In his very short story, “Santisima Trinidad,” from his 2011 collection, “100 Kislap” [100 Flashes], Abdon Balde Jr narrates:
“I told Cora, my daughter, to look after her son, my grandson Jeco, the stubborn Jeco, to look after his needs. Negligent too, busy with Facebook. So there...
“The naughty Jeco, just three years old, asked for a Stik-O snack from his grandma. And this Trinidad of mine could not refuse the grandson, even with rheumatism & after an operation in which some metal was inserted in her hipbone, she tried to reach for the cabinet, and unable, pulled a chair, climbed up & stood on the chair with a broken leg (sigh)...
“Both Cora & I heard the thud on the floor. I thought it was some heavy sack!
“When Jerry arrived, he, Cora & Jeco are still a whole family—-bound to us. But I...
“Cora can fix the bed, the pillow, but when it is hot, will she be patient enough to keep on fanning me? Who will button me when I am unbuttoned? Clean my dentures? And in the toilet, Santisima!
“Sometimes I tell myself I wish it had been me.” [My translation from the original Filipino]
The Holy Trinity is first a story before it is a dogmatic teaching, doctrine or formula. The doctrinal expression, “Most Holy Trinity,” carries the spark of a story. True believers in the story will appreciate these questions: Do we still know life without the Most Holy Trinity?
Is the Spirit of the beloved Son our “welcome coolness in the heat”? In other words of the Sequence for Pentecost Sunday, have we known the Spirit to “shed a ray of light divine...heal our wounds, our strength renew...wash the stains of guilt away”?
As a story, the Trinity can be summarized thus: God so loved the world that he sent the beloved Son, who has saved the world by sharing for ever the Spirit of authentic love he received from the Father of mercy.
The Triune formula “in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit” is a symbolic summary of the experience of the community of believers as regards the Spirit of the Son loved by the Father within every believer, among believers & beyond them.
The Trinity is a great story, but is it true? Why are there many believers from generation to generation even though they have never touched the glorified body of Jesus?
The Trinity is a mysterious story of presencing & absencing: the movement & prevalence of inner radiance even in the absence of bodies. The loving Father is the origin of everybody & everything, but has neither origin nor body. The beloved Son originates from the Father, whose Spirit of love is poured first on the Son, whose glorified body is nowhere on earth. The Holy Spirit originates from the Father, is bodiless, and binds the Father and the Son inseparably.
Why are there true believers in this story?
First, because they have felt the spark and movement of the Spirit of the beloved Son within them. Second, they have tasted the fruit of the Spirit (and have known the joy of sowing seeds for future fruits).
“The fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness & self-control” (Galatians 5:22).
The fruit of the Spirit of the Father and the Son offer seeds or sparks of the Trinity in the day-to-day lives of believers. “The Christian life of full of Trinity” (Origen, 3rd c). Are there enough believers who discover the many sparks of the Trinity in their lives?
“To those who seek, enough signs are given” (Blaise Pascal, 17th c). The believer who seeks the Spirit of love of the Father and the Son will find its presence and the traces of its movement in one’s life. “If you then, though you are evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your Father in heaven give the Holy Spirit to those who ask him!” (Luke 11:13).
In continual prayer for the gift of the Spirit & in the practice of sowing seeds of love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness & self-control, believers will discover many sparks of the Trinity in their day-to-day lives so much so that they will find their fulfilment & liberation in communion with the Trinity.
Without rays of Trinitarian light, human life will sink into the "graves of craving" (compare Numbers 11:31-34). “Self-gratification, self-indulgence, self-satisfaction & the abandonment of ourselves to our cravings...is ultimately the way to death of the spirit” (John Navone, SJ).
We have a choice between the closed story of the graves of craving and the open (expansive) story of the empty tomb of Christ. “The Jesus story tells us that our own story finds its source, its direction & its fulfilment in sharing the life of the Blessed Trinity” (Navone).
For believers who discover sparks of the Trinity in the ordinary and historic events in their lives, the story of the Trinity becomes their life-story that continues to expand toward the whole wide world and will never end.
(Your comments, dear readers, are most welcome.)