Sunday, June 19, 2011

Sunday Scripture Reflection for June 19, 2011

Today Catholics celebrate the Feast of the Most Holy Trinity. Probably one of the most confusing and difficult theological beliefs that we have, since we hold that the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit are both separate yet One at the same time. Historically, this doctrine posed a major problem for early Christians, since the Trinity evoked polytheism. The Church uses a big philosophical word which is pretty relevant with the new translations coming up--consubstantial--which will replace the line 'one in being with the Father' when we recite the creed. The term 'substance' in philosophy refers to the quiddity or 'whatness' of a thing, and the term 'consubstantial' is meant to express how the Father and the Son are not two essentially different beings but are united as One. St. Ignatius in his autobiography likens the Trinity to three musical keys which are in profound harmony with one another.

As I was praying with Scripture this morning, however, I must admit that most of my thoughts were not on the contemplation of the Trinity. Rather, I found my prayer centered around the words of St. Paul in today's 2nd reading. He writes in 2 Corinthians 13:11-12

Brothers and Sisters, rejoice. Mend your ways, encourage one another, live in peace, and the God of love and peace will be with you.
Mend your ways. Here, St. Paul highlights the fact that we are a broken people. Our lives and actions are in need of healing and repair. The way that we act and treat each other can often be hurtful and harmful, and sometimes we are not even aware that we do such things. I think this is probably one of the reasons St. Ignatius stressed the examen prayer so much. When we get so busy and distracted, we do not allow ourselves the time to reflect on our day. When we reflect, we can take note of things we might not have noticed otherwise in our day. We cannot mend something that we do not see is broken. The first step to healing is to acknowledge that we are in need of healing. Too often, we find ourselves mired in self-deception.

Encourage one another. We are in this together; we cannot do it alone. In my own experience, simple gestures that people offer to me like saying hello or giving a warm smile is enough to brighten my day. These small acts of encouragements are acts of love which can bring so much life. I just got back from a short trip at St. Marys, Alaska, a small town of about 500 people, primarily Eskimo people, and I was struck by how so many of the villagers would wave at you when you drove by. Such small acts expressed how so much life can be found in a place I deemed was a pretty run-down area in the middle of nowhere.

Live in peace. There is a rich and profound depth of meaning in these simple words. It speaks to an inner disposition saturated with an interior quiet and tranquility--a still pond untouched by a surrounding storm. Jesus sleeping on the boat. I find myself most close to this sort of peace when I am faithful to my prayer life. It also speaks to an outward disposition in which we work to end all hatred and violence. When our actions towards one another bring into life the words of Christ: "Peace be with you."

And the God of love and peace will be with you. In doing all of these things, we will find ourselves coming into greater union with God. Our awareness of God's presence in our lives will be heightened, and we will be more apt to see the working of the Holy Spirit around us. The profound harmony of the Trinity will extend to our own personal lives and relationships with one another.

So I pray that we all may mend our ways, that we may encourage one another, and that we may live in peace, so that we may enter into greater life with the Father, Son and Holy Spirit.

(On a side note, I've been thinking about how I can write a little more frequently on my blog, and it occurred to me that one way I can do this is by writing weekly on a scripture passage. Hopefully this is not a one time thing and that I can keep it up in the future. I definitely would like to be more active in my writing, and I'll be more disposed to write more often now that I am no longer a graduate student)

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