The Compass: Official Newspaper of the Catholic Diocese of Green Bay
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June 8, 2001 Issue

Model for life

The Trinity, while a mystery, still gives us lots of clues on how to live our daily lives

By Tony Staley
Compass Editor

This weekend we celebrate the Holy Trinity - a feast that models how we are to live as Christians.

Over the centuries, theologians have spent a good deal of effort trying to explain the mystery of the Trinity. In the end, how our one God can be formed of three distinct persons remains a mystery we'll never comprehend.

The problem with considering the Trinity from that perspective is it tempts us into dismissing the Trinity as something far removed from daily life.

Rather than look at the Trinity that way, we need to view the Trinity as the model for Christian living. Whether we're priest, religious, single or married, the Trinity shows us how we're to live in the world.

To start with, the Trinity is the model of community - three distinct persons interacting, knowing each other, loving each other. Thus, we do the same. For example, a married couple has several models of trinitarian living. There's husband, wife and God; husband, wife and children; husband, wife and the larger community beyond their family; each individual spouse, children and God; each individual spouse, the larger community and God.

Unmarried people, be they priests, religious or single, have a similar trinitarian arrangement: that individual person, God and another person or community of persons be they members of our family, our associates at work, or other communities to which we belong, large or small, local or global.

Trinity provides the model and reminds us that as Christians we are baptized in the name of the Trinity into a community of other believers. We, therefore, need to be in relationship with them as we are when we are united in our celebration of the Mass or when we become involved in a parish project or a missionary or relief effort.

Our relationships also need to stretch us. As Jesus reminded us through his constant actions, we are to go beyond our own circle of like-minded people to embrace and even to break bread with today's figurative counterparts of the Samaritans, the tax collectors, the unclean, the strangers, the imprisoned.

As we build these relationships, these communities, God always needs to play a part. First, we need to make God a part of all we do by invoking God's name on behalf of our efforts. Second, as Jesus told us, whatever we do for our least brothers and sisters we are doing to him (Mt 25:40).

This weekend, as we celebrate the Trinity, keep in mind that the Trinity isn't just some incomprehensible concept, it's a model for Christian living.

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