The Holy Trinity
We are inclined to think of truth as something that is spoken in words, but in the Jewish world in which today’s gospel from St. John was written, truth was a person. The function of the Spirit, then, in leading the disciples “to the complete truth” was to bring them closer to Jesus even after he had gone from them. Jesus himself in his lifetime had constantly led them into closer relationship with the Father and now the Spirit will be the inner witness in their hearts, reminding them of all that Jesus gave them so that they can witness to others.
Even though the word, Trinity, is not to be found in the New Testament, it is clear that the later theological concept had its roots firmly in passages like today’s gospel. It clearly proclaims that the God we believe in is relational and that the relationship of love spills over from one person to the other within the Trinity, and that love overflows out to the world. Meister Eckhart speaks of this as a “boiling over.” I was making marmalade recently and was fascinated by how, once the mixture had come to the boiling point, it had to flow over; it couldn’t return to itself. So our understanding of the Trinity invites us into that boiling over and then propels us out like the disciples to bear witness to that experience.
St. Catherine of Siena had a wonderful understanding of the Trinity, as the only prayer known to have been written down by herself clearly shows:
“O Holy Spirit, come into my heart; by your power draw it to yourself, God, and give me charity with fear.
Guard me Christ, from every evil thought, and so warm and enflame me again with your most gentle love that every suffering may seem light to me.
My holy Father and my gentle Lord, help me in every need. Christ Love! Christ love!”
(Cited in, Mary O’Driscoll, St. Catherine of Siena, Editions du Signe, page 37)
Sr Celine Mangan O.P