The Trinity, El Greco, painted 1577, Museo del Prado, Madrid
Readings (New American Bible, used in the Philippines and USA).
Gospel John 3:16-18 (Jerusalem Bible, used in Australia, England & Wales, Ireland, Scotland)
Jesus said to Nicodemus,
God loved the world so much
that he gave his only Son,
so that everyone who believes in him
may not be lost but may have eternal life.
For God sent his Son into the world
not to condemn the world,
but so that through him the world might be saved.
No one who believes in him will be condemned;
but whoever refuses to believe is condemned already,
because he has refused to believe
in the name of God's only Son.
An Soiscéal Eoin 3:16-18 (Gaeilge, Irish)
San am sin dúirt Íosa lena dheisceabail:
Óir ghráigh Dia an domhan chomh mór sin
gur thug sé a Aonghin Mic uaidh
i dtreo, gach duine a chreideann ann,
nach gcaillfí é ach go mbeadh an bheatha shioraí aige.
Óir ní chun daorbhreith a thabhairt ar an saol
a chuir Dia a Mhac uaidh ar an saol
ach chun go slánófaí an saol tríd.
An té a chreideann ann ní thabharfar daorbhreith air,
ach an té nach gcreideann ann,
tá daorbhreith tugtha air cheana féin,
mar nár chreid sé in ainm Mhac Dé, a Aonghin.
In 1976, during my first visit home to Ireland from the Philippines, I was celebrating Sunday Mass in my home parish church in Dublin. I mentioned in my homily that 'a temple of the Holy Spirit' hade been murdered that week in Northern Ireland. A member of the Royal Ulster Constabulary had been shot dead. A middle-aged man in the congregation didn't like what I said and stood up and asked 'Are we here to listen to the Gospel or to a political speech?' He then sat down. I was initially stunned but continued and mentioned the policeman specifically during the prayers of the faithful.
I don't know whether the murdered man was a Catholic or Protestant but was certain that he was baptised and therefore a Temple of the Holy Spirit. Part of the tragedy is that the person who killed him was also such. But it isn't only the Holy Spirit who dwells in us. The Blessed Trinity, Father, Son and Holy Spirit, do so.
The Handbook of the Legion of Mary, Chapter 7, The Legionary and the Holy Trinity, has these words: The saints are insistent on the necessity for thus distinguishing between the Three Divine Persons and for rendering to each one of them an appropriate attention. The Athanasian Creed is mandatory and strangely menacing in regard to this requirement, which proceeds from the fact that the final purpose of Creation and of the Incarnation is the glorification of the Trinity. The late Fr Anselm Moynihan quotes these words in an article on the Venerable Edel Quinn, Edel Quinn: A Life in the Trinity.
The concluding part of the article, Adoring the Trinity, is especially appropriate for today's feast. The references to 'S' are to the life of Edel by Cardinal Suenens. Those to 'N' are to Edel's notes.
Adoring the Trinity
We are sharers in the very life of the Blessed Trinity, with the Incarnate Word as our Brother, His Father as our Father, His Spirit as the Soul of our souls. Yet we can never forget the transcendent holiness of God. And as a consequence, underlying, though not weakening the sublime intimacy we enjoy with the Divine Persons, will be an attitude of profound reverence and adoration. Edel certainly had that. It was manifest in her whole bearing at prayer, her behaviour towards all who represented God in any way and also in the expressions she uses in her private notes. She knew her soul to be the living sanctuary of the Triune God. She snatched at every opportunity of quiet and silence to recollect herself and be alone with God and offer Him the incense of her adoration.
Let us ask the grace to live in realization of our life in Christ, through Mary, adoring the Trinity (S, p. 246).
In Christ Jesus we have all. Realise this.
Often offer Him to the Trinity, present in our soul, giving all honour, reparation and glory throughout the day (S, p. 246).
Realise that I am the temple of God, the dwelling-place of the Trinity (S, p. 246).
In Christ we adore the Trinity, Sanctus, Sanctus, Sanctus. Try and adore the Trinity in our souls, even in the midst of trouble or external duties (S, p. 248).
Our Lady, dwelling place of the Trinity. With Christ and helped by Mary, let us adore the Trinity. Cut out useless worrying thoughts ... to adore with and in union with Jesus ... Trinity in soul ... per Mariam (N).
At Mass I united myself to the victim Christ, through Mary's hands, for the glory of the Trinity, in thanksgiving for everything, and on behalf of souls (S, p. 250).
For Edel Quinn, then, the doctrine of the Blessed Trinity was not just an abstraction, to be accepted indeed on faith but with little bearing on the practical working out of our lives. For her it was supremely practical, vital and energizing. Her manner of applying it to her life, her prayer, her work, her relations with others offers an example we can all imitate - to the glory of the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit.
'The Blessed Trinity - there is our dwelling-place, our home, the Father's house which we must never leave' (Sister Elizabeth of the Trinity [photo below]).
Trinity was not just an abstraction, to be accepted indeed on faith but with little bearing on the practical working out of our lives. For her it was supremely practical, vital and energising. Her manner of applying it to her life, her prayer, her work, her relations with others offers an example we can all imitate - to the glory of the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit.
'The Blessed Trinity - there is our dwelling-place, our home, the Father's house which we must never leave' (Sister Elizabeth of the Trinity).
This article first appeared in Doctrine and Life, July 1963.( Ed.)
Blessed Elizabeth of the Trinity (18 July 1880 – 9 November 1906)
Introit (Entrance Antiphon) from Missal of Blessed John XXIII (1962):
Benedicta sit sancta Trinitas atque indivisa unitas: confitebimur ei, quia fecit nobiscum misericordiam suam. Ps. Domine Dominus noster, quam admirabile est nomen tuum in universa terra! V. Gloria Patri.
Blessed be the Holy Trinity and undivided Unity: we will give glory to Him, because He hath shown His mercy to us. Vs. (Ps. 8: 2) O Lord, our Lord, how wonderful is Thy name in all the earth! Glory be to the Father.
El Greco often did a number of paintings of the same scene. Here is one very similar to that at the top, painted the same year but over the high altar in the Church of Santo Domingo el Antiguo, Toledo, Spain.
Lord, who has form'd me out of mud,
And hast redeem'd me through thy blood,
And sanctifi'd me to do good;
Purge all my sins done heretofore:
For I confess my heavy score,
And I will strive to sin no more.
Enrich my heart, mouth, hands in me,
With faith, with hope, with charity;
That I may run, rise, rest with thee.
George Herbert (3 April 1593 – 1 March 1633)
George Herbert, born in Wales, was an Anglican priest noted for his great love for the poor in his parish in Wiltshire, England. This poem is found in the edition of The Divine Office approved by the hierarchies of Australia, England & Wales, Ireland, Scotland and published in 1974.
Preamble to the Constitution of Ireland
In the Name of the Most Holy Trinity, from Whom is all authority and to Whom, as our final end, all actions both of men and States must be referred,
We, the people of Éire,
Humbly acknowledging all our obligations to our Divine Lord, Jesus Christ, Who sustained our fathers through centuries of trial,
Gratefully remembering their heroic and unremitting struggle to regain the rightful independence of our Nation,
And seeking to promote the common good, with due observance of Prudence, Justice and Charity, so that the dignity and freedom of the individual may be assured, true social order attained, the unity of our country restored, and concord established with other nations,
Do hereby adopt, enact, and give to ourselves this Constitution.
In Ainm na Tríonóide Ró-Naofa is tobar don uile údarás agus gur chuici, ós í is críoch dheireanach dúinn, is dírithe ní amháin gníomhartha daoine ach gníomhartha Stát,
Ar mbeith dúinne, muintir na hÉireann, ag admháil go huiríseal a mhéid atáimid faoi chomaoin ag Íosa Críost, ár dTiarna Dia, a thug comhfhurtacht dár sinsir i ngach cruatan ina rabhadar ar feadh na gcéadta bliain,
Agus ar mbeith dúinn ag cuimhneamh go buíoch ar a chalmacht a rinneadarsan troid gan staonadh chun an neamhspleáchas is dual dár Náisiún a bhaint amach,
Agus ar mbeith dúinn á chur romhainn an mhaitheas phoiblí a chur ar aghaidh maille le Críonnacht agus le hIonracas agus le Carthanacht de réir mar is cuí, ionas go dtiocfaidh linn a uaisleacht agus a shaoirse a chur in áirithe do gach aon duine, saol ceart comhdhaonnach a bhunú, aiseag a haontachta a thabhairt dár dtír, agus comhcharadra a dhéanamh le náisiúin eile,
Atáimid leis seo ag gabháil an Bhunreachta seo chugainn, agus á achtú agus á thíolacadh dúinn féin.