Dear Friends! Today’s feast invites us to live in the awareness of the presence of the Triune God within us: the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit. The mystery of the Holy Trinity, a doctrine enunciated by the ecumenical councils of Nicaea and Constantinople, is one of the fundamental doctrines of Christianity, and the greatest mystery of our Faith, namely, that there are three Divine Persons, sharing the same Divine Nature in one God. “There is one God, who has three persons, Father, Son and Holy Spirit. Each person is God, yet there is still only one God” (CCC #234, #253-256). We have the Father Who is the creator, the Son Who is the redeemer and the Holy Spirit Who is the sanctifier and the counselor.
The unity in Trinity is a great inspiration for everyone of us. We are called to become more like the Triune God through all our relationships. We are made in God’s image and likeness. Just as God is God only in a Trinitarian relationship, so we can be fully human only as one member of a relationship of three partners. We need to see the Trinity as the model for our Christian families: We are created in love — to be a community of loving persons, just as the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit are united in love. From the day we are baptized, we belong to the Father, Son and Holy Spirit. How privileged we are to grow up in such a beautiful family! Hence, let us turn to the Father, Son and Holy Spirit in prayer every day. We belong to the family of the Triune God. The love, unity and joy in the relationship among the Father, Son and Holy Spirit should be the supreme model for our relationships within our Christian families. Our families become truly Christian when we live in a relationship of love with God and with others.
It is a wonderful mystery that we can see something of the Triune God really reflected and lived out in a concrete and special way in the Christian family, founded on the unique covenant and gift of self between husband and wife. Male and female are made in the image of God—they are equal in dignity but different. Through their difference and complementarity, a man and a woman are able to form a unique and lifelong communion of persons—one that is truly two-in-one-flesh, a total gift of self to the other.
The communion of persons found in marriage mirrors the mystery of the Trinity, even if obliquely. A husband and wife’s communion respects each other, does not exhaust or consume each other, and leaves room for the third (the gift of a child). Their total, faithful and fruitful love, even when not blessed with a child, reflects the self-giving love in the Trinity. And that’s an important point, especially for spouses who struggle with infertility and/or the loss of a child in the womb. Your loving communion is still a great gift and is called to be fruitful, even in the midst of your great pain and sorrow.
The family is a school of love, of forgiveness, of communion. The Christian family is meant to shine God’s love within and without, to proclaim the mystery of the Trinity to the world. Of course, all of us in some way or another have been affected by brokenness in family life and have experienced in some way the pain of troubled or broken marriages. Let this not keep us from the family of God, the Church! Let this not keep us from striving to reach out to those who are lonely, hurting, and in need of our Father’s love and mercy. And let this not keep us from doing what we can, even in the midst of a broken family, to seek the Lord’s healing and reconciliation so that our families might become schools of redemption.
And lastly, let me speak a word of invitation to any of you who are or who know a fellow Catholic who is separated, divorced, married outside the Church, or in some similar situation. Please know you are part of the Church and are always welcome. Even if you are in a situation that keeps you from receiving Holy Communion, the Church welcomes you and loves you. If you haven’t already, please also know that you can come to me and talk about any questions you might have or you can invite someone you know who might be struggling to talk to me. Some situations—not all—can be remedied in a few steps. Others may take more time. I am sure we know some who have left the Church for various reasons related to a marital situation. May we all seek to love our brothers and sisters who have left the Church for whatever reason, and, through the good grace of our loving Father who sent his only Son to redeem the world and poured out his love through the Holy Spirit, may they be loved back to the Church, the sacrament of communion with God and of unity among all persons (CCC, no. 775).