness of God spreads itself into the life of those who love Him and believe in Him. The Trinity is Holy not just as the God presiding over the whole Church, or the focus of the lives of the holy women and men whom we call saints, but in all our lives. The pattern of creation, redemption and making holy which is the three-fold way that God deals with us, is a pattern for our life. Our life comes from the loving God who called us into being, our life marred by sin and frailty is saved by Christ, and then it is brought to a new perfection, a holiness, by the Spirit. And this goes on all the time. We are being created all the time, our salvation repeats itself. Sanctification is a lifetime's activity.
Was there ever anything so majestic? asked Moses. That question is put to us, by Moses. He is asking about our contact with God. He himself had encountered God very directly on Mount Horeb, in the bush which burned fiercely but was not consumed. We are all Moses seeking God in purity of heart and in brightness of understanding. The knowledge we seek is inexhaustible and we approach it with great reverence and even a kind of fear. But what we see, what we grasp, what we assimilate of God into our own life is very consoling and encouraging. God has made us, not we Him, but he has made us in His likeness, and so when we look intently at Him, or, Moses-like gaze into the fire in which God is making Himself known, we see something of ourselves also. Having been baptized in the name of the Holy Trinity, we the adopted children of God, find that our life reflects His wonderful life.
Is there anyone or anything so wonderful as this God of ours, Father, Son and Spirit? There is not. But the divine majesty needs to be allowed to impress itself upon as and our ways. Like a battle-flag being paraded in front of the troops, held before their noses, so that they will recognise its colours in the tumult of battle, so we in whatever moments of tranquillity are allowed us, allow God to be impressed on our sensibility so that we will recognise the Father, Son and Holy Spirit, the Creator, the Redeemer and the Inspirer in moments of tumult and confusion. In the noise of battle God can be hard to recognise. His commandments can be drowned out. His will for us can become obscured. The holiness which is His gift to us can be difficult to accept. Know that I am with you always until the end of time. Let us renew our faith in that always. God is with us even when we forget Him and are thinking of other things. However if we think of Him; if we focus on our Father, revealed to us in the Son and sustained in our life by the Spirit, then that divine presence with us, transforms us, builds us up and fills us with joy.
Peter Gallagher SJ