31 May 2013

Sermon for Trinity Sunday

The following beautiful sermon was delivered by Canon Raphael Ueda of the Institute of Christ the King Sovereign Priest on the Feast of the Most Holy Trinity:

On this last Sunday of May, we celebrate the feast of the Most Holy Trinity, the mystery of one God in three persons, the Father and the Son and the Holy Ghost.

We were baptized in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Ghost. And since then we pronounce this mystery every day, as in the prayer before and after the meal, before the Mass, the recitation of the Divine Office, the Holy Rosary so on. For the mystery of the Most Holy Trinity is the central and the most basic mystery of our faith and our life. And one God in three persons is the mystery of God in Himself. It is therefore, the source of all the other mysteries of faith.

Indeed many religions which have appeared during history invoke God as Father. But in our Catholic faith, Jesus revealed that God is Father in an unheard of sense. He is Father not only in being Creator, creating everything out of nothing but He is eternally Father especially by His relationship to His only Son, Who, in His turn, is Son only in relation to His Father. Jesus said, "No one knows the Son except the Father, and no one knows the Father except the Son and anyone to whom the Son chooses to reveal Him.”

So we read in the Gospel of St. Luke that after His resurrection Jesus was with His disciples in Emmaus but they did not know who He was. Then while He was at table with them, He took bread, and blessed, and brake and gave to them. And their eyes were opened, of course their spiritual eyes, and they knew him; and He vanished out of their sight. And they said one to the other; was not our heart burning within us, while He spoke in the way, and opened to us the scriptures?

Before the passion Jesus announced the sending of another Paraclete (Advocate), the Holy Spirit who proceeds from Father and the Son. This Spirit of Jesus has been with and in the disciples to teach them and guide them unto all the truth. Thus the Holy Spirit is revealed as another divine Person with Jesus and the Father.

So God is balanced out to us in a way we can understand by the all-seeing Father, the teacher Jesus, and the guiding Holy Spirit.

The Trinity is one. We do not confess three Gods, but one God in three Persons, the consubstantial Trinity. And God is eternal blessedness, undying life, unfading light. He destined us in love to be His sons and to be conformed to the image of His Son, through the spirit of sonship. Thus the ultimate end of the whole divine plan is the entry of God’s creatures into the perfect unity of the blessed Trinity. But even now, we are called to be a dwelling for the Most Holy Trinity. Jesus says, “If a man loves Me, he will keep my word, and my Father will love him and We will come to him and make Our home with him.”

So we are no more strangers to God but we belong to God’s family, and our relations with God must be essentially filial ones, trustful and confident. Then our prayer ought to express the feelings of a confident child who enjoys talking heart to heart with his Father, Whom he knows be good and merciful and capable to forgive. And knowing Who is God the Father, we can throw ourselves into the Father's arms with complete abandon.

But unfortunately, we are often very stubborn and we do not know how to behave in front of this loving Father and also the knowledge of our persistent sinfulness and repeated unfaithfulness may paralyze this filial affection, causing a certain fear to arise in our souls. And this happens especially when the soul is going through dark periods of struggle, temptations and difficulties, all of which tend to throw it into agitation and confusion, impeding, in spite of its efforts, that confident outpouring of the heart which submerges all its worries and anxieties in this merciful God.

But if we know how to abandon ourselves in His merciful arms and then persevere in prayers, one day, during prayer, the soul becomes recollected under the influence of a new light which drives away all fear, not a new thought but an intimate realization of truth never before experienced: "God is my Father. I am His child.” It is good to be convinced that it is the influence of the gift of piety when we have such a thought and a movement in our heart, set in motion by the Holy Spirit. So St. Paul, speaking to the first Christians, told them, “You have not received the spirit of bondage of slavery again in fear, but you have received the spirit of adoption of sons whereby we cry, ‘Abba, Father’, for the Spirit Himself giveth testimony to our spirit, that we are the sons of God.” It is the Holy Spirit who infuses into the soul this strong feeling of filial piety, of full confidence in its heavenly Father. And interior prayer is nothing but than this intimate conversation of the soul with God, heart to heart.

Therefore there will never be a ritual nor devout book capable of regulating completely the intimate relations of friendship between the Father and His child. But there is one Master whose ability is fully proportioned to His aim, and Whose instruction is within the reach of every Catholic soul. And this Master is the Holy Spirit. So St. Paul said, “The Spirit also helpeth our infirmity for we know not what we should pray for as we ought.” This is a consoling truth for the soul which feels its powerlessness, its inability to treat with God, its need of a prayer which is fully suitable to the Most High. And this is how the Holy Spirit alternates in the soul sentiments of complete confidence and of profound adoration of loving friendship and of recognition of God’s supreme greatness.

But the mystery of God is so sublime and it so exceeds our understanding, that we can only bow our heads and adore in silence. In today’s Epistle, St. Paul exclaims, “O, the depth of the riches of the wisdom and of the knowledge of God!” How incomprehensible are His judgments, and how unsearchable His ways. He who, having been caught up into paradise, could neither know nor say anything except that he had heard secret words which it is not granted to man to utter. So in the presence of this unspeakable mystery of the Most Holy Trinity, the highest praise is silence which is not an empty silence but the silence of the soul that adores and acknowledge God’s supreme greatness.

So, dear faithful, let us offer our act of humble adoration to praise and glorify the Most Holy Trinity.

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