Solemnity of the Most Holy Trinity – Cycle A
We were sitting out on the porch with our adorable nieces and nephew when I finally understood the theology of the Trinity. The three older kids (9, 7 and 5) had set up their special picnic bench, a few feet away from the grown-ups and right next to the swing set so they could jump up and play while eating their hot dogs.
Their baby sister Lauren, up until this moment eating her dinner propped up on a chair next to her dad and mom, suddenly climbed down from her chair, toddled over to the kids’ bench and sat down. Her delighted sisters and brother moved over to make room for her.
In that huge developmental step she demonstrated that she knew who she was. She was a member of a family. She had a loving mom and dad and lots of other adoring family members. She had a brother and two sisters. She was a child, and her place was at the child’s table. She could leave the safety of mom and dad and place herself right there on the bench with her siblings. And somebody pass the potato chips.
That’s when I got it. Our hearts are restless until they rest in God, and God isn’t solitary. God exists in a relationship of Three. We are made to find our place in the world, always in relationship with others. We leave that place of infant unconsciousness and firmly place ourselves at the table, where we belong to others and they belong to us.
And of course none of those relationships happen without fathers. Thanks, dad.
In what ways did your father help you find your place in the world?
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I have come to light a fire on the earth; how I wish it were already burning (Lk.12:49).
My biological father was a very weak man. He gave all his power to the women who were willing to cook, clean and do his laundry — literally. As long as they did those things, he would never think of standing up to them (he had two wives who were unrelated but so alike that they could have been identical twins in personality).
I think he taught me strength by being weak, but my real strength came from my maternal grandmother. People always thought my mother was strong, but they were confusing strength with meanness.
God the Father, on the other hand, has taught me so much about compassion and strength in weakness. As St. Paul writes, we are made strong in our weakness, which means that, through God’s incredible gifts, we don’t allow anything to get us down. By the grace of God the Father, the inspiration of God the Holy Spirit and the love of God the Son, we can become examples of strength in weakness. Praise the Holy Trinity for the graces that come from all of them!
My dad was a gentle man who had a heart of gold. He was quiet and reflective with a deep love for his family. He worked hard providing for us. While he lived, I knew he loved me and I believe he continues to shower me with that love from heaven. My dad taught me how to live and then, in the end, he taught me how to die. There were only five months from the diagnosis of esophageal cancer to his last days. My brother and I stood by his bedside the night he passed away, simply taking a final breath. It was so beautiful and peaceful that I knew and continue to know that I am not afraid to die. Death is just one breath away from falling into the arms of our loving Father.
Bobbie, that is just beautiful!
I was privileged to be a hospice caregiver for my former pastor and friend who died in 2004 from esophageal cancer. He struggled for a year and a half, but once his oncologist told him that there was nothing more to be done, Father turned it all over to God. He almost to the exact minute a week after the doctor told him to call hospice. It was like your dad — simply an exhale without another inhale. I was so honored to be there for that grace-filled moment.
That should read, “He died almost to the exact minute . . .”
One of the most important things my father taught me was about respect: Respect for other people, for myself, for this earth.
He was a WWII vet who taught men to pray in war, some who had never prayed before.
He died in 2007.
Thank you Jesus for giving me this earthly father!
I love you and miss you Dad!
My Dad survived the Death March of Capaz and Bataan and the concentration camp. Had he not, I would not be around. I owe him my life. My Mom also made sure I would survive that pregnancy when I was in her womb. Two WWII strong characters.