Charles Lewis: Love among the pews has touch of Trinity

  • December 4, 2019

The two young people sitting in front of me were deeply in love. They stared into each other’s eyes as if they were the only two people in the world — which, come to think of it, is the very definition of being deeply in love. They did not speak at all. Just with their eyes. I watched them for a full hour.

But I am not a voyeur. I had no choice. They sat in the pew in front of me at a Mass at St. Michael’s Cathedral and they were directly in my line of sight to the altar.

If I were a cranky old man I might have said, sotto voce, “Look ahead you two.” 

But I am not cranky most of the time though I am getting old. Seeing people in love makes me hopeful. God forbid it should ever make me angry.

The love between them was like a physical force that radiated out to the surrounding pews. Their love seemed to have a colour, but that could have been from sunbeams pouring through the stained glass windows. But if I had to name it I would say the colour was gold.

For all I know the Holy Spirit at that moment was flowing through them, which made the love between them so intense. 

Let me take a step back before I return to the couple in the pews.

The night before I had been listening to a podcast by a Dominican priest about the nature of the Trinity. He was trying to help his listeners attempt to get a mental image of the three persons of God.

The Trinity is the greatest mystery of our faith and the lecturer noted that it is not possible to fully comprehend what it means for God to be triune. 

What makes it difficult is we say there are three persons but we also say God is one. Who has not asked how we could know for certain the existence of Father, Son and Holy Spirit? 

He spoke about how two of the greatest Catholic theologians in our faith’s history, St. Augustine and St. Thomas Aquinas, probed the mystery in order to gain some small understanding of God. And that says something that even two of the giants of Christian theology could just barely penetrate the inner life of God.

So this was his explanation:

God the Father in contemplating His own existence and essence gets a perfect reflection of Himself. That image is the Word. And as we have read in John many times “the word became flesh.” The Word became the Son the second person in the Trinity.

The love between the Father and Son is so powerful, beyond anything that could be comprehended, that the Holy Spirit arises as the manifestation of that love. Of course it is more complicated than that. But for me it is enough.

It also explains why we say God is love and because we are made in His image we are made for love. We are now embraced by the Trinity and in Heaven we will live in it — at least that is what I believe.

So what of the couple in front of me on that Sunday a few weeks ago? 

To me, the Holy Spirit was radiating them because they were deeply in love. The Trinity is a relationship of persons and so we are made to be in a relationship of love with others. 

When we are in love we are in a sense more His image than at any other time.

So whether they knew it or not that lovely young couple in front of me were acting out the love that swirls through the Trinity. 

What could be more lovely or holy than that?

(Lewis is a Toronto writer and regular contributor to The Register.)

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