When I was growing up, I remember someone praying this unusual grace before meals somewhere along the way: “Blessed Father, Son, and Holy Ghost, whoever eats the quickest gets the most.” While not the most pious offering, I was thinking of these words the other day and how, to a certain extent, they are true in the spiritual life. As one of my favorite passages in the book of Sirach explains:
“For the memory of me is sweeter than honey,
and the possession of me sweeter than the honeycomb.
Those who eat of me will hunger for more,
and those who drink of me will thirst for more.” (24:20-21)
In the words of Saint John of the Cross, “If a person is seeking God, his Beloved is seeking him much more” (The Ascent of Mount Carmel). We have only to open our hearts and mouths, as it were, to be filled with God’s Presence. The Holy Trinity is truly an ineffable mystery, however, we are blessed to encounter God in various relational ways.
In many of life’s moments, I’ve found it helpful to offer novenas for others or myself. Novenas (nine days of prayer) are powerful ways to open our hearts to God’s grace. Whether asking for discernment of God’s will or healing for others or myself, or simply to grow closer to the Eternal Father and develop a greater love for Jesus His Son, these special times of prayer are always a time of great blessing. Just as the apostles and Our Lady prayed together following Jesus’ Ascension until Pentecost, we are invited to plead for a coming of the Holy Spirit upon our lives, the Church, and the world. As the United States prepares to launch a Eucharistic revival on the Feast of Corpus Christi, we can join other Catholics in the novena to prepare for this great Solemnity of the Most Holy Body and Blood of Christ.
We are not meant to live on an island but in communion with each other. In the Holy Eucharist, the Blessed Trinity reveals to us our identity as well. In her song “Listen to Him,” Danielle Rose sings “In Your presence Jesus I see who I truly am.” There is a powerful movie that came out a few years ago called “Overcomer,” about a teenager with asthma who is passionate about running. Hannah, who comes from a broken home and experiences seemingly insurmountable obstacles, comes to the realization of God the Father’s love for her and who she is as a child of God. When someone asks her who she is, filled with the Holy Spirit she says: “I am created by God. He designed me. So, I’m not a mistake. His Son died for me, just so I could be forgiven. He picked me to be His own, so I’m chosen. He redeemed me, so I am wanted. He showed me grace, just so I could be saved. He has a future for me because He loves me. So, I don’t wonder anymore . . . I am a child of God.”
In his recently reprinted classic You Are Called to Greatness, Fr. Leo Trese shares how we are invited to “get to know” the Holy Trinity and experience God’s love.
“When God looks at Himself, what does He find? He finds an infinitely good, infinitely perfect, infinitely lovable image of Himself. God’s living image, the Son, looks back at the Father (we speak in human terms) and sees the infinite lovableness of the Source from which He springs. Between the two—the Father (God knowing Himself) and the Son (God’s knowledge of Himself)—there flows a mutual love. It is a love of infinite intensity, and infinitely perfect love and therefore a living love.
“This perfect, living love is the Holy Spirit. It is as simple as that. The Holy Spirit is love. He is God’s love—a living, conscious and eternal love.”
By reflecting on writings about the Holy Trinity we are invited to enter more deeply into the mystery of God’s generous gift of self to us.
St. Catherine of Siena’s book The Dialogue is comprised of God the Father’s messages to her. In it she writes this prayer about the Holy Eucharist in connection with our longing for God:
“Eternal God, Eternal Trinity, You have made the Blood of Christ so precious through His sharing in your Divine Nature. You are a mystery as deep as the sea; the more I search, the more I find, and the more I find the more I search for You. But I can never be satisfied; what I receive will ever leave me desiring more. When You fill my soul I have an ever-greater hunger, and I grow more famished for Your Light. I desire above all to see You, the true Light, as you really are.”
Did you know that the Holy Trinity is present in the Blessed Sacrament for you? Just as we profess in the Nicene Creed that Jesus is “consubstantial” with the Father, we are invited to meditate upon this mystery in the Holy Eucharist. If we struggle with our belief, we can pray like the man who went to Jesus to beg for the healing of his son: “I believe; help my unbelief!” (Mark 9:24)
“The Eucharistic gift assumes even more awesome proportions when we reflect that the Son of God present herein is ever united, intimately and indivisibly, with his co-Persons in the Trinity—his Eternal Father and their mutual Spirit of Love; which means that they, too, are mysteriously yet really with him, and consequently with us no less. In effect, then, the total Eucharistic mystery includes the presence of both the Father and the Holy Spirit as an inseparable concomitant . . . . The Blessed Sacrament embraces the Trinitarian mystery” (Fr. Richard Foley, S.J., Mary and The Eucharist, 83).
Once we know that God is truly present in the Blessed Sacrament, we want to share this amazing news with others. Pray for a renewed devotion to the Holy Eucharist at Mass and in Adoration. If your parish does not have Adoration, ask your pastor for this great gift and invite parishioners to help you organize it and signup to spend time with Jesus. Below is a prayer affirming the Real Presence of Jesus and asking the Holy Trinity for the spread of Perpetual Eucharistic Adoration around the globe:
Heavenly Father, increase our faith in the Real Presence of Your Son, Jesus Christ in the Holy Eucharist. We are obliged to adore Him, to give Him thanks and to make reparation for sins. We need Your peace in our hearts and among nations. We need conversion from our sins and the mercy of Your forgiveness. May we obtain this through prayer and our union with the Eucharistic Lord. Please send down the Holy Spirit upon all peoples to give them the love, courage, strength and willingness to respond to the invitation to Perpetual Eucharistic Adoration. We beseech You to spread perpetual exposition of the Most Blessed Sacrament in parishes around the world. We ask this in the name of Jesus the Lord. Amen.
Image: GHENT, BELGIUM – DECEMBER 23, 2016: Stained Glass window depicting the Eucharist and the Holy Grail in the Cathedral of Saint Bavo in Ghent, Flanders, Belgium. Shutterstock/jorisvo