Love poured out for us
A reflection for the Solemnity of the Most Holy Trinity, Year A
by Julian Paparella
“God is love.” These are the words of the Apostle John in his letter to the earliest Christian communities. In some way, this simple phrase summarizes the whole message of Christianity. The Gospel is the story of God who is love taking human flesh to love us back to Himself. Faith is our recognition of His love for us. Life is the adventure of letting Him love us and loving Him back.
Saint Augustine described the Trinity as the three-fold love of God. God the Father is the Lover, who loves the Son eternally. God the Son is the Beloved, who totally receives the Father’s love and loves Him back perfectly, with His whole being. The Holy Spirit is this love that is shared between the Father and the Son for all eternity, the bond that unites them.
The Father sends the Son to earth so that we can enter into this eternal relationship of love. The Son returns to the Father after dying and rising to give us life. From heaven, He sends us the Holy Spirit, to pour God’s love into our hearts and make us sons and daughters like Him. God becomes human so that we can share His eternal life of love.
The powerful force of God’s love is the source of everything. It is the reason why something exists in the universe rather than nothing. It is the spark that brings every creature into existence, from the smallest ant to the greatest elephant. The love of God is the deep meaning of our life as human beings. God’s love is the fulfillment of our deepest desires and the dynamism that moves us towards the goal of our existence.
How can we participate in God’s loving plan for the cosmos? How can we receive His love for us and share it with those around us? How can we allow His love to transform us and lead us to eternity with Him? These are the fundamental questions that show us what it means to be Christian. Even more than that, they are the fundamental questions of what it means to be truly human.
We can see signs of God’s love all around us. In the love of our family and friends. In the beauty of nature. In the little joys and gentle peace that we receive along the journey of life. In moments of quiet prayer. In times of deep gratitude.
But God’s love is not only there when times are good. Like a spouse, God is there and loves us totally in good times and in bad. Indeed, it is in the darkest moments that we most see our need for the warm light of His love.
God experienced this personally when He became a human being and gave Himself out of love for us. Jesus knew what it meant to experience the ups and downs of life in this world. This is especially important for us to remember in the trying and difficult seasons of life, like the present COVID-19 crisis. God’s love that created everything good never abandons us, even when times are tough. In fact, I think we can safely say that He is most of all with us when times are tough. Not because He likes things being tough, not because He is the reason for the struggles we experience, but because He wants to bring us through them to the unimaginable and eternal goodness that He has prepared for all of us.
God’s love is the source of all life. His love is like a supercharged battery whose energy has no beginning and no end. He gives us His love so that we can share in His life forever, so that we can experience the eternal love between the Father and the Son that is the Holy Spirit.
The question for us today is: How do we let more of God’s love into our lives? How can you and I allow God’s love to fill us so that His love can shine through us to others? How can we be more aware of His love for us and respond with an increasingly grateful heart?
When we let God’s love into our lives, we become more alive. When we share His love with others, we share His life with them. Let us be sharers of God’s love with one another and with the world. May He help us to let Him love us more and more.
The readings for the Solemnity of the Most Holy Trinity, Year A, are
Exodus 34:4b-6, 8-9
2 Corinthians 13:11-13
Julian Paparella has contributed to Salt + Light Media since 2012. He served as an intern for many summers and currently studies theology at the Institut Catholique de Paris.