Saturday, June 10, 2017

“Considering the Most Holy Trinity with Affection” by Rev. Paul Berghout

Brothers and sisters, rejoice. Mend your ways, encourage one another, agree with one another, live in peace, and the God of love and peace will be with you. Greet one another with a holy kiss. All the holy ones greet you. 2 Corinthians 13:11-12

God so loved the world that he gave his only Son so that everyone who believes in him might not perish but might have eternal life. For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but that the world might be saved through him. John 3:16-17

The mystics often use the affective mode of meditation to ponder the Three Persons of the Most Holy Trinity, using their imagination.

This type of meditation put the imagination on the level of our feelings – an emotionalization wherein the worshipper seeks to imagine the sights, sounds, tastes, movements, and touches of specific scenes from the Gospel in order to engage and reinforce learning, compassion, and to highlight that God is loving and accessible.

Margery Kempe pictured the Trinity in this way: “God the Father sits on a golden cushion, in honor of his might and power; Christ sits on a cushion of red; and the Holy Ghost,” the sanctifier, “sits on a white cushion, because He is full of love and cleanness.”

It's interesting that she came up with the image of colored pillows! Very creative. I have a pillow on my couch with words printed on it which say: "If you are looking for the T.V. remote, it is hidden under here."

Use your imagination in your meditation and prayer to the First Person
of the Most Holy Trinity, God the Father.

The Father is first. The Father is the eternity. The Principle. The Source of all life. The Word and Holy Spirit proceed from Him, and all creation comes from Him through the Word, in the Holy Spirit.

We can use our imagination to honor the Father as the First Cause by laying down at his feet our whole being, our plans, our desires, in order that he, God the Father, may take the initiative in everything concerning us. In this way, we imitate Jesus.

Use your imagination in your meditation on the Second Person of the Most Holy Trinity, God the Son.

From Our Gospel today on John 3:16: "God so loved the world that he gave his only Son so that everyone who believes in him might not perish but might have eternal life."

Here is something imaginative: I saw a picture of Yoda from Star Wars, where he quotes John 3:16:

Another example: A banker in New York had a great desire to encourage some soldiers who were fighting during World War II. But, he could not get permission to visit the war zone personally. But his longing desire to help these men was not to be easily thwarted, so he called on a firm which manufactured advertising novelties and had them make several thousand small mirrors about three inches in diameter.

On the backside of each of these mirrors, he had printed the words of John 3:16. Beneath the words of this inscription was written, "If you want to see who it is that GOD loves and for whom He gave His Son, look on the other side."

These mirrors were distributed among the soldiers with the permission of the officers, and thus each man looking into the mirror would see the object of GOD's love and the one whom the SAVIOR came to save.

I bought a similar compact mirror on the internet that flips open with the words of John 3:16, written on the outside.

Use your imagination in your prayer and life with the Third Person of the Most Holy Trinity, the Holy Spirit. I think of the number 3 with the Holy Spirit, and of course, the Trinity.

The Trinity (Godhead) is 3 in one.

God is both one and three at the same time.

Isaiah 6:3 says that two seraphim, each with six wings "...were calling to one another: “Holy, holy, holy is the Lord Almighty; the whole earth is full of his glory.”

In Revelation 4:8: "Each of the four living creatures had six wings and was covered with eyes all around, even under its wings. Day and night they never stop saying: “‘Holy, holy, holy is the Lord God Almighty,’ who was, and is, and is to come.”

"Holy, Holy, Holy" is repeated three times because of the Trinity, The Godhead is 3 in One.

At Fatima, the Angel of Peace had the children repeat three times a Trinity Prayer in preparation. Lucia said: "We saw shining over us a strange light. We lifted our heads to see what was happening. the Angel was holding in his left hand a chalice and over it, in the air, was a host from which drops of blood fell into the chalice. The Angel leaves the chalice in the air, kneels near us and tells us to repeat three times:

Father, Son and Holy Spirit,
I adore Thee profoundly.
I offer Thee the most precious Body, Blood, Soul
and Divinity of Jesus Christ,
present in all the tabernacles of the world,
in reparation for the outrages,
sacrileges and indifferences whereby He is offended.
And through the infinite merits of His Most Sacred Heart
and the Immaculate Heart of Mary,
I beg of Thee the conversion of poor sinners.
When I have a problem to work out, I look for a new creative solution, a third way, asking the Holy Spirit for help.

Here is an example that I adapted from Fr. Rohr about a woman in Canada who is the director of a small government-subsidized service agency. She had to appear before a provincial board each spring to orally defend her budget and make her request for the next year’s funds.

The main problem was that as she waited her turn in a seemingly endless litany of petitions from the heads of other agencies, was that she was worried about scarcity--not enough money to go around.

Simply put: You have money. My agency needs this amount to function. I am worried that you'll blame the economy for not giving me what I need.
Then, she pictured the situation in terms of a third factor, gratitude, in honor of the Holy Spirit.

Suddenly an inspiration arrived. She threw away her prepared speech, smiled warmly, and began, “I want to thank you all for the generous funding we received from you last year. Here’s how we spent it.” She then went on to detail all the good work they had managed to accomplish on what was actually a very small subsidy. As she spoke, she could sense the board members visibly relaxing and her colleagues staring in amazement. She concluded, “We are not asking you for a single additional penny this year, and if we need to cut back, this is the strategy we’ve put in place to do so with minimal impact on our service.”

She got the full amount that she requested.

Lastly, with your imagination, use the Trinity as a model in your relationships.

The distinction between the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit doesn’t rest on their autonomy, but in the “relationship of each Person to the others” (Catechism, 252).

We are created in his image and likeness. This means that he created us to be relational too.

"Our God in his deepest mystery is not solitude, but a family..." says Pope Francis, quoting St. John Paul II, AL 11.

How does that model your relationships since we believe in the Triune God whose very nature is communal and social?

Psychologists say that to the degree that we are deprived of social interaction we are emotionally deficient and vulnerable to addiction.
For example, avoidant individuals, who attempt to detach themselves from psychological distress, can use alcohol and drugs as a means of avoiding painful emotions and self-awareness. It also contributes to eating disorders.
Experience teaches us that we are only fully alive when our lives are lived in a relationship.

Lastly, St. Ignatius of Loyola did not think of himself as a highly educated intellectual. He had an advanced degree from the University of Paris, the finest university in Europe at the time. But it was imagination that played a central role in his conversion.

Through his many years of directing others he discovered how useful the imagination could be in fostering a deeper relationship with God.
Imaginative prayer is recognized as one of the hallmarks of Ignatian spirituality. 

Imagine God the Father, God the Son, and God the Holy Spirit, actively in your life, as a verb more than a noun.

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