Readings & Reflections with Cardinal Tagle’s Video: The Solemnity of the Most Holy Trinity Sunday C & St. Rita of Cascia, May 22,2016
The Catechism teaches that “by sending his only Son and the Spirit of Love in the fullness of time, God has revealed his innermost secret: God himself is an eternal exchange of love, Father, Son, and Holy Spirit, and he has destined us to share in that exchange” (CCC:221). “The complete Trinity dwells in us” (R.P. Philippon). By worshiping the Trinity we realize the full truth of ourselves. “In the communion of grace with the Trinity, man’s ‘living area’ is broadened and raised up to the supernatural level of divine life. Man lives in God and by God” (St. John Paul II).
“Lord Jesus, fill me with your Holy Spirit and guide me into your way of truth. Free me from erroneous and false ways and lead me in the knowledge of your ways and your will for my life. May there be nothing in my life that is not under your lordship.” In your Mighty Name, I pray. Amen.
Prv 8:22-31 – Before the earth was made, Wisdom was conceived.
Thus says the wisdom of God:
“The LORD possessed me, the beginning of his ways,
the forerunner of his prodigies of long ago;
from of old I was poured forth,
at the first, before the earth.
When there were no depths I was brought forth,
when there were no fountains or springs of water;
before the mountains were settled into place,
before the hills, I was brought forth;
while as yet the earth and fields were not made,
nor the first clods of the world.
“When the Lord established the heavens I was there,
when he marked out the vault over the face of the deep;
when he made firm the skies above,
when he fixed fast the foundations of the earth;
when he set for the sea its limit,
so that the waters should not transgress his command;
then was I beside him as his craftsman,
and I was his delight day by day,
playing before him all the while,
playing on the surface of his earth;
and I found delight in the human race.”
The word of the Lord.
Ps 8:4-5, 6-7, 8-9
R. (2a) O Lord, our God, how wonderful your name in all the earth!
When I behold your heavens, the work of your fingers,
the moon and the stars which you set in place —
What is man that you should be mindful of him,
or the son of man that you should care for him?
R. O Lord, our God, how wonderful your name in all the earth!
You have made him little less than the angels,
and crowned him with glory and honor.
You have given him rule over the works of your hands,
putting all things under his feet:
R. O Lord, our God, how wonderful your name in all the earth!
All sheep and oxen,
yes, and the beasts of the field,
The birds of the air, the fishes of the sea,
and whatever swims the paths of the seas.
R. O Lord, our God, how wonderful your name in all the earth!
Rom 5:1-5 – To God, through Christ, in love poured out through the Holy Spirit.
Brothers and sisters:
Therefore, since we have been justified by faith,
we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ,
through whom we have gained access by faith
to this grace in which we stand,
and we boast in hope of the glory of God.
Not only that, but we even boast of our afflictions,
knowing that affliction produces endurance,
and endurance, proven character,
and proven character, hope,
and hope does not disappoint,
because the love of God has been poured out into our hearts
through the Holy Spirit that has been given to us.
The word of the Lord.
Jn 16:12-15 – Everything that the Father has is mine; the Spirit will take from what is mine and declare it to you.
Bishop Robert Barron’s Homily: Begotten not made click below:
Jesus said to his disciples:
“I have much more to tell you, but you cannot bear it now.
But when he comes, the Spirit of truth, he will guide you to all truth. He will not speak on his own, but he will speak what he hears, and will declare to you the things that are coming. He will glorify me, because he will take from what is mine and declare it to you. Everything that the Father has is mine; for this reason I told you that he will take from what is mine and declare it to you.”
The Gospel of the Lord.
Reflection 1 – Glorious processions
Dr. Scott Hahn’s reflection click below:
In today’s Liturgy we’re swept through time in glorious procession—from before earth and sky were set in place to the coming of the Spirit upon the new creation, the Church.
We begin in the heart of the Trinity, as we listen to the testimony of Wisdom in today’s First Reading. Eternally begotten, the first-born of God, He is poured forth from of old in the loving delight of the Father.
Through Him, the heavens were established, the foundations of the earth fixed. From before the beginning, He was with the Father as His “Craftsman,” the artisan by which all things were made. And He took special delight, He tells us, in the crowning glory of God’s handiwork – the human race, the “sons of men.”
In today’s Psalm, He comes down from heaven, is made a little lower than the angels, comes among us as “the Son of Man” (see Hebrews 2:6-10).
All things are put under His feet so that He can restore to humanity the glory for which we were made from the beginning, the glory lost by sin. He tasted death that we might be raised to life in the Trinity, that His name might be made glorious over all the earth.
Through the Son, we have gained grace and access in the Spirit to the Father, as Paul boasts in today’s Epistle (see Ephesians 2:18).
The Spirit, the Love of God, has been poured out into our hearts—a Spirit of adoption, making us children of the Father once more (see Romans 8:14-16).
This is the Spirit that Jesus promises in today’s Gospel.
His Spirit comes as divine gift and anointing (see 1 John 2:27), to guide us to all truth, to show us “the things that are coming,” the things that were meant to be from before all ages—that we will find peace and union in God, will share the life of the Trinity, dwell in God as He dwells in us (see John 14:23; 17:21).
Reflection 2 – Three Divine Persons in One God
Today is the Most Holy Trinity Sunday. Trinity is the central mystery of our Christian faith – Three Divine Persons in One God. Christians are baptized “in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit” (Mt 28:19; CCC:232)). Trinity is one of the “mysteries that are hidden in God, which can never be known unless they are revealed by God. To be sure, God has left traces of his Trinitarian being in his work of creation and in his Revelation throughout the Old Testament. But his inmost Being as Holy Trinity is a mystery that is inaccessible to reason alone or even to Israel’s faith before the Incarnation of God’s Son and the sending of the Holy Spirit” (CCC:237). And “by sending his only Son and the Spirit of Love in the fullness of time, God has revealed his innermost secret: God himself is an eternal exchange of love, Father, Son, and Holy Spirit, and he has destined us to share in that exchanged (cf. 1 Cor 2:7-16; Eph 3:9-12; CCC: 221). This mystery was revealed by Jesus Christ and it is the source of all the other mysteries.
The three divine Persons are inseparable in their one substance and inseparable in their activity. The Trinity has one operation, sole and the same. In this one divine action, however, each Person is present according to the mode which is proper to him in the Trinity (CCC:267). In today’s Preface to the Eucharistic Prayer we proclaim our faith in “three Persons equal in majesty, undivided in splendor, yet one Lord, one God.” By worshiping the Trinity we realize the full truth of ourselves. Blessed Pope John Paul II said, “In the communion of grace with the Trinity, man’s ‘living area’ is broadened and raised up to the supernatural level of divine life. Man lives in God and by God.” And may the prayer of Blessed Elizabeth of the Trinity be ours: “O my God, Trinity whom I adore… grant my soul peace; make it your heaven, your beloved dwelling, and the place of your rest. May I never abandon you there, but may I be there, whole and entire, completely vigilant in my faith, entirely adoring, and wholly given over to your creative action.” Here is the challenged for this Trinity Sunday: How can the profession of one apostolic faith, the common celebration of divine worship every Sunday and obedience to the Pope be the first and most important goal of my life as member of the Church?
Reflection 3 – The Holy Trinity
In today’s gospel, Jesus revealed to us a very basic yet important principle of teaching. When He said: “I have much more to tell you but you cannot bear it now, ” Jesus could have meant that even if teacher and student are so eager to teach and learn, we should give time for everyone to meditate on His teachings, absorb them in their hearts and minds and apply them in their daily lives. There must be a progressive pattern in imparting His teachings before advanced truths can be given and received by those who shall seek Him through His Word.
If Jesus never endeavored to overwhelm His disciples, we, too, should be able to take such a position. If He gave his teachings to His first disciples, line upon line, precept upon precept, then we too should do the same.
When we allow God’s Word and His teachings to sink into our total being, He will touch our hearts and give us a deepened meaning and understanding in us. He will enable us to apply them in our lives and in our daily interaction with the world and the people around us. We are able to give the Holy Spirit a chance to continue the work that has been started in us as He guides us to the truth and makes us appreciate it and apply it to our lives.
Jesus promised His early disciples and all believers in the generations to come that He will send the Holy Spirit, “the Spirit of truth, Who will guide us to all truth.” The Holy Spirit’s inner ministry is centered on helping every believer grasp the reality of Christ’s words and then experiencing this reality in his life by obeying His Word.
Let us welcome our Lord in our hearts and allow the Spirit to dwell within us to guide us, to bring us the truth and draw us closer to God… “but when he comes, the Spirit of truth, He will guide you to all truth.”
Today we celebrate Trinity Sunday
As the Father is, so is the Son, so also is the Holy Spirit; the Father is uncreated, the Son is uncreated, and the Holy Spirit is uncreated; the Father is infinite, the Son is infinite, and the Holy Spirit is infinite; the Father is eternal, the Son is eternal, and the Holy Spirit is eternal; and nevertheless there are not three eternals but one eternal; just as there are not three uncreated beings, nor three infinite beings, but one uncreated, and one infinite; similarly the Father is almighty, the Son is almighty, and the Holy Spirit is almighty; and yet there are not three almightys but one almighty; thus the Father is God, the Son is God, and the Holy Spirit is God; and nevertheless there are not three gods, but there is one God; so the Father is Lord, the Son is Lord, and the Holy Spirit is Lord; and yet there are not three lords, but there is one Lord; because just as we are compelled by Christian truth to confess singly each one person as God, and also Lord, so we are forbidden by the Catholic religion to say there are three gods or three Lords.
The Father was not made, nor created, nor begotten by anyone. The Son is from the Father alone, not made nor created, but begotten. The Holy Spirit is from the Father and the Son, not made, nor created, nor begotten, but proceeding.
There is, therefore, one Father, not three Fathers; one Son, not three Sons; one Holy Spirit, not three Holy Spirits; and in this Trinity there is nothing first or later, nothing greater or less, but all three Persons are coeternal and coequal with one another, so that in every respect, as has already been said above, both unity in Trinity, and Trinity in unity must be venerated. Therefore, let him who wishes to be saved, think thus concerning the Trinity.
But it is necessary for eternal salvation that he faithfully believes also the incarnation of our Lord Jesus Christ.
Accordingly, it is the right faith, that we believe and confess, that our Lord Jesus Christ, the Son of God is God and man. He is God begotten of the substance of the Father before time, and He is man born of the substance of His mother in time: perfect God, perfect man, consisting of a rational soul and a human body, equal to the Father according to His Godhead, less than the Father according to humanity.
Although he is God and man, yet He is not two, but He is one Christ; one however, not by the conversion of the Divinity into a human body, but by the assumption of humanity in the Godhead; one absolutely not by confusion of substance, but by unity of person. For just as the rational soul and body are one man, so God and man are one Christ.
He suffered for our salvation, descended into hell, on the third day arose again from the dead, ascended into heaven, sits at the right hand of God the Father Almighty; thence He shall come to judge the living and the dead; at His coming all men have to arise again with their bodies and will render an account of their own deeds: and those who have done good, will go into life everlasting, but those who have done evil, into eternal fire.
This is the Catholic faith; unless everyone believes this faithfully and firmly, he cannot be saved. Amen. Read the source: http://catholicism.about.com/od/holydaysandholidays/p/Trinity_Sunday.htm
The Holy Spirit is present in all of us. Let us give the Holy Spirit a chance to work within us.
Whoever wishes to be saved, needs above all to hold the Catholic faith (we venerate one God in the Trinity, and the Trinity in oneness; neither confounding the persons, nor dividing the substance; for there is one person of the Father, another of the Son, and another of the Holy Spirit; but the divine nature of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit is one, their glory is equal, their majesty is coeternal); unless each one preserves this whole and inviolate, he will without a doubt perish in eternity.
Heavenly Father, send forth your Spirit to teach me, guide me and mold me in the ways of Jesus. In Him I live and move and have my being. Amen.
Reflection 4 – Secret of God Revealed
World peace is constantly threatened mainly by international terrorism. Most of these terrorists are Muslim extremists who zealously wage “jihad” or holy war against those whom they consider as “infidels”. They are not afraid to kill and to die because they are convinced that Paradise is their reward. These extremists base their belief on a mistaken understanding about God. For them, God is a selfish and ruthless ruler who exacts vengeance and terror upon people who do not follow his commands. Throughout history, we witnessed how peace in the world has been severely jeopardized by beliefs and convictions based on a mistaken notion about God.
We are so fortunate that we have received the Christian faith. Jesus, the Incarnate Son of God, revealed to us many things about God. He said: “I no longer call you slaves, because a slave does not know what his master is doing. I have called you friends, because I have told you everything I have heard from my Father” (Jn 15:15). He revealed God’s innermost secret, namely, that God is an eternal relationship of perfect love: “God is only and wholly love, the purest and infinite and eternal love. He does not live in splendid solitude but rather is an inexhaustible source of life that is ceaselessly communicated” (Pope Benedict XVI).
In the one God, there are “three Persons equal in majesty, undivided in splendor, yet one Lord, one God” (Preface). The first person is the Father. He is called “Father” because He begot the Son. The second person is the only begotten Son of the Father. From the Father and the Son proceeds the Holy Spirit. Father and Son love each other with a love so complete and perfect that it is a Person, the Holy Spirit. This Third Person, as the personal love between Father and Son, is the bond of union or oneness between Father and Son. God is one, but He is never alone. He is an eternal community of perfect love. God is never selfish; He is absolute generosity, a total and mutual self-giving.
In the Gospel this Sunday, Jesus tells us that the Holy Spirit can only speak what He hears from the Son. And everything the Son has, He hasreceived from the Father. It clearly shows that each one communicates their entire selves to the others – “an eternal exchange of love, Father, Son and Holy Spirit, and He has destined us to share in that exchange” (CCC, no. 221). The Triune God never keeps this communication of love within Himself. God is love. And love is meant to be shared. So, He invites us to enter and share in this relationship of divine love, to become part of the Divine Family.
Herein, therefore, lies the challenge for us. Are we ready to accept God’s invitation? It is easy to say yes to this invitation, but it is not that simple. To be part of God’s family, we ought to follow and imitate God – we should be the image and likeness of God. Jesus revealed that God is love, a community of Persons in total self-giving to each other, living in perfect unity. That is what we should become in order to be part of the family of the Trinity.
The Solemnity of the Most Holy Trinity is not really about trying to fully understand this central mystery of God. It will forever remain a mystery for us because our limited human minds cannot adequately comprehend it. Rather, this feast is more about reminding us of our destiny “to share in that exchange of love” and to encourage us to live according to our dignity as image and likeness of God.
The world we live in is on the verge of collapse and total ruin. Just one press of a button can trigger a nuclear war that will send thousands of weapons of mass destruction into the air and wreak irreparable damage to the entire world. This scary scenario has been brought about by man’s unbridled egoism and thirst for power. It has been said, “blood is thicker than water”. But that is not true anymore. For instance, during elections, blood relationships take the back seat as ambitious politicians literally kill each other for power and money. Nowadays, ruthless individualism and unbridled ambition are the rule; family unity and community life are the exceptions. Societies are on the brink of decay because families are being destroyed by selfishness and individualism.
Our salvation comes from God. But God will only save us if we cooperate with His will, that we love one another, and live in unity and harmony as His children. We have to reject individualism and selfishness that cause divisions and conflicts among peoples, and learn to reach out to others in love in order to build and strengthen families and communities. When we are able to do this, salvation becomes certain, and more importantly, we are made worthy to become partakers in the life of love of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit. As Christians, we are the living mirrors of the unity and love of the Most Holy Trinity (Source: Fr. Mike Lagrimas, Our Lady of Guadalupe Parish, Palmera Springs 3, Susano Road, Camarin, Novaliches, Caloocan City 1422).
Reflection 5 – Professing with our lives
A wiseacre defined Catholics as “Protestants who go to Mass.” It was a none-too-subtle gibe at our Church’s dissenting members. Should there be a difference between Protestants and Catholics? We hope and pray there is. Is there dissent in the Church? There is and always has been, but today it seems to be more vocal. This is a pity, because it invites criticism and ridicule. It allows self-seeking politicians to divide Catholics on vital issues like the sanctity of life and marriage. Only a united Church could hope to safeguard Gospel values in today’s secularized and de-Christianized society. The problem is compounded by our sometimes ineffective catechetical programs. We hope that Catholics sometimes dissent only because they are not sufficiently informed about what the Catholic Church teaches.
Today is Trinity Sunday and we celebrate the central mystery of our Christian faith – Three Divine Persons in One God. It would defy reason to maintain that it is possible to have Three Persons in One God without also stating that there is an indivisible unity in the Trinity. In today’s Preface to the Eucharistic Prayer we proclaim our faith in “three Persons equal in majesty, undivided in splendor, yet one Lord, one God.” The unity of the Trinity of Persons therefore is the highest exemplar and source of the Catholic Church’s unity, a unity assured by the visible bonds of communion: profession of one apostolic faith, common celebration of divine worship, and apostolic succession of the pope and the bishops in communion with him. Unity of faith thus becomes the first and most important goal of every member of the Church. It is a goal we must strive to achieve, work and sacrifice for. Our Lord pointed out an obvious truth, “Every kingdom divided against itself is laid waste; any house torn by dissension falls” (Lk 11:17).
Writing to the Romans, St. Paul shows the essential connection between faith and teaching the Word of God. “How can (people) believe unless they have heard of (Christ)? And how can they hear unless there is someone to preach? And how can they preach unless they are sent?” (Rom 10:14-15). The Catholic Church therefore has always been solicitous in passing on the rich deposit of faith in its integrity. “Bishops, with priests as coworkers, have as their first task to preach the Gospel… in keeping with the Lord’s command” (CCC: 888).
Learning the faith, however, has its own problems, as the Lord indicated in his parable of the Sower and his Seed. Thus, based on sound pedagogy and the experiences of centuries, the Church has summarized the content of our Catholic faith in “professions of faith,” or creeds. These are meant to be easily learned, possibly memorized, so that the articles of faith are ever in mind when judgments are made concerning actions that bear on our eternal destiny. We now have GPS technology in new cars. It has proven to be a handy travel aid and helps the motorists to arrive safely at a given destination. The system is based on a network of satellites that circle the earth and enable the device to pinpoint locations. A creed uses articles of faith like satellites and enables a Catholic to remember always where he came from and where he is going in life. In this way he can safely arrive at his destination, heaven.
The word “creed” comes from the Latin first word of a profession of faith – “credo,” which means “I believe” – and it makes personal what is proposed by the Church. Our first creed was the one our baptismal sponsors made for us. The baptismal creed expresses faith in the Three Persons of the Trinity in whose name we are baptized. This creed dates back to the third century and is renewed several times in the course of the year, for example on Easter Sunday.
Other creeds were formulated through the centuries as needs developed. The two most familiar to us are the Apostles’ Creed and the Nicene Creed. Most of us have memorized them because we say the Apostles’ Creed every time we say the rosary and the Nicene Creed is said at every Sunday Mass.
Because of its name, the Apostles’ Creed is attributed to the apostles, and while the actual formulation cannot be traced to back them, the content surely can. The first written version of the Apostles’ Creed as we know it is from the 8th century. Some early Church Fathers referred to it as the “rule of faith” handed down by the apostles. Early versions of the Creed were passed down orally in the era of persecution. The Apostles’ Creed has been accepted even by Protestant traditions and it may serve as a basis for ecumenical discussions. The Apostles’ Creed may substitute for the Nicene Creed at Sunday Mass.
The Nicene Creed was formulated by the Council of Nicaea (325) and it responded to the Arian heresy, which asserted that the Son of God was not truly divine but created, and that he was not eternal but temporal. The Creed we say at Mass is also called the Niceno-Constantinopolitan Creed because it takes into consideration two later councils, Constantinople 1 (381) and Chalcedon (451), and it makes more explicit Catholic teaching on the Son of God and the Holy Spirit.
Creeds have been expanded through the years in response to changing circumstances. New heresies arose and doubts raised, and they demanded more detailed clarifications. The latest creed proposed by the Catholic Church is the Credo of the People of God, proclaimed by Pope Paul VI. This creed restated the teaching of previous creeds but, among other things, emphasized the Church’s teaching on Original Sin, the Church as a visible society and necessary for salvation, and the Eucharist (Mass as sacrifice, transubstantiation and the enduring presence of Christ in the Blessed Sacrament).
We should not be surprised that creeds have been expanded through the years. It is not that Catholic doctrine has changed, but that it has been better understood and explained. The Church has diligently reflected on the deposit of faith entrusted to her, and through the work of scholars and saints has grown in understanding. St. Vincent of Lerins asked whether there is a development of doctrine in the Church. He assures us there is, but it is a development and not an alteration of faith. “The understanding, knowledge and wisdom of all, of individuals as well as of the whole Church, ought then to make great and vigorous progress with the passing of the ages” (Liturgy of the Hours, IV, 363).
Political parties have platforms that embody principles meant to determine party positions on vital national issues. Journalists refer to “isms” to describe various doctrines. Our Catholic creeds may have something in common with both these concepts, but they are also different. They concern eternal happiness and are based not on reason alone, but on our faith in Jesus Christ. They are the truths that we live by. (Source: Fr. George M. Franko, “Homilies on the Liturgies of Sundays and Feasts,” Homiletic & Pastoral Review, Vol. CX, No. 7. San Francisco: Ignatius Press, April 2010, pp. 42-44; Suggested reading: Catechism of the Catholic Church, 185-197, 813-815).
Reflection 6 – The Creed: A Summary of Our Beliefs
Each Sunday at Mass, we join in reciting the Creed immediately after the homily. The fact that we do it so often, and the need to keep pace in saying it together as a congregation, can easily bring us to say it without thinking about it. But the nature of the feast today, Trinity Sunday, gives us reason to reflect a bit on what the Creed is, and what we are doing when we profess a creed, so that we can pray it all the more attentively as a sign of our union with the Church throughout the world.
The Creed that we say at Mass is called the Nicene Creed because of the place of its origin: the second Ecumenical Council that met at Nicaea in the year 325 A.D. (the first Council was at Jerusalem in the year 70 A.D.). Now, there have been other creeds (that is, statements of belief) that came to be devised in subsequent centuries, including a very beautiful, but too little known, creed called the Creed of the People of God written by Pope Paul VI after the Second Vatican Council. But even in 325, there already was a much older creed, the Apostles’ Creed. This is the Creed that we say, for instance, at the beginning of the Rosary. It is thought to have been created by the Apostles, and some even think that its twelve lines reflect the contributions of the twelve Apostles. The Apostles’ Creed sets the format for all subsequent Christian creeds by its division into three parts, each of which makes various statements of our fundamental beliefs about God the Father, God the Son, and God the Holy Spirit.
The Nicene Creed that the Church has said at Mass ever since 325 A.D. (to be even more accurate, we should note at this point that there were a few small refinements made in this Creed at the third Ecumenical Council, which met at Constantinople in 381 A.D.) reflects this three-part structure, and the resulting concentration on the Holy Trinity is what makes it so appropriate for us to reflect on the Creed today on Trinity Sunday. It is not just that the Nicene Creed is longer than the Apostles’ Creed. The Nicene Creed also tries to be as clear as possible on various points that had come under question by 325. The Church needed to declare the truth of these questionable points so as to prevent members of the Church from holding heretical positions, positions that thoughtful people had, for one reason or another, found attractive, but which actually deviated from the truth about God.
Now, one of the most interesting aspects of the Nicene Creed is that—except for one phrase—it is made up entirely of biblical phrases. The Council of Nicaea was so concerned to hold fast to the tradition which the Church was entrusted by Christ, and so intent on handing it down exactly as it was received, from age to age, that every effort was made to use only biblical words and phrases. This is why it contains such wonderful phrases as “eternally begotten of the Father, God from God, light from light, true God from true God” when trying to capture a sense of how the Son of God, the second Person of the Blessed Trinity is related to God the Father, the first divine Person. Every one of those words is somewhere in the Scriptures.
Readings like the first reading at Mass today, the passage from the book of Proverbs, had already given important Scriptural evidence about the Trinity in saying: “The Lord begot me, the first-born of his ways… When there were no depths, I was brought forth… When he established the heavens, I was there….” This is already testimony in the Old Testament about the second Person of the Holy Trinity, but (as is often the case in the Old Testament) the truth being expressed here is still veiled, only to become fully clear with the coming of Christ, the Incarnate Word in the flesh. What the Church found in the early centuries of reflection on Christ was that well-meaning people understood these Old Testament passages differently, and (to be honest) it is no wonder, given the difficulty of these texts.
If we use this particular passage as our example, some people understood it to report exactly what the Church came to declare in the Nicene Creed as the final and definitive truth on the subject: that the Son of God is God’s Son from all eternity, and that unlike human procreation, which occurs within time, there never was a time when the Son of God did not exist. It is for this reason that the Nicene Creed explicitly calls Jesus “the only Son of God, eternally begotten of the Father, God from God, light from light, true God from true God.”
Other thinkers had understood passages like the one we read today from Proverbs somewhat differently. Unable to imagine how begetting a son could take place except within time, such that there must have been a time when only God the Father existed, and when the Son did not yet exist, they interpreted this very passage from the book of Proverbs to say that the Son of God is “the first born” and the very best but, nonetheless, a creature. However much they wanted to honor Jesus, the difference in their approach was immediately clear: this Son of God was better than all the rest of us, but nonetheless inferior to God the Father.
The Council at Nicaea saw the need to stop cold in its tracks this heretical way of thinking, however well-meaning it may have been. Not only did they pile up biblical phrase upon biblical phrase when calling Jesus “the only Son of God, eternally begotten of the Father, God from God, Light from Light, true God from true God.” In addition, the Council Fathers saw fit (after long and vigorous debates on the Council floor!) to include one non-biblical phrase in the very next phrase, that is, a phrase that came from philosophical circles, and is nowhere found within the Bible. But they thought that they had to include it in order to preserve the Church’s long-standing faith in the tradition of biblical interpretation that had been handed down from the very beginning: “begotten, not made, one in Being with the Father.”
The phrase “one in being with” (in Greek, homoousios, in Latin consubstantialis) is a very precise and abstract way of putting the matter. It uses the metaphysical language of beingand substance, rather than such biblical phrases as “Light from Light.” But it does so only in the effort to make absolutely clear, once and for all, that the second Person of the Holy Trinity is in no way just a creature, but a person who is truly divine. This is the intent of the phrase “begotten, not made”: it says that the Son of God is truly a Son, and not a creature, but that he is a Son, unlike all the rest of us who only were begotten at some point in time. He is eternally the Son of the Father, from whom he has received all that he is.
Now, all this could easily sound too abstract and complicated for a homily, and yet we have only touched on just one of the more technical points. Others await us if we would turn to the section on the Holy Spirit. But perhaps, we would do better to stay with just this one point for now, and to consider one of its practical implications. One of the truths which the Church has come to realize, over the course of time, appears in reflecting on the words of Jesus in today’s Gospel, where he promises us that “the Spirit of truth,” whom he will send to us, “will guide you to all truth.” That truth is that every human being is made in the image and likeness of God, and thus made in the image and likeness of the Trinity, for God is a Trinity. Not only do we bear a certain resemblance to God, but we are supposed to reflect the way God loves in the way we act and think and love.
Here is one of the practical points that can flow from pondering the Trinity through the Creed. The special love of the Son of God for his Father arises precisely from having received all that he is from his Father. The special love that he eternally shows is gratitude for the utter and complete generosity of the Father. One respect where we differ from him, of course, is in having been born in time. Yet, we too have received everything that we are from God through the parents who begot us. In this respect, what is due from us also is a love of gratitude for having received our being and our life. Cultivating a deeper sense of gratitude, modeled on the divine gratitude shown by the Son to the Father, can be an excellent way of remembering what we have received, and of imitating, in action, the Person of the Son.
The Psalm in today’s Mass encourages this very attitude. By posing a rhetorical question, it already suggests the very answer we have been discussing: “What is man that You should be mindful of him, or the son of man that you should care for him?” Why should God care for man? Precisely because God created man in his own image and likeness. The love which God the Father eternally shows for his Son has become manifest to us in the care that he exhibited in sending his Son to suffer and die for our sake. In gratitude for what he had received, the Son undertook this commission without question or pause. And in this he is the perfect model for the gratitude we in turn should show to God, and to our parents, in using (as St. Paul says in today’s reading from Romans) “the love of God … poured out into our hearts through the Holy Spirit who has been given to us.” This is our privilege: creatures made in the image of the Holy Trinity, and made to love in a way that resembles the way in which each Person of the Trinity loves. – Read the source: http://www.hprweb.com/2016/04/homilies-for-may-2016/
Reflection 7 – The Spirit will guide you into all the truth
Jesus makes a claim which only God can make – he knows all things – the present and the past, as well as the future. Jesus not only claims to speak the truth, he calls himself the very source of truth when he proclaims that he is the way, the truth and the life (John 14:6). Now Jesus promises to send his disciples the Spirit of truth who will guide them in understanding all that Jesus came to say and do! Jesus tells his disciples that it is the role of the Holy Spirit to reveal what is true. It is through the gift and working of the Holy Spirit, who enlightens our hearts and minds, that we come to understand that the Godhead is a trinity of persons – Father, Son, and Holy Spirit.
The Jews understood God as Creator and Father of all that he made (Deuteronomy 32:6) and they understood the nation of Israel as God’s firstborn son (Exodus 4:22). Jesus reveals the Father in an unheard of sense. He is eternally Father by his relationship to his only-begotten Son, who, reciprocally, is Son only in relation to his Father (see Matthew 11:27). The Spirit, likewise, is inseparably one with the Father and the Son. Jesus reveals the triune nature of God and the inseparable union of the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. The mission of Jesus and of the Holy Spirit are the same – to reveal the glory of God and to share that glory with us by uniting us in a community of love with the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. That is why Jesus tells his disciples that the Spirit will reveal the glory of the Father and the Son and will speak what is true. Before his Passover, Jesus revealed the Holy Spirit as the ‘Paraclete’ and Helper who will be with Jesus’ disciples to teach and guide them “into all the truth” (John 14:17,26; 16:13). The ultimate end, the purpose for which God created us, is the entry of God’s creatures into the perfect unity of the blessed Trinity. In baptism we are called to share in the life of the Holy Trinity here on earth in faith and after death in eternal light.
Clement of Alexandria (150-215 AD), an early church father and teacher at the catechetical school in Alexandria, wrote: “What an astonishing mystery! There is one Father of the universe, one Logos (Word) of the universe, and also one Holy Spirit, everywhere one and the same; there is also one virgin become mother, and I should like to call her ‘Church’.”
How can we personally know the Father and his Son, our Lord Jesus Christ? It is the Holy Spirit who reveals the Father and the Son to us and who gives us the gift of faith to know and understand the truth of God’s word. Through the Holy Spirit, we proclaim our ancient faith in the saving death and resurrection of Jesus Christ until he comes again. The Lord gives us his Holy Spirit as our divine Teacher and Helper that we may grow in the knowledge and wisdom of God. Do you seek the wisdom that comes from above and do you eagerly listen to God’s word and obey it?
“May the Lord Jesus put his hands on our eyes also, for then we too shall begin to look not at what is seen but at what is not seen. May he open the eyes that are concerned not with the present but with what is yet to come, may he unseal the heart’s vision, that we may gaze on God in the Spirit, through the same Lord, Jesus Christ, whose glory and power will endure throughout the unending succession of ages.” (prayer of Origin, 185-254 AD) – Read the source: http://www.rc.net/wcc/readings/may22.htm
Reflection 8 – A relationship of love
I want to start off today by talking about General Ulysses S. Grant. As you may know, Grant had a terrible drinking problem. The only friend who was really close to him was a lawyer friend named John Rawlins. Rawlins convinced Grant to take a pledge to stay sober, particularly during the Civil War. And when Grant fell off the wagon and went back to drinking, it was John Rawlins who went to him as a friend, confronted him, and reminded him once again how many people depended on him.
If you go to Washington, D.C., you can look in front of the Capitol and you’ll see an heroic statue of General Grant on his horse. But if you go down Pennsylvania Avenue to the other end, south of the Capitol, you will find a park called Rawlins Park. In that park is a very nondescript statue of John Rawlins. Yet the truth is, literally and figuratively, the only reason Grant stayed on his horse was because of John Rawlins.
Let me share another thought, this time from the movies. A poignant film called There Were Times, Dear, with Joanne Woodward, tells the story of a woman who had to cope with her husband’s progressive Alzheimer’s disease. The film shows her watching him as he becomes more and more lost; she watches him become a dazed and drooling invalid; she worries when she wakes up in the morning and he’s missing and she doesn’t know where he is.
But she doesn’t keep her distance. She stays with him, cares for him, bathes him, and dresses him. And she does all this with the knowledge that not only will he never be the same again, but there will come a point when he will not even know who she is. Yet she has no thought of leaving him or divorcing him or staying away.
Another powerful film, Brian’s Song, told the story of two great football players, Brian Piccolo and Gayle Sayres. Gayle was black and Brian was white, and in all of professional sports history they were the first black man and white man to room together. And so the world watched carefully to see how they would get along together. What kept them together was their great sense of humor. At one point, Brian Piccolo was asked, “How do you two get along? How is it living with a black man?” He answered, “It’s okay as long as he doesn’t use the bathroom.”
When Brian got cancer, he wasn’t able to take part in the playoffs. Gayle Sayres did, and won football’s most prestigious award, the George S. Halas Award. In the movie, Sayres stood up in front of everybody to accept the award, and said:
“You flatter me by giving me this award. But I tell you here and now that I accept it for Brian Piccolo. Brian Piccolo is the man of courage who should receive the George S. Halas Award. I love Brian Piccolo, and I’d like you to love him. Tonight when you hit your knees, please ask God to love him too.”
Why were we moved by that scene? Not just because it showed an extraordinary friendship between a black and a white man, but because it said something profound about the relationship: “I love this man.”
Why do we resonate with these three stories, and what do they have to do with the Trinity? The answer is this: all these stories portray loving relationships. Instinctively, we know that we are at our best, our most moral, our most human, our most divine, when we are in loving relationships. But why?
Because it is at those times that our true identity is revealed. What identity are we talking about here? Our identity as beings made in the image and likeness of the triune God, revealed precisely as a God whose very nature is a loving relationship.
The Trinity tells us that God is not solitary like the pagan gods. God is not capricious or cruel or immoral like the Greek gods. No, the Trinity says that God is relationship–Father, Son, and Spirit–and the basis of that relationship is love. And we are made in that image. No wonder, then, that we are most godly, most divine, most happy, most fulfilled, when we, too, are in a loving relationship, are “Trinity.”
Of course, if you flip it over to the other side, we are least ourselves and most unhappy and most inhuman when we are out of relationship, out of sync with the Trinity in whose image we are made. That is why the worst pain and illness in the world is to be out of relationship. Think of the raw emotions of a betrayal, a separation, the death of a spouse or a child, a divorce, of any severe breaking of a relationship. Some people commit suicide over a broken love affair. These situations hurt so much because they go against the grain of who we are.
On the other hand, the stories of John Rawlins and the wife of the husband with Alzheimer’s disease and Gayle Sayres resonate with us, because they provide a mirror of the triune God in whose image we are made. They picture us at our godly best. They show us living in the pattern of the Trinity.
So the next time somebody says to you, “Well, you’re a Catholic; you believe in the Trinity; what’s it all about?” don’t go into a long philosophical and theological discussion. Simply say: “It’s about three Persons bound in a relationship of love–and it’s about me, because I am the reflection of that relationship. The Trinity is the basis of the moral life which urges me to show in my life the glimpse I have of God’s life: Father, Son, and Spirit in love.” (Source: Rev. William J. Bausch, The Word in and out of Season. Connecticut: Twenty-Third Publications, 2000 pp. 123-125).
Reflection 9 – St. Rita of Cascia (1381-1457 A.D.)
Like Elizabeth Ann Seton, Rita of Cascia was a wife, mother, widow and member of a religious community. Her holiness was reflected in each phase of her life.
Born at Roccaporena in central Italy, Rita wanted to become a nun but was pressured at a young age into marrying a harsh and cruel man. During her 18-year marriage, she bore and raised two sons. After her husband was killed in a brawl and her sons had died, Rita tried to join the Augustinian nuns in Cascia. Unsuccessful at first because she was a widow, Rita eventually succeeded.
Over the years, her austerity, prayerfulness and charity became legendary. When she developed wounds on her forehead, people quickly associated them with the wounds from Christ’s crown of thorns. She meditated frequently on Christ’s passion. Her care for the sick nuns was especially loving. She also counseled lay people who came to her monastery.
Beatified in 1626, Rita was not canonized until 1900. She has acquired the reputation, together with St. Jude, as a saint of impossible cases. Many people visit her tomb each year.
Although we can easily imagine an ideal world in which to live out our baptismal vocation, such a world does not exist. An “If only ….” approach to holiness never quite gets underway, never produces the fruit that God has a right to expect.
Rita became holy because she made choices that reflected her Baptism and her growth as a disciple of Jesus. Her overarching, lifelong choice was to cooperate generously with God’s grace, but many small choices were needed to make that happen. Few of those choices were made in ideal circumstances—not even when Rita became an Augustinian nun.
For the Baptism of adults and for all the baptized at the Easter Vigil, three questions are asked: “Do you reject sin so as to live in the freedom of God’s children? Do you reject the glamor of evil, and refuse to be mastered by sin? Do you reject Satan, father of sin and prince of darkness?”
Patron Saint of: Difficult marriages, Impossible causes, Infertility, Parenthood
Read the source: http://www.americancatholic.org/features/saints/saint.aspx?id=1391
SAINT OF THE DAY
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|Saint Rita of Cascia|
Patron Saint of the Impossible, abused wives and widows
(note the accurate portrayal of her Medieval religious habit, brown and white veil with brown ribbon borders). She is holding a thorn from the crown of Christ that pierced her forehead as a sign of penance
|Mother, Widow, Stigmatist, Consecrated Religious|
Roccaporena, Perugia, Umbria, Italy
|Died||May 22, 1457
Cascia, Perugia, Umbria, Italy
|Venerated in||Roman Catholic Church
|Beatified||1626 by Pope Urban VIII|
|Canonized||May 24, 1900, Vatican City, Rome byPope Leo XIII|
|Major shrine||Cascia, Italy|
|Attributes||Forehead wound, Rose, Bees, grape vine|
|Patronage||Lost and impossible causes, sickness, wounds, marital problems, abuse, mothers|
|Controversy||Spousal abuse, Feud, Family honor|
Saint Rita of Cascia (Born Margherita Lotti 1381 – May 22, 1457) was an Italian widow, and Augustinian nun. She is venerated as a saint in the Roman Catholic Church. Rita was married at an early age. The marriage lasted for eighteen years, during which she is remembered for her Christian values as a model wife and mother who made efforts to convert her husband from his abusive behavior. Upon the murder of her husband by another feuding family, she sought to dissuade her sons from revenge.
She subsequently joined an Augustinian community of religious sisters, where she was known both for practicing mortification of the flesh and for the efficacy of her prayers. Various miracles are attributed to her intercession, and she is often portrayed with a bleeding wound on her forehead, which is understood to indicate a partial stigmata.
Pope Leo XIII canonized Rita on May 24, 1900. Her feast day is celebrated May 22. At her canonization ceremony, she was bestowed the title of Patroness of Impossible Causes, while in many Catholic countries, Rita came to be known to be as the patroness of abused wives and heartbroken women.
Saint Rita was born Margherita Lotti in 1381 in the city of Roccaporena(near Spoleto, Umbria, Italy) where various sites connected with her are the focus of pilgrimages. Her parents, Antonio and Amata Ferri Lotti, were known to be noble, charitable persons, who gained the epithetConciliatore di Cristo (English: Peacemakers of Christ). According to pious accounts, Rita was originally pursued by a notary named Gubbiobut she resisted his offer. She was married at age twelve to a nobleman named Paolo Mancini. Her parents arranged her marriage, a common practice at the time, despite her repeated requests to be allowed to enter a convent of religious sisters. Her husband, Paolo Mancini, was known to be a rich, quick-tempered, immoral man, who had many enemies in the region ofCascia. Rita had her first child at the age of twelve.
Rita endured his insults, physical abuse, and infidelities for many years. According to popular tales, through humility, kindness, and patience, Rita was able to convert her husband into a better person, more specifically renouncing a family feud known at the time as La Vendetta. Rita eventually bore two sons, Giangiacomo (Giovanni) Antonio and Paulo Maria, and brought them up in the Christian faith. As time went by and the family feud between the Chiqui and Mancini families became more intense, Paolo Mancini became congenial, but his allies betrayed him and he was violently stabbed to death by Guido Chiqui, a member of the feuding family.
Rita gave a public pardon at Paolo’s funeral to her husbands’ murderers. Paolo Mancini’s brother, Bernardo, was said to have continued the blood family feud and hoped to convince Rita’s sons to seek revenge. Bernardo convinced Rita’s sons to leave their manor and live at the Mancini villa ancestral home. As her sons grew, their characters began to change as Bernardo became their tutor. Rita’s sons wished to revenge their father’s murder. Rita, fearing that her sons would lose their souls, tried to persuade them from retaliating, but to no avail. Accordingly, she petitioned God to take her sons rather than submit them to possible mortal sin andmurder. Her sons died of dysentery a year later, which pious Catholics believe claim was God’s answer to take her prayer, taking them by natural death rather than risk them committing a mortal sin punishable by Hell.
After the deaths of her husband and sons, Rita desired to enter the monastery of Saint Mary Magdalene in Cascia but was turned away. Although the convent acknowledged Rita’s good character and piety, the nuns were afraid of being associated with her due to the scandal of her husband’s violent death. However, she persisted in her cause and was given a condition before the convent could accept her: the task of reconciling her family with her husband’s murderers. She implored her three patron saints (John the Baptist, Augustine of Hippo, and Nicholas of Tolentino) to assist her, and she set about the task of establishing peace between the hostile parties of Cascia. Popular religious tales recall that the bubonic plague, which ravaged Italy at the time, infected Bernardo Mancini, causing him to relinquish his desire to feud any longer with the Chiqui family. She was able to resolve the conflicts between the families and, at the age of thirty-six, was allowed to enter the monastery.
Pious Catholic legends later recount that she was transported into the monastery of Saint Magdalene via levitation at night into the garden courtyard by her three patron saints. She remained at the monastery, living by the Augustinian Rule, until her death from tuberculosis on May 22, 1457.
The “Acta” or life story of Saint Rita was compiled by the Augustinian priest, Father Jacob Carelicci. Rita was beatified byPope Urban VIII in 1626. The pope’s private secretary, Cardinal Fausto Poli, had been born some fifteen kilometers (nine miles) from her birthplace and much of the impetus behind her cult is due to his enthusiasm. She was canonized on May 24, 1900 by Pope Leo XIII. Her feast day is May 22. On the 100th anniversary of her canonization in 2000, Pope John Paul IInoted her remarkable qualities as a Christian woman: “Rita interpreted well the ‘feminine genius’ by living it intensely in both physical and spiritual motherhood.”
She has acquired the reputation, together with St. Jude, as a saint of impossible cases. She is also the patron saint of sterility, abuse victims, loneliness, marriage difficulties, parenthood, widows, the sick, bodily ills and wounds.
Her body, which has remained incorrupt over the centuries, is venerated today in the shrine at Cascia, which bears her name. Many people visit her tomb each year. French painter Yves Klein had been dedicated to her as an infant. In 1961, he created a Shrine of St. Rita, which is placed in Cascia Convent.
Some criticism has addressed Rita’s portrayal in an inaccurate religious habit. While most common images of Rita show her in a classic Augustinian traditional black habit, historical accuracy shows that the religious sisters in the monastery of Saint Mary Magdalene in 14th-century Cascia, Italy wore beige or brown habits, particularly with a white veil with a brown edge ribbon. This correction was particularly noted in the 2004 film Santa Rita da Cascia.
Various religious symbols are related to Saint Rita. She is depicted: holding a thorn, symbol of her penance and stigmata; holding a large Crucifix; holding a Palm leaf with three crowns (representing her two sons and husband); flanked by two small children (her sons); holding a Gospel book; holding a skull, symbol of mortality; and holding a flagella whip, symbol of her mortification of the flesh.
The forehead wound
When St. Rita was approximately sixty years of age, she was meditating before an image of Christ crucified. Suddenly, a small wound appeared on her forehead, as though a thorn from the crown that encircled Christ’s head had loosened itself and penetrated her own flesh. For the next fifteen years she bore this external sign of stigmatization and union with Christ.
It is said that near the end of her life, Rita was bedridden at the convent. While visiting her, a cousin asked if she desired anything from her old home. Rita responded by asking for a rose from the garden. It was January, and her cousin did not expect to find one due to the season. However, when her relative went to the house, a single blooming rose was found in the garden, and her cousin brought it back to Rita at the convent. St. Rita is often depicted holding roses or with roses nearby. On her feast day, churches and shrines of St. Rita provide roses to the congregation that are blessed by the priest duringMass.
In the parish church of Laarne, near Ghent, Belgium, there is a statue of St. Rita in which several bees are featured. This depiction originates from the story of her baptism as an infant. On the day after her baptism, her family noticed a swarm of whitebees flying around her as she slept in her crib. However, the bees peacefully entered and exited her mouth without causing her any harm or injury. Instead of being alarmed for her safety, her family was mystified by this sight. According to Butler, this was taken to indicate that the career of the child was to be marked by industry, virtue, and devotion.
A large sanctuary of St. Rita was built in the early 20th century in Cascia. The sanctuary and the house where she was born are among the most active pilgrimage sites of Umbria.
French singer Mireille Mathieu adopted St. Rita as her patron saint on the advice of her paternal grandmother. In her autobiography, Mathieu describes buying a candle for St. Rita using her last franc. Though Mathieu claims that her prayers did not always come true, she testifies that they inspired her to become a strong and determined woman.
In 1943, Rita of Cascia, a film based on St. Rita’s life, was made starring Elena Zareschi. The story of St. Rita increased in popularity due to a 2004 film “Santa Rita da Cascia”, filmed in Florence, Italy. The latter film altered the facts of St. Rita’s early life.
- “CATHOLIC ENCYCLOPEDIA: St. Rita of Cascia”.
- DiGregorio OSA, Michael. The Precious Pearl/The Story of Saint Rita of Casica, National Shrine of St. Rita of Cascia, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania
- “The Story of St. Rita of Cascia”.
- St. Rita di Cascia from Fr. Alban Butler‘s Lives of the Saints
- Rotelle, John. Book of Augustinian Saints, Augustinian Press, 2000
- Arquidiócesis de Morelia. “San Isdiro Labrador”. Issuu.
- Foley O.F.M., Leonard. Saint of the Day, Lives, Lessons, and Feast, (revised by Pat McCloskey O.F.M.), Franciscan Media, ISBN 978-0-86716-887-7
- “ST. RITA OF CASCIA :: Catholic News Agency (CNA)”. Catholic News Agency.
- Weitemeier, Hannah, Yves Klein, Taschen, Köln 2001, S. 70–71, ISBN 3-8228-5643-6
- Mathieu, Mireille; Cartier, Jacqueline. Oui Je Crois. First Edition, Paris: Robert Laffont Publisher, 1988
- “Saint Rita (Rita da Cascia)”. Christian Movies All in One Place, Easy to Find! CFDb!.