The WORDS in Other Words by Fr Allan Meechan SVD (Philippines)
Trinity Sunday, Prv 8:22–31, Rom 5:1–5, Jn 16:12–15
My theology professor in the seminary in London was Fr. Bernard Brown, a former White Father missionary to Africa, then in his late eighties, who affected the caricature of a whimsical old English gentleman. He introduced his course with these words: ” We are going to look at the Trinity, our first and most important consideration in the doctrines of the Church. This might come as a surprise to some of you who might have been led to believe that the primary concern of the Church is money, but…”
Not long ago, I joined the SVD retreat in our seminary in Tagaytay. The rooms, newly relocated, were spotless clean and comfortable; the food was good and both the students and the retreatants were friendly and accepting. Our retreat community was a cross section of the Divine Word Missionaries in the Philippines, we were obviously glad to be together, and there was a very good spirit among us.
Fr Robert Kisala, our retreat giver explained to us what Pope Francis calls grateful remembrance, the recalling of our personal stories, our own experience of God‘s love and purpose in our lives, perhaps in particular how this came to us through others. This became clearer and more alive for us in our sharing with each other. From this he moved on to the unity and diversity of God, as seen by St. Arnold Janssen, the equal importance of “the Three in One and the Three Persons sharing equally, loving perfectly and forming a perfect community.” He added: “The Church is meant to be the expression of this unity for the world, the expression of the perfect communion of all humanity within the Trinity.”
The feeling of gladness and being at home in the Trinity, which could be felt in the retreat was brought back in today‘s readings:
“I was his delight day by day, playing over the whole of the earth. Having my delight with human beings.”
“… the love of God has been poured into our hearts through the Holy Spirit that has been given to us.”
“Everything that the Father has is mine; for this reason I told you that he will take from what is mine and declare it to you.”
Fr. Brown had a deep, droll affection for the Church. When he knew he was dying, he began to read again Hans Kung‘s book Eternal Life, and he was actually reading it when he died. I wonder how much of the book he was able to validate. In his earthly life and beyond Father Brown lived the Trinity joyfully within the Church.