The Compass: Official Newspaper of the Catholic Diocese of Green Bay
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June 8, 2001 Issue
Bishop Morneau's Column
"Reflection on the Readings"

Bishop Robert Morneau
Bishop Robert Morneau

Faith leads us into the mystery of God

Take a deep look within where God has taken up residence in our souls

June 10, Feast of the Holy Trinity

By Bishop Robert Morneau

Questions for reflection:

1. Who instructs you in the ways of God?

2. Whom do you instruct regarding the Trinity?

3. Would you invite Moses, St. Paul or Nicodemus to lunch?

Many teachers are sent our way. During the past month of May I learned about generosity from a confirmation student at St. John the Baptist Parish (Howard) who gives 10% to the Church; I learned about humility standing at the foothills of the Rocky Mountains in Montana; I learned about the nature of service as I watched four individuals from our diocese who were honored for their commitment to others at the Gaudium et Spes banquet.

On this feast of the Holy Trinity, God sends us three instructors to enlighten us regarding the nature of the Deity. Those teachers are Moses, St. Paul and Nicodemus.

Moses experienced five attributes of our trinitarian God: mercy, graciousness, patience, kindness and fidelity. A God lacking one or another of these qualities is not the God of Scripture. Since we are made to the image and likeness of God, our calling is to radiate and reveal God's mercy in the face of sin; to be gracious even when rejected or betrayed; to be patient and not to let anger poison our heart; to be kind in a world of cruelty and violence; to be faithful in all our relationships. Failure to image God can cause widespread atheism.

St. Paul experienced the Trinity. His very life gave evidence of God as creator; his conversion resulted from the same Lord crying out on the road to Damascus; and few people have spoken more eloquently than Paul regarding the fellowship with the Holy Spirit and the many signs indicating the Spirit's presence. Paul's spirituality was trinitarian through and through. Even greater than the explanations expressions was the life he lived, a life governed by a creative, redeeming, sanctifying God.

Nicodemus is our third instructor in the mystery of the Trinity. It's not that he is a primary teacher but we listen in on the tutorial he received from the Lord in the dead of night. And the lessons? "Yes, God so loved the world, that he gave his only Son . . ." Here is the doctrine of the Trinity in black and white - God the Giver, Jesus the Given, the Spirit of Love the Gift/ing (see Michael Downey's book on the Trinity, All Together Gift). The Trinitarian life is all about giving - giving life, love, light. And we are baptized and confirmed into that mystery.

Other teachers come our way to tell us about our God, one God in three persons: the sign of the cross, the Glory Be, the writing of great theologians like Karl Rahner and Yves Congar. And let us not fail to look deep within where God has taken up residence in our souls. There we have a one-room schoolhouse with private tutoring.

Only faith can give us entrance into the great mystery of God. Honesty demands that we confess our ignorance. Honesty calls us to be submitting to our partial knowledge. Yet for that God's love and fellowship sustains and supports us still.

(Bp. Morneau is the auxiliary bishop of the Green Bay Diocese.)

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