“How wonderful Your name in all the earth!” exclaims the psalmist about the living, awesome, tender mystery that we call God. The God whom our Christian tradition reveals as Triune is indeed a God of many names.
The Scriptures give us a wide range of images. The Israelites knew God as creative breath, burning fire, faithful shepherd, protective warrior, just lawgiver. Jesus called God his “Abba”-Father, and also imagined God as a mother hen, a woman in search of a lost coin, a homemaker baking bread, a banquet-giver, a merchant seeking the finest pearl. We will always be stymied in our attempts to describe God, because God is always more than our limited human vocabulary can encompass, always more than we can name.
In the sad and sorry divisions that mark our world today, some who claim to be believers cannot tolerate others who seek to speak of God in new ways. Instead of narrowing the ways that God can or cannot be named, let us acknowledge the limits of our human minds, and welcome many ways of describing the divine Fullness of God.
Theologians tell us that the least incorrect thing we can say of God is: “God is Love.” The symbol of Trinity shows us that relationship, communion, is the very life of God. St. Louise de Marillac prayed that “Jesus might be the strong and loving bond that unites the hearts of all the Sisters in imitation of the union of the three divine Persons.” Franciscan Father Richard Rohr honors the Trinity as model of relationships:
God For Us, we call You Father,
God Alongside Us, we call You Jesus,
God Within Us, we call You Holy Spirit.
By our baptism in Christ, we are drawn into that relational life of God. The gift of the Spirit makes us God’s children and heirs. Like God, we too become capable of pouring ourselves out for others, of living in communion. Today’s feast of the Trinity celebrates this wondrous Love, so deep and broad and wide that we will never be able to plumb its depths.
Regina Bechtle, SC
Sr. Regina, a retreat leader, speaker, writer and spiritual director, serves as Charism Resource Director for the Sisters of Charity of New York.