Pastoral Sharings: Trinity Sunday



Fr. Michael Phillippino
May 26, 2013
Solemnity of the Most Holy Trinity
I have a picture of Jesus laughing hanging in my office. It reminds me that I should not get too serious and to make sure that I have time for play. We can tend to get too serious about what we do as if everything depended on us. Jesus calls us into his joy and his delight in the Father.

As we celebrate the feast of the most Holy Trinity we will read from Proverbs 8:22-31. The last verse should make us stop and think about the importance of joy, delight, and play in our lives and in the liturgy. The last verse informs us: “…I was his delight day by day, playing before Him all the while, playing on the surface of His earth and I found delight in the human race” (Proverbs 8:30-31).

This is a description of Jesus, the eternal wisdom of the Father pouring himself out before the Father and the Father delighting in His Son, and both delighting in us!Do we not delight in our children when they are playing? Do they not delight in us when we play with them? How important that is for them and for us. And, as it turns out, this is an image of the inner life of the Trinity.

In his Spirit of the Liturgy, Fr. Romano Guardini wrote in his chapter on the playfulness of the Liturgy: “When the liturgy is rightly regarded, it cannot be said to have a purpose, because it does not exist for the sake of humanity, but for the sake of God. In the Liturgy man is no longer concerned with himself; his gaze is directed towards God. In it man is not so much intended to edify himself as to contemplate God’s majesty. The Liturgy means that the soul exists in God’s presence, originates in Him, lives in a world of diverse realities, truths, mysteries and symbols, and really lives its true characteristics and fruitful life” (Romani Guardini, The Spirit of the Liturgy).

As we celebrate the Feast of the Most Holy Trinity and try to contemplate that which we cannot possibly understand, let us reflect upon the delight a child has at play and perhaps we might get a glimpse of the delight the Father has in the Son and that the Son has in pouring out His eternal essence, playing before the Father without any purpose but for sheer delight and love.

It is this delight and love that the Holy Spirit which is “poured out into our hearts” if we have the faith to believe it and thus “gain access to that grace” (Romans 5:5, 2).

Digest of Articles from Catholic Blogs and Websites
May 26, 2013

The Solemnity of The Most Holy Trinity:
The Mystery of God’s Love
This Sunday we celebrate the Solemnity of the Trinity.  Rather than give a theological explanation of the dogma, the belief of faith that we and all Christians, Catholic and non-Catholic, hold regarding the Trinity, I want to focus in on what the Trinity means to us as Church and as individuals.

Trinity Sunday
John 16:12-15

Gospel Summary

In this passage from the Last Supper Discourse, Jesus tells his disciples that when the Spirit of Truth comes he will guide them in all truth. He then reveals the true nature of God as a communion of love. Everything the Father has he gives to the Son. Everything the Son has he gives to the Spirit. Everything the Spirit receives he gives to us. Thus the supreme mystery of the gospel: we human beings are offered the gift of living in the communion of eternal truth and love with the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit.

Trinity Sunday – Is the Trinity Relevant?
Trinity Sunday celebrates the dogma of the Most Holy Trinity . . .  that God is Trinity, one God in three persons.  This doctrine has baffled people for 2,000 years.  Given that it is so hard to accept, why bother with it?  What difference does the dogma really make to how we live our Christian lives?

The Holy Spirit – The Church’s Towering Lighthouse
In the remarkable visions of Saint Hildegard of Bingen ecclesial and sacramental truths are proposed through a vast array of rich images to draw us into new horizons of mystical wisdom.   In her vision of the Sacrament of Confirmation, she describes the Holy Spirit as a kind of brilliant lighthouse towering behind the Church.  This vision does not shy away from the mission of the Redeemer or the Church through which His saving work is extended.  If we will be saved, we must be reborn in Christ Jesus and in this new birth we must live by the light and strength of the Holy Spirit.  Saint Hildegard sees the delicate work of the Motherhood of the Church in this context.

Pope tells story of bishop who felt ‘unworthy’
Pope Francis told the story of a man who felt ashamed of being a bishop to say that people should not worry of being sinners but should concentrate on allowing Jesus to transform them.

“He was ashamed because he did not feel worthy, he had a spiritual torment and he went to the confessor,” Pope Francis said at his May 17 daily Mass.

“The confessor heard him and said, ‘but do not worry, if after the mess Peter made of things, they made him Pope, then you go ahead!’” he recalled.

‘The Lord has redeemed all of us … even the atheists’
One of the hallmarks of Pope Francis’ still-young pontificate is its emphasis on non-exclusivity. He seems convinced that the church, in what it says and does to promote the Gospel, must broaden its appeal and expand its dialogue with others.

At this morning’s morning Mass in the Vatican guest house, the pope elaborated on that theme, saying that “doing good” is a principle that provides a meeting ground between Christians and non-Christians – even atheists.

Holiness Now
The primary purpose of man on earth is to know God, love God, and serve God in this short life so as to be happy with him forever in heaven. This is a clear and unequivocal truth taught in the Baltimore Catechism.

St. Ignatius of Loyola in his Spiritual Exercises expresses the same truth but using slightly different words:   “Man is created to praise God, reverence God, serve God, and by means of that to save his soul. “

Francisco De Osuna’s Little Guide On The Dangers of Gossiping
A few days ago, Pope Francis gave a homily in which he warns folks against gossiping, and instead calls us to focus on following Jesus. It’s another of his wonderful string of homilies delivered in the chapel of the Casa Santa Marta where he resides. Perhaps one day, these gems will  be known as the Little Way of Pope Francis.

Did You Know St. Thomas Aquinas Preached A Sermon on Lying?
I’ve mentioned in past posts how I’ve grown to appreciate the genius of St. Thomas Aquinas. His razor sharp mind, coupled with a humility that is unparalleled, make for quite a package. Known as the Angelic Doctor for the sublimity of his thoughts, he’s also known as the Common Doctor for the fact that “he unified Scripture, the Fathers of the Church, and philosophy in a neat synthesis that scholars have studied ever since (source).

Catholicism – Ever Ancient Ever New
I have been very busy in my life as a parish priest the past week and not had time to blog very much. There has been nothing dramatic, but the usual mixture of celebrating the sacraments, administering a growing and busy parish and school, ministering and trying to find more time to spend with people. In addition, Mrs Longenecker has started her own business–which is taking off–so there are more family duties to share at home. The omnipresent mother-taxi driver is no longer omnipresent for instance.

Difficulties with Adam and Eve
One of the interesting things about conducing a parish mission is how many people stay behind to ask really probing questions. Last evening here in Indianapolis a man named Frank asked me if it was wrong not to believe certain things the church teaches. He’s a scientist and he said he simply can’t accept the story of Adam and Eve. He asked if it was true that the church expects us to believe in a historical Adam and Eve.

Psst, Episcopalians!  Over here!
You may remember The Most Rev. Katharine Jefferts Schori, presiding Bishop of the Episcopal Church.  When she took office in 2006, she was interviewed by the New York Times, and had the following exchange:

Q: How many members of the Episcopal Church are there in this country?

A: About 2.2 million. It used to be larger percentagewise, but Episcopalians tend to be better-educated and tend to reproduce at lower rates than some other denominations. Roman Catholics and Mormons both have theological reasons for producing lots of children.

Mary Is Venerated in the Bible!
Anyone who takes the truth of the Incarnation seriously must accept Mary as the Mother of God, a title which demands some degree of honor to the one bearing it. Thus, the ‘scandal’ of Marian veneration is really the ‘scandal’ of the Incarnation. Such truths are truly scandalous to a world that thinks so little of both God and man. But they shouldn’t be so anyone who believes in Christ.

Many evangelical Protestants, however, subscribe to a form of fundamentalism which holds that if something is not explicitly permitted in the Bible, it must be forbidden. Since we don’t see Christians venerating Mary in the New Testament, the argument goes, we shouldn’t either.

Except Mary is venerated in the Bible. At least twice.

Refusing to Suffer is Refusing to Live
After several years of rigorously defending and promoting the dignity and sanctity of all human life, it has been my observation that one of the supporting pillars of the culture of death (those kneejerk proponents of abortion, euthanasia, assisted suicide, cloning/ESCR) is a desire to avoid or alleviate human suffering at all cost. A woman with an unwanted pregnancy doesn’t want the “burden” of a child; sick people want cures for what ails them or they want to be put out of their misery altogether; what good is imperfection, anyway? We see suffering, more than evil, as the worst thing there is, so much so that we will commit evil acts in an attempt to avoid it, often under the pretext of mercy and compassion.

My Big Fat Unholy Wedding
Many people dream of the BIG WEDDING, the fairy tale ending with cake makers, dress designers, florists, jewelers, photographers and more for the low low price of a mortgage-like sum!!! But it might just be causing heartbreak, damaging society, and hurting people’s faith.

When my wife and I first were engaged, we planned to get married a full two years later so we could save money for our BIG WEDDING. She wanted the big fancy catering hall and I wanted to give it to her. I was working and she was just graduating from college so I wanted to provide that for her.

The Narrow Gate
I think we can all agree that today’s world is filled with a multitude of enticing distractions where everything is available to us in the form of megamalls, megaplexes, massive sports venues, super centers and endless cable TV channels that can easily occupy every moment of the day. The world is only as far away as our fingertips via the internet and social media has brought us to another level of communication that can occupy unhealthy amounts of our time. Materialism, secularism, humanism and relativism are ever present and vying for our attention and hopeful submission. The world offers a wide path for us filled with endless entertainment venues, indulgences of every kind, and abundant frivolity while ignoring God’s laws in favor of its own.

Apologetics Is Not a Telephone Game
There once was a minister who noticed that his little boy and the neighbor kids had decided to put together a funeral for a dead bird they had found. Being the Preacher’s Kid, the minister’s son was deputed to lead the services. Standing before the tiny grave, shoebox casket waiting to be laid into the ground, the minister’s son confidently intoned, “In the name of the Father, and of the Son, and in the hole he goes!”

Top 10 Catholic Cities, USA
Ready for some Catholic sightseeing?

Based on culture, history, physical landscape and spirituality, the following list of Top 10 U.S. Catholic Cities — listed in no particular order — highlights American hubs with a Catholic pulse. Each location, whether it be large or small, east or west, contributes to the richness of Catholic life in America.

Worth Watching: 9 Videos that Warm the Catholic Soul
Listers, we encourage you to share your faith by sharing these videos. The Catholic faith is a beautiful and rich religion and so many inside and outside of the Church are blind to its beauty. We’ve catalogued a multitude of video-lists, but this is our second collection of heart-warming Catholic goodness. The first list of this nature is entitled Proud To Be Catholic: 5 Videos That Stir The Soul.

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