Actually, plurality and diversity are good things. In no way is being in unity a negation of our diverse gifts or a denial of the importance of having differing ways of approaching problems or tasks. Unity does not mean sameness. As a people we are a work in progress and so we should always seek to use our creativity and to bring unique ideas to the table. As St. Paul pointed out, we are many parts of the Body of Christ, each with differing gifts. But the point is that we respect and use each gift in order to make a whole, not for one part of the body (to use his analogy) to lord it over any other part or to be seen as having more propriety than any other. (1 Cor 12) There is no unity in such attitudes and that is why we can become at odds with one another. The goal, therefore, is to find ways to complement each another and to use our diverse gifts toward the good of the whole community. It seems like an elusive goal because we are indeed broken, but that does not mean we should not try to work toward it. In fact, working toward personal wholeness is what we are all called to do; it is what we call ‘holiness.’ And if we all work toward it individually, we can find unity as a community.
Our one God has revealed Himself as a Trinity, a unity of Love. Jesus, the Son of God, said to His disciples that He and the Father are one (John 10:30) and He also spoke of His Holy Spirit which was to come into the world at Pentecost, as celebrated last week. In the gospels we ‘witnessed’ all three Persons as they manifested together at Jesus’ baptism and at His Transfiguration. Even so, we will never understand how it is possible; it is an absolute mystery. Therefore it is not a good idea to wrestle with trying to understand that which is too far beyond us. Instead, we need to turn to God Himself, the undivided Trinity, as a source of wholeness and unity, and simply rest in Him and in His love. We can pray as St. James taught, trusting that our fervent prayer is powerful. We can ask for the graces only God can give that we may be more whole ourselves and that we may be a peaceful presence rather than a divisive one. We can call upon the Lord to heal that which is too big for us and which divides the world, trusting that in the end our Triune God will pull all the broken pieces into Himself, healing us as He brings the ones who persevere into the Kingdom of Heaven, the fullness of His love.
May we have the healing and wholeness for which we long! May we trust in God that all which is divided will be eventually united in Him! May we give glorify and praise to the Holy Trinity in our fervent prayer and in our work to bring others to Him! May we be content in the mystery of God as we rest in His love! May we give praise to the Father, give glory to the Son, and gratitude to the Holy Spirit, one God in three Persons! And may we seek to rest in God, not alone, but with the community who is the Body of Christ! Let us meet in heart of the Holy Trinity! Peace!
©Michele L. Catanese
Note: As happens so often for me, the inspiration behind this entry was inspired by a song, a hymn I grew up with called “O God, Almighty Father.” The refrain goes like this:
“O most Holy Trinity, Undivided unity, Holy God, mighty God, God immortal be adored.”
The first image is what is undoubtedly one of the most famous and well-known icons in the world, St. Andrei Rublev's Holy Trinity. The Father, Son, and Holy Spirit are depicted as the three 'angels' who visited Abraham in the Old Testament passage. I chose it because it truly is an inspiring work with the Trinity sitting in the garden, a representation of that which God has made in creation, at prayer and rest, the Son pointing to the cup as if to say it is His body and blood which will be poured out for us. Exquisite!
Next is a photo I took at St. Peter's in Rome. The people are praying before the tomb of St. John Paul II. He was someone who pointed all of us to prayer through teaching and example during his pontificate. But even more important was how St. John Paul was so courageous in inspiring people to rise to the challenge at hand, finding even the gift of one's own diminishment through sickness or age to be something one can offer.
Next is an icon by Fr. William Hart McNichols called St. Paul the Apostle. In it one can see how St. Paul is carrying the gospel message far and wide, as implied by the beautiful book in his hands and the mountains in the background. St. Paul longed for Heaven, as every Christian should, but he also knew he had been given gifts in order to spread the gospel. He is depicted as lovingly, but resolutely, carrying the Word of God, because that is what Jesus has asked of him. I love how that can be seen in this icon. It can be found at http://fineartamerica.com/featured/st-paul-the-apostle-196-william-hart-mcnichols.html.
Next is a NASA photo of multitudes of stars, beyond counting, in the night sky. I think it speaks for itself of the vastness and mysteriousness of the universe. I could stare at the night sky forever and recommend finding somewhere without 'light pollution' to do so, too. It is magnificent.
Next is a photograph I took while in the Black Hills of South Dakota. I chose to use this here because of the unity of the rocks. If you look really closely you will see that the cut-out in the rock is heart shaped. It made me think of the Trinity, the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit who are "an eternal exchange of love extended out to us." (slight paraphrase of the words of St. Augustine.)