Solemnity of the Most Holy Trinity: Being true to our real name

On Trinity Sunday we consider the name of God, Father, Son and Spirit. This is more than a theological dogma about God. It is also a doctrine about us. It is an expression of who we are. We are baptised in the name of God.

May 28, 2021

Trinity Sunday
Readings: Deuteronomy 4:32-34, 19-40;
Romans 8:14-17; Gospel: Matthew 28:16-20

1n 939 the poet T. S. Elliot wrote a book of  poems called the Old Possum’s Book of Practical Cats. His poems were taken word for word  and transformed by Andrew Lloyd Weber into  a musical play which first appeared in London,  then became a hit in New York, where it ran for  nineteen years. You are probably familiar with  the musical: Cats.

In his poems, T.S. Elliot says that all cats  have three names. The first name is the name  that the people the cat lives with give it. You  will notice I did not say the people who own the  cat. No one ever owns a cat, they just find a way  to live with the cat the best they can. Anyway,  the guests in the cat’s home give the cat a name  — like Fluffy or Bitsy or Garfield. According  to T.S. Elliott, the cat has a name that other cats  know. The cat might be called by the others,  McCavity the thieving cat, or Mephistopholes,  the magical cat, or Old Deuteronomy, the wise  old cat. But, Elliott says, the cat also has a third  name. This is a secret name that reflects all that  the cat really is. In the poetry, the cat spends  all his life contemplating his real name before  God.

T. S. Elliott was not writing about cats. He  was writing about people. In some ways we  all can be thought of as having three names.  There is the formal name we receive from our  parents. There is the name our friends use.  And then, there is that special name which we  receive from God that reflects who we really  are. For example, I have a formal name, Msgr  Joseph A. Pellegrino. My second name is the  one my friends call me, Fr Joe, or Msgr, Joe or  Mojo. I have another name, a third name, that I  do not thoroughly know. That is the name that  states who I am in my relationship with God. I  received this name from God at my baptism. It  expresses my deepest intimacy with God. This  name states, in a simple voice, the unique reflection of God that I was created to bring to the  world. I was given this name at my baptism. I  don’t thoroughly know this name. I will have  to spend the rest of my life coming to a deeper  and deeper knowledge of who I am before God.  I will have to spend the rest of my life learning  what my name is. You also have three names.  The first is your formal name. The second is  the one that those who know you use. The third  is the name that proclaims to the world your  unique relationship with God.

On Trinity Sunday we consider the name of  God, Father, Son and Spirit. This is more than a  theological dogma about God. It is also a doctrine about us. It is an expression of who we  are. We are baptised in the name of God. The  goal of our lives is to find the particular, unique  expression of God’s love that we have been  empowered to make present in the world. The  goal of our lives is to reveal our most profound  name. 

All who are baptised in the name of the Trinity are called to the Father, in Christ, through  the Holy Spirit. We are called to the Father. The  journey of our lives is a journey to God. It may  follow the paths of marriage and parenthood, as  many of you have taken. This journey may follow the path of the committed single Christian.  The path might be that of religious life or holy  orders. All journeys derive their meaning from  their final destination. The journey of our lives  is full of minor chores and major events. Even  our routine chores derive their meaning from  their final destination. Changing your baby’s  diaper, telling your child for the hundredth time  to clean up his or her room, putting up with  your spouse's moods, giving up going out with  your friends so you can spend some extra time  as a big brother or big sister, going to work and  all that entails, going to school and completing  all its tasks, all take their meaning as part of our  journey to the Father.

We are called to the Father in Christ. Jesus  Christ is the Word of God Become Flesh. Our  Christmas celebration is a celebration of His  Presence, not just among us but as one of us. He  teaches us who the Father is and how we can  best serve Him. Jesus teaches us with His life  what love really is. Love, true love, is sacrificial, even to death on a cross. When we journey  to the Father through Jesus, we are united to  the Tremendous Lover in His eternal sacrifice  of himself to the Father. The greatest steps we  take in our journey to God are the steps we take  away from our own selfishness. Christian is our  name and our claim. We seek God not through  the loss of personality like so many cults, or  through attaining a clear state of consciousness  like Scientology, or even through a loss of all  thoughts. We don’t look for God in some sort of  inner energy. We seek God through sacrificial  love. We are called to the Father through Jesus  Christ, the Tremendous Lover.

We are called to the Father through the Son  in the Holy Spirit. We are given the power and  the grace to love as God loves so others might  experience the presence of God working in  us. We are the vehicles of the Holy Spirit. Our  journey to God is not merely a matter of our individual relationship with God. We journey to  God so that others might join us in the journey  that gives meaning to life. We journey to God  so others can see Him in us and also be led to  His presence.

The intimate name we have received is the  name that best reflects our unique sharing in  the Blessed Trinity. Baptised in the name of the  Father, Son and Holy Spirit, we are called to  allow our lives to have meaning by being faithful to our name. A hundred years from now, a  thousand years from now, ten thousand years  from now, our participation in all the petty  wants and desires and ambitions the world  has decreed are the marks of a successful person will be forgotten. No one will recall if we  owned a Rolls and a yacht, or a Hyundai and a  canoe. But a hundred years from now, a thousand years from now, ten thousand years from  now, the world will still enjoy the impact of our  lives if we have illuminated the world with our  own unique reflection of God. The world will  be a better place if we make the journey approaching the Father through the Son with the  power of the Holy Spirit.––By Msgr Joseph A  Pellegrino

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