GLORY BE TO THE FATHER, AND TO THE SON AND TO THE HOLY SPIRIT

I WILL LET YOU IN ON ONE OF MY MANY IDIOSYNCRASIES.

Whenever I find myself having to perform an action which involves a repetition of three or more times, I silently say “Glory be to the Father and to the Son and to the Holy Spirit!”

Saint James tells us to pray almost constantly, in good times and in bad times (James 5,13).  So I try to take advantage of any threefold action by linking it to the Holy Trinity.

Father George W. Rutler has an interesting insight:

When we are told “Something is about to happen,” it may be a threat or a promise. One clue is whether it is said with a frown or a smile. When our Lord rose from the dead and told the apostles that something else was going to happen, I am sure He was smiling. As He ascended in glory, He spoke of the Holy Trinity. Ten days later, something else happened: The Holy Spirit enabled the Church to apprehend the mystery of God as Three in One and One in Three.

From then on, Christians have lived in the hope of something about to happen. This is not the incurable optimism of Dickens’ Mr. Micawber who notes that, “Something is bound to turn up.” We do not engage in wishful thinking when we follow Christ day by day. We do expect that every day will bring surprises, some not apparently benevolent at first, but always with good results.

The perfect power of love within the Holy Trinity is so exuberant, if we may speak that way, that it creates the entire universe. Without the help of the Holy Spirit, our most fertile imagination could not have dreamed up the fact that there is a Father and Son and Holy Spirit. This is why we still have a hard time explaining this mystery – rather like trying to find our way around a house that we have not designed.

One clue to the limitless creativity of God is the way He made us “in his image.” There are no two people alike, not even twins. The Danish comedian Victor Borge said that his father and uncle were identical twins, but he could not tell which was the identical one. This is one reason I recently wrote the book Cloud of Witnesses.  It describes a rather long list of characters I have had the privilege of knowing, exulting in how each one was unique. Another reason I wrote it was to celebrate the gift of the priesthood. In this “Year for Priests,” Pope Benedict reminds the world that the priesthood was part of what was “about to happen” when the Holy Spirit gave birth to the Church. Everyone can write a much longer book than mine – if only they pay attention to the people who pass through their lives every day. A priest has the advantage of immediate access to souls who come his way. In the cycle of baptisms, marriages, confessions, anointings, and burials, the fecundity of the Blessed Trinity animates the human drama.

Our narcissistic culture is tempted to twist even the Liturgy into self-worship. If someone says, “This is not about me,” there is a hint that he thinks it is about him. Why Jesus calls us His Father’s “gift” to Him can only be understood by worshiping the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit.

About abyssum

I am a retired Roman Catholic Bishop, Bishop Emeritus of Corpus Christi, Texas
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