Jun. 8, 2016

Human family as the face of God

FAMILY AS IMAGE OF THE BLESSED TRINITY

 WHAT IS TRINITY?

Trinity is a doctrine which teaches that there are three Persons in one God- Father, Son and Holy Spirit. It is hard to understand and for that reason it is called mystery. Christ's mission was a mission of the Trinity. Right from the annunciation the angel said to Mary, "The Holy Spirit will come upon you, and the power of the Most High will cover you with its shadow" (Lk.1:35). At baptism, Jesus "saw the Spirit of God descending like a dove and coming down on him. And suddenly there was a voice from heaven, "This is my Son, the Beloved; my favor rests on him" (Matt.3:16-17). Jesus' baptism revealed the Trinity in a profound way.

The catechism of the Catholic Church teaches that the mystery of the Most Holy Trinity is the central mystery of Christian Faith and life. Hence, "It is the mystery of God himself. It is therefore the source of all other mysteries of faith, the light that enlightens them. It is the most fundamental essential teaching in the hierarchy of the truths of faith" (CCC 234). In 1215, the Fourth Lateran Council declared, "Each of the persons is that supreme reality, viz., the divine substance, essence or nature". In professing the Trinity, the church does not confess three Gods, but one God in three persons, the "consubstantial Trinity". The Catechism explains further, "The divine persons do not share the one divinity among themselves but each of them is God whole and entire: "The Father is that which the Son is, the Son is that which the Father is, the Father and the Son that which the Holy Spirit is, i.e., by nature one God" (CCC 253).

 Wisdom is a relationship in the Trinity which portrays creation as a divine action. The Spirit of God was present at creation and gave breath to all living creatures. Thus creation is God's glory because creation links humanity with divinity.

TRINITY AS SYMBOL OF LOVE

The greatest lesson from the Trinity is love. The Blessed Trinity depicts an inseparable bond of love. God the Father loves the Son and the Son loves the Father. The Spirit is the Product of the love between the Father and the Son. The Council of Nicea teaches, "I believe in one God, the Father Almighty, Maker of heaven and earth, of all things visible and invisible. And in one Lord Jesus Christ, the only-begotten Son of God, born of the Father before all ages; God from God, Light from Light, true God from true God; begotten, not made, one in substance with the Father, through him all things were made... I believe in the Holy Spirit, the Lord the giver of life, who proceeds from the Father and the Son, together with the Father and the Son is adored and glorified". In the scripture Christ says, "Remain in my love... Just as I have kept my Father's commandments and remain in his love" (John 15:9-10); "The Father and I are one" (Jn.10:30); "Anyone who has seen me has seen the Father" (Jn.14:9); "When the Paraclete comes whom I shall send you from the Father, the Spirit of truth who issues from the Father..." (Jn.15:26). The Trinity is therefore a symbol of love.

 HUMAN FAMILY IS THE IMAGE OF GOD'S LOVE

The creationist account reads, "Let us make man in our image and likeness" (Gen.1:26). The image of God is love (1Jn.4:8). We are initiated into the divine image at baptism, “In the name of the Father, and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit". We become adopted into God’s love.

 At marriage, the couple is united by the bond of love. At the exchange of consent, couples say to each other, "Take this ring as a sign of my love and fidelity; In the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit". They get themselves bonded into divine love. Marriage is a resemblance of the procreative nature of God's love, "Be fruitful, multiply, fill the earth". The marriage institution is a symbol of Christ's love for his church which gives rise to the human family.

 According to Robert Cardinal Sarah, "The generous and responsible love of spouses, made visible through the self-giving of parents, who welcome and nurture children as a gift of God, makes love visible in our generation. It makes present the perfect charity of the Trinity. “If you see charity, you see the Trinity,” wrote Saint Augustine" (National Catholic Prayer Breakfast in Washington DC on Tuesday, May 17th, 2016). The divine image is thus made visible in an authentic love for children who are products of married life between a man and a woman. Thus, "male and female he created them.

 God is a communion of persons – Father, Son and Holy Spirit, three different Persons, yet one. Marriage is also a communion of persons united by God’s love. In the family, God has built a Trinitarian structure into our very nature. The Triune God dwells within each of us and imbues our whole being: God’s own image and likeness".

 I use my family as an example of the Trinitarian image that the family replicates. My dad is the constant force that initiates love and strength in the home. My mom is the fountain of my dad’s love flowing to us. We the children give life and vigor to their love. In that sense, I can propose a family creed that runs this way, "I believe in my dad, the pillar of my family. I believe in my mom, the heartbeat of my family. I believe in my brothers and sisters who proceed from my dad and my mom, who together with my dad and my mom are recognized and respected as one and a happy home". This is the image of God's love on earth, a love that gives life. Seen in this divine perspective, it calls for promotion of family life. It calls for continuous appreciation of the family since it is a reflection of love of God the Father, Son and Holy Spirit.