Solemnity of the Most Holy Trinity


Today we celebrate the Solemnity of the Most Holy Trinity.  This feast invites us to consider what we believe about God, who has revealed himself to us in the Trinity—one God in three persons.  I remember when I first learned about the Trinity, my teacher used the image of the shamrock to explain it to our class.  It is said Saint Patrick used the three leaved Shamrock to explain the concept of the Holy Trinity, (the Father, Son and Holy Spirit), to the pagan Irish during the 5th Century.  Years later I used the same image to teach my students the same concept.  Somehow it seemed so much easier using the shamrock to teach the doctrine of the Trinity.

One of my favorite icons is that of Rublev.  This icon takes as its subject the mysterious story where Abraham receives three visitors as he camps by the oak of Mamre. He serves them a meal. As the conversation progresses, he seems to be talking straight to God, as if these ‘angels’ were in some way a metaphor for the three persons of the Trinity. In Rublev’s representation of the scene, the three gold-winged figures are seated around a white table on which a golden, chalice-like bowl contains a roasted lamb.  In the background of the picture, a house can be seen at the top left and a tree in the center. Less distinctly, a rocky hill lies in the upper right corner. The composition is a great circle around the table, focusing the attention on the chalice bowl at the center, which reminds the viewer inescapably of an altar at Communion.

Let us take some time today to reflect on how we first learned about the Trinity.  Whether it was using a shamrock, a song, or even an icon let us embrace the Trinity and remember that we are invited to celebrate and believe.