By Teresa Dagdag, M.M.
Maryknoll Sister Teresa Dagdag, who serves in mission in her native Philippines, reflects on the Trinity as a model of the gift of relationships and our interconnectedness with all creation.
Our ministry for ecological education at the Maryknoll Ecological Sanctuary in the Philippines is based on our signature program, a meditative trek we call the Cosmic Journey. This Journey is comprised of 14 stations manifesting the evolution of the universe of 13.8 billion years.
Part of this Journey is the slow development of the Earth which, according to scientific studies, took almost 5 billion years. It starts with the elements of fire, earth, and water and, traversing millions of years in the making, comes to the dinosaur station, the mammals, flowers, and birds, then leads to the primates and early humans. Through this journey, God’s love is palpable through the interconnectedness observed in the biological and physical evolution as well as the cultural and religious development in our world today.
The Cosmic Journey that I described above provides the setting for today’s First Reading from Proverbs. The In the reading, the author personifies the Wisdom of God: “The Lord has possessed me, the beginning of his ways… from of old I was poured forth at the first, before the earth” (Proverbs 8:22-23).
We are reminded that God, the Creator, is the Source of all Being. The Word of God, too, was there from the beginning, “beside him as his craftsman.” The Word was made flesh and dwelt among us” (John 1:14). God the Eternal Word, the Wisdom of God, was there “at the first, before the earth” and all that comprised creation.
This Feast of the Solemnity of the Holy Trinity offers us a gift of relationships, a grounded connection with God self, others, and the Earth Community. It is a gift of interpersonal community among the three Persons of the Trinity characterized by equality and mutuality. The Cosmic Journey manifests the interrelatedness of all of creation. We are invited to pray the doxology in thanksgiving for all that is: “Glory to you, Source of all Being, Eternal Word, and Holy Spirit.”
The Responsorial Psalm takes us through Psalm 8, which expresses wonder at humanity: “What is [humanity] that you should care for us? You have made us a little less that the angels and crowned us with glory and honor…”
Let us pause as we ponder the honor with which God has gifted us: “You have given humans rule over the works of your hand.” Here the word “rule” takes on a new meaning that emerges from our new sense of mission to care for our Common Home, as emphasized in Pope Francis’ Laudato Si’. This Common Home embraces all the creatures of our One Earth Community. We are all related to all of creation in this Earth Community where every creature has a right and responsibility to manifest God’s love.
In carrying out this mission, God has called humans to mirror God as Creator and Sustainer of Life. The traits of mindlessness, apathy, greed or avarice are attitudes and actions inimical to the Earth. Instead of enhancing the Earth Community, humans have developed tendencies to abuse and overuse the Earth resources. These sins are to be recognized as contrary to God’s will to create and re-create, to sustain and to enhance, to energize and to bring to fruition and flower.
The Gospel for this week points to the promise of the coming of the Spirit of truth. Jesus says to his disciples that there is another Person of the Trinity who is to come, who will guide us to all truth, glorifying the Word, the Wisdom of God. Jesus assured his disciples that “everything that the Father (Creator) has is mine and for this reason I told you that he will take from what is mine and declare it to you (John 16:15).”
The three Persons of the Holy Trinity work in mutuality and equality, calling us onward to the future. As we have been made in the likeness of God, these readings call us to look closely at our mission, which is patterned after the mission of Jesus. We are invited to be at peace with our God and are given access by faith to the grace in which we stand and we boast in the glory of God.
We accomplish this mission with the guidance of the Holy Spirit. The model of the Trinity is what we are called to emulate. The Holy Trinity is a relationship of communion; likewise, we are called to mirror equality and mutuality in our families, communities, and other groupings.
In our world today, let us strengthen our Christ-centered faith by caring for Creation. In Laudato Si’, Pope Francis reminds us that “living our vocation to be protectors of God’s handiwork is essential to a life of virtue; it is not an optional or a secondary aspect of our Christian experience” (217).
Let me end with a song that comes to mind as I reflect on the Trinity:
With all the Earth we sing your praise; we come to give your thanks, O Lover of us All and Giver of our loving; With Sun and Moon, we dance for joy, We are your work of art, the glory of your hand, the children of your Loving. (Refrain from ‘Lover of us All’ by Dan Schutte)
Today is also the Independence Day of my country, the Philippines. I invite you to pray for communion and unity in the Philippines, to pray to the Holy Spirit to guide us to the truth and healing after the recent national elections, that being gifted with Catholic faith, we may heed the invitation to hold on to facts that lead to truth which in turn leads to trust. May our endurance produce character, and character, hope.
Featured image: A green palm tree reminds viewers of the beauty of nature. Maryknoll Sister Teresa Dagdag connects divinity with creation in this reflection on the Mass readings for Trinity Sunday. (Kurt Liwanag, Unsplash/Philippines)