Today is, in the Latin calendar, Trinity Sunday. This is a mystery which we repeat, at least verbally, with every In the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit. It is present with all Christian prayer, yet we (or I) so infrequently remark on it. In fact, this mystery gets to the heart of the Christian religion and, consequently, to the heart of Christian contemplation.
When we say that God is with us, when we say that God dwells in us, and when we say that contemplation brings us an experience (however masked or straightforward) of the presence of God at the centre of our being and by grace, we are talking about the Holy Trinity. It may seem trite to say so. But it’s true. And it’s important.
We are not simply saying an unknown unity of a God dwells in us. God is, in some sense, very unknown to us, and he is very much One – that is true. But the mystery of Christian life is more than that. God reveals himself as Trinity.
Although present to all things in the measure of their goodness, God makes his very home in – that is, he dwells in – all those united to him by grace and a participation in his hidden, inner life. What is God’s inner life? It is communion. It is a life of Three Persons. It is a profound unity of being. In other words, the indwelling God is a tri-personal indwelling. And this is the vital centre of Christian mysticism, Christian prayer, and Christian contemplation – nothing more and nothing less than this. It’s about the Trinity: the bosom of unity and communion, community and oneness, actual distinction without utter separation. The Trinity is the fountain and spring of love and relationship.
Of course, this mystery is not a esoteric mystery reserved for a select few. The mystery of tri-personal indwelling is given, implanted, and promised to us in Baptism – it is a gift promised to us all. We might realize it awkwardly or directly in this life, or perhaps our realization will wait for the next life. Nonetheless, if we stay in grace, we are living with God dwelling in us, and God desires to make his divine life – communion, personality, relationship, love, Trinity – known to us in sighs beyond our poor words. According to Saints Teresa and John of the Cross, this deepening appreciation of the Trinity within us is one of the greatest emphases that can be experienced in the progressive deepening of Christian contemplation. May we all aspire to and pray for this gift.