I believe that there are three completely different ways of thinking about the Trinity.
First, the notion that we are monotheistic, that we have but one God, yet also at the same time that there are three different versions, iterations, manifestations of that one God is, to me, kind of odd. And complicated. We are told from a young age that it’s a mystery. So, like any mystery, the first way of considering the Trinity is to see it as a mystery for us to solve, as a door to be unlocked. How? Perhaps by relying on the great theological thinkers who have pondered this very question for centuries. For me, I’ve always figured that at some point, I would get it, I would arrive.
The problem with this first way is that we can get discouraged if we never quite find the right key to the lock.
The second way is to essentially accept that it’s a divine mystery and something that our tiny human brains can never fully understand, never truly grasp, so hey… whatever. This is the zen approach and it can be quite comforting to realize that we don’t have to actually ever figure it out.
The problem with this second way is that we can become complacent when we stop trying to reach towards and grasp the great mystery.
The third way, for me, was initially triggered one evening some time ago while praying the liturgy of the hours and when I read that Jesus once said to his disciples the following: “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.” That very line is, of course, from today’s Gospel.
The first time I heard this, or perhaps I should say, the first time I really heard it, and pondered it, I was struck by the notion that Jesus had more to say, more to teach them, and more to reveal… but decided against it because the disciples were just not ready for it. They were not ready.
Wait, not ready? How could they possibly not be ready? They were with Jesus nearly constantly. He taught them, ate with them, traveled with them, debated them, laughed with them, struggled with them. They learned directly from him. They witnessed his miracles. They experienced probably much, much more than was even recorded in scripture… yet, they were still not ready for more.
If they were not ready, if they could not fully unlock the door, truly solve the puzzle, and arrive… how then could I possibly ever arrive?
Jesus sent them off to experience life, and all of its ups and downs, ever accompanied by a Spirit of Truth, to become more ready.
To become more ready.
Well, I can say with a lot of confidence and much vigor that I myself would like very much to become more ready!
So, I wonder… what must I do? I’ve been contemplating this for some time and I would like to share with you what I’m just now beginning to see.
Whenever I give to others, not from my surplus, but in a way that I can feel more deeply and personally… I think I am a little more ready.
Whenever I walk alongside someone who is suffering and even though I might not know how to ease their pain but decide to just simply stay nearby to them as best I can… I think I feel a little more ready.
Whenever I find myself in the lowest part of a valley in life and pair myself and what I am feeling directly to Jesus’ own suffering… I think I feel a little more ready.
Whenever I squelch my own tendency to rush to solution-making and actively listen to someone instead… I think I feel a little more ready.
Whenever I try to move closer to and not judge someone who I don’t understand or who I don’t much care for or who holds a belief so polar opposite to my own… I think I feel a little more ready.
Whenever I successfully avoid getting pulled into the distraction of to do lists and deadlines and instead make some quite time and space and dare to ask divinity to enter into that space… I think I feel a little more ready.
Whenever I try do something actually worthwhile without any recognition or fanfare… I think I feel a little more ready.
Whenever I add my voice to a chorus of prayer for problems bigger than my own instead of approaching the Savior of the Universe with my personal list of demands and requests… I think I feel a little more ready.
And whenever I am honest and admit just how unready I actually still am after all this time… I hope I might actually become just a little more ready.
God gave us the gift of his Son. And then that Son gave us the gift of his Spirit of Truth. Perhaps we should approach that Spirit in the third way, with humility, not seeking answers, solutions, or keys to any locks… but rather asking that we may become better prepared for all that we, much like Jesus’ own dear disciples, clearly are not quite ready for just yet.
And then maybe, through the grace and mercy of a Father, a Son, and a Holy Spirit… we may someday be deemed ready enough.
Ready enough… to be with him in eternity.