Sunday, June 3, 2012

Its June Already!

Time has been flying.  The pace at Campion ranges from leisurely to full speed ahead.  I did not expect to make an 800 mile round trip from Wednesday to Friday this past week.  However, that is what I had to do.  Fortunately, I was back here before yesterday's steady and, at times, heavy rains hit.  Am finishing the presentations for a day of recollection titled: I Did Not Forget Thee Jerusalem: Aging, Dementia and Spirituality.

Today is the Solemnity of the Holy Trinity.  Sunday Masses have been moved from the main chapel to the smaller daily Mass chapel in anticipation of the need for air conditioning.  We could have used a bit of heat today but that is another story.   Some summer photos following the homily.

Solemnity of the Holy Trinity
Dt 4:32-34, 39-40
Ps 33
Rom 8:14-17
Mt 28:16-20 

Today we celebrate the Solemnity of the Most Holy Trinity.  This celebration forces us to consider an essential dogma of our faith.  We recall this dogma every time we begin and end Mass.  We invoke the Trinity every time we pray.  We recall the Trinity whenever we say the words Father, Son, and Holy Spirit.  What we call the Trinitarian formula was given by Jesus at the end of today’s Gospel.  It is Father, Son and Holy Spirit.  It is NOT the absurd, gender-free, "politically correct" versions in vogue in certain circles.  The Trinitarian formula is critical to every sacrament from baptism to the anointing of the sick and dying.  The sign of the cross begins and ends everything the Church does. As it should.

We read in The Catechism of the Catholic Church,  “The mystery of the Most Holy Trinity is the central mystery of Christian faith and life. It is the mystery of God in Himself.  It is therefore the source of all the other mysteries of faith, the light that enlightens them.  It is the most fundamental and essential teaching in the hierarchy of the truths of faith.”

Every time we make the sign of the cross, we recall a mystery that remains ultimately incomprehensible despite the volumes attempting to explain the dynamics within the Trinity.  Each book may contain a small kernel of insight into the nature of the Trinity, but none captures the essence of the Trinity.  The dogma of the Trinity depends on faith.  This begs the question what is faith?  One definition is: “Belief that does not rest on logical proof or material evidence.”  Another short definition of faith comes from the Letter to the Hebrews:  “Faith is the conviction of things not seen.”  

Both definitions tell us something important about the doctrine of the Holy Trinity; there will never be a logical proof of the dogma of the Trinity that satisfies everyone.  Thus, we must become comfortable with faith at its most mysterious because, despite the absence of logical proof, despite the impossibility of philosophy or science to explain the Trinity, one cannot call oneself Christian if he or she denies the Trinity. 

The word Trinity does not appear in scripture.  Rather, the understanding of the Trinity grew in the early years of the Church as Christian thinkers began to consider what Jesus said and did during His time on earth.  Jesus always speaks of His Father as distinct from Himself.  Yet, He also states that, “I and the Father are One.” The same is true of the Holy Spirit.

We are accustomed to persons being distinct rather than the same.  We have a hard time wrapping our minds around three in one.  We really have a hard time wrapping our minds around the meaning of consubstantial.

Over the past weeks many of the gospels have been taken from the farewell discourse in John’s Gospel Jesus refers to both the Father and the Holy Spirit in reference to Himself several times throughout this farewell.  Ultimately though, the Trinity is, and will remain, a mystery.

The first two photos are proof of the old Boy Scout motto:  Be prepared.  I had the camera in the car.  More critically, the tripod and cable release were in the trunk.  During a stop in Hairy John State Park, one of my favorite state parks, I came across a flock of butterflies.   They were all over the place.  One cluster was trying to create, or so it seemed, a pyramid in a small mud puddle.  Using a 300 mm lens and tripod (no way to hold a camera steady at that kind of magnification) I got these shots.  There are many more where they came from. 

The sun porch at Al and Karen's.  

 Al and Karen's backyard. 

 The "Allen Room" at the Hotel State College.  The quotes are there because it is no longer called the Allen Room.  However, in my mind it will always be the Allen Room.  Very good food.  Splendid views.  And a good bar that I used to frequent back in the day.  The tables in this part of the restaurant overlook the mall leading to Pattee Library.  
These flowering shrubs were at the new Arboretum at Penn State.  I wish I were going to live another 30 years to see it when it is mature.  Approximately 400 acres in the northeast campus (just to the north and west of East Halls) are being developed as an arboretum with formal gardens, fields and forest.  A pavilion at the top of the meadow is already booked for weddings into 2014. 

Finally, two irises in the arboretum.

+Fr. Jack, SJ, MD

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