We have framed the teaching on the Trinity as a belief rather than as an experience. We see different facets of the mystery of the Trinity in Jesus’ life. These are 3 ways in which he talks about his own experience of the divine-human relationship:
- ‘The Father is greater than I’ (John 14:28) – an experience of ‘beyondness’;
- ‘I am in the Father and the Father is in me.’ (John 14:11) – an experience of intimacy;
- ‘ I and the Father are one.’ (John 10:30) – an experience of oneness, of being inseparable, of total union.
These three facets of the Trinitarian experience and the divine-human relationship are open to all of us. If we only allow the ‘beyondness’ relationship our religion can become fear-based, hierarchical, legalistic and paternalistic. Our sacramental traditions and our time spent in reflection and prayer provide the experience of intimacy. But we are uneasy about the experience of oneness. We say, “Only Jesus gets to say that.” ‘We refuse to realise it. We remain blind and deaf to it because we are too busy, which generally means we are too frightened to go deep within ourselves and find God there. All evil springs from my refusal to discover who and what I truly am, from my failure to realise that I and the Father are one.’
All of these facets are not only open to all of us but we need all of them. Any spirituality without all 3 of these experiences becomes imbalanced. This isn’t a ladder. This is a circle and we dance through all of these experiences throughout the course of our lives and we even pass through all three in one period of prayer. We have those moments in life when we need nothing more than to call out to the God who is greater than us; we have those moments when we need nothing more than intimacy and the experience of belovedness; we have those moments in deep silence when nothing is desired but total union….until the dance begins again. A balanced spirituality exercises each facet of this relationship. Which of these facets have we most cultivated and which are most under-cultivated?
Gospel John 16:12-15
Jesus said to his disciples: “I have much more to tell you, but you cannot bear it now.
But when he comes, the Spirit of truth, he will guide you to all truth.
He will not speak on his own, but he will speak what he hears, and will declare to you the things that are coming.
He will glorify me, because he will take from what is mine and declare it to you.
Everything that the Father has is mine; for this reason I told you that he will take from what is mine and declare it to you.”