Msgr. Joseph A. Pellegrino
The Solemnity of the Most Holy Trinity: Loved, Forgiven & Empowered,
The Actions of the Father, Son and Holy Spirit
For many years I have encouraged people, young and old, to join me in a brief daily meditation which can transform our lives. I first heard about this mediation over 20 years ago when I attended a seminar given by Fr. Joh Fullenbach. I don’t know if he is the origin of the mediation, or just promoted it. The meditation is simply to focus on three thoughts: First God loves me with an unconditional love. I must love realize that I am loved and lovable. Second, God forgives me, I must forgive myself. And third, God is with me. Whatever I do; I can do with him.
The three meditations are really Trinitarian: they each express the action of one of the persons of the Blessed Trinity. We are loved. We are forgiven. We are empowered.
We are loved. The Father loves us. God loves us. Sometimes we focus on the view of God the Father as the Awesome One, the El Shaddai, the Creator. We envision him as the powerful old man with the beard creating the world and Adam on the ceiling of the Sistine Chapel. That is all valid. But He is also the Divine Lover. John 3:16: He so loved the world as to give us His only Son. His Son told us to call God Abba, Daddy really. Our God loves us as a parent loves his or her children, unconditionally. He loves us for whom we are. Good parents don’t love their children for what they do, although they are often proud of them. Good parents love their children for whom they are, their children. We are sons and daughters of God. We are loved.
He, the Father, sent us the One who saved us. We believe in God the Son. We believe in Jesus Christ. We make the sign of the cross as an affirmation that Jesus saved us by being crucified for us. We believe that God’s love for us is so intense that the Second Person of the Blessed Trinity became one of us while remaining One with the Father. Jesus Christ is our Lord and Savior. Perhaps we use that term Savior too freely. Perhaps it has lost its meaning for us. Without Jesus Christ we would be in the grips of hatred, sin and death. With Jesus Christ, we are engulfed in love and life. When we say “He frees us from sin,” we mean that he frees us from the misery that makes existence intolerable. With Jesus Christ, there is no situation in life that cannot lead us to his peace and happiness. Jesus Christ is the One who brought the Forgiveness of God to the world. God forgives us, not just as a people, but as individuals. We have to forgive ourselves. No matter what we have done, we have to let go of our guilt and trust in God. We have no right to refuse to forgive ourselves. We are not more powerful than God.
The Word became one of us, Christmas. He died for us, Good Friday. He conquered death and restored eternal life for us, Easter. He ascended to the Father, but His Spirit and the Spirit of the Father, the Holy Spirit, was given to us on Pentecost and remains with each of us. We each have the Presence and Power of God within us. We can make God Present to others. We believe in the God who empowers us. We believe in the Holy Spirit. We can do all things in Him who strengthens us, as Paul stated in Philippians 4:13.
And so we begin our prayers in the Name of the Father, and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit. We begin our prayers in the name of the Father who loves us unconditionally, and of the Son who made this love concrete by becoming one of us and dying for us and bringing God’s forgiveness to us, and the name of the Holy Spirit, who is God dwelling within us, empowering us. The sign of the cross is an affirmation of our faith. It is a declaration of whom we are: people God loves, forgives and empowers.
As we grow in the knowledge that God loves us, as we experience His Love more and more in our lives, we are transformed by His Love. We want nothing more than to nurture this Love. We want to spread this Love.
When we recognize that God forgives us, we realize that His Love is infinitely greater than our sins. We need to stop beating ourselves up and let His forgiveness into our lives. So many people in the world, so many of us, give up on life because we have given up on ourselves. When that happens we get into a downward cycle. We continue to do things that lead to spiritual disaster because we think God will not forgive us. Jesus Christ is our Savior, He saves us from ourselves. He forgives us. He calls us to spread the Good News, the Gospel to others. He challenges us to let all know that if they are committed to God, He will forgive them also.
He gives us the Power to lead others to Christ. Every one of us has a unique ability to reflect God’s love in the world. Every one of us is capable of instilling the seed of God’s love in others. We can change other people. We can lead them from a meaningless life to a life of eternal fulfillment. We have the Power of God within us. We possess the Holy Spirit.
And so we begin and end our prayers with a statement of whom we are and what we are about. We are people who are loved, forgiven and empowered. We find our meaning in life in the name of the Father, Son and Holy Spirit.