A Thought To Dwell Upon Forever

A Thought To Dwell Upon Forever

Trinity Sunday

I am with you always, even to the consummation of the world.

Before Our Blessed Lord returned to Heaven, He gave to His Apostles the Great Commission, which, to tell the truth, was pretty much an impossible task. Go and convert the whole world! That was the command to these twelve poor, and for the most part, ignorant Galileans. But the mandate was wedged in between two affirmations that were designed to remove any hesitancy the apostles might have had.

It is prefaced by these words: All power is given to me in Heaven and on Earth. Therefore… By stating His omnipotence, Our Lord conveys to the apostles the courage and conviction they will need. All power belongs to Jesus. In the face of the hardness of hearts – all power belongs to Jesus. In the face of the resistance of political powers – all power belongs to Jesus. In the face of natural obstacles to the evangelisation – all power belongs to Jesus. In the face of physical hurdles – all power belongs to Jesus. Nothing, nothing at all, whether it be on the side of the forces of nature, the displeasure of state powers or, worse, the hardness of the human heart, must stop the preaching of the Gospel to all nations, along with the command to baptise them all in the Name of the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit. The Lord could hardly have given His apostles greater incentive as they set out to bring the world to God. The Risen Lord Himself was living proof that there was nothing to fear. Why fear? The worst they can do to you is kill your body, which will die one day very soon anyway. But the Power of the Holy Spirit will raise us up on the last day.

The Commission is concluded with those other might words: I am with you always even to the consummation of the world. Know that, in all that befalls you individually, in all your pains and fatigues, in all that befalls the Church, amidst the persecutions of enemies and the ravaging influence of heretics, I am with you, I will not leave you, I will not fail you, all things are in My Hand. Fear not.

Have we ever given serious thought to the singular task that was here entrusted to the apostles and the incredible difficulties that were inherent in it? They were told to go and preach the Gospel to all nations. To all nations! Not just around Judea or Israel, not just to neighbouring countries, but to all nations under heaven. The task in Israel was difficult because of the prejudice created by the rejection of the Chief Priests. The task beyond was nearly impossible, because no one had ever heard of Jesus. They had to start from scratch.

Throughout the history of the Church, we are faced with the same challenges. There are those who know, or think they know about Jesus and the Church. They are the hardest to deal with. Prejudice and misinformation join together to make evangelisation a formidable task. There are those who do not know of Him and His Church, or at least not with any depth. These present another challenge. One must proclaim Jesus to them with conviction and confidence in the help of the Holy Spirit to both inspire the right words and touch the hearts of listeners. We all know the feeling. How to go about this? How to reach others? How not to stay locked up in our little circle of believers and pretend everything is OK out there? I suggest we will do well to meditate on these two words of Our Saviour. All power is His, and He is with us.

When we seek to preach the Gospel, what is it ultimately that we are trying to do? At the end of the day, we want all souls to be drawn into the mystery of the Blessed Trinity. It is this mystery itself which encourages and incites us. If the Lord gave the express command to teach and baptise, it is because He wants every human being without exception to be grafted into the inner life of the Most Holy Trinity. This mind-boggling truth could not have been invented. It is actually proof of the authenticity of the Gospel. All other religions propose a path to achieve some kind of fulfilment and satisfaction. None has a God that approaches so close as ours, who wants to draw us into the intimate Life of His own Godhead. Indeed, it is one of the most consoling doctrines of our faith that God dwells in us, and is constantly drawing us to a deeper communion with Him.

Some of the saints were given exceptional penetration into this mystery. St Elizabeth of the Trinity is one who comes to mind. The prayer she composed to the Trinity is one of those moments in history when God lifts up, as it were, something of the veil which hides from us His inner nature. Elizabeth understood from an early age that God, even though He is so immense, desires to take up His abode in our hearts. She welcomed Him there and gave herself unreservedly to Him. To use some of her own expressions, she became utterly forgetful of self, as calm as if her soul were already in eternity, she surrendered wholly to His creative action, allowing her soul to become His Heaven on earth, His cherished dwelling, His home of rest; she handed herself over unreservedly, and wanted God to find consolation in her heart.

This is a thought we can dwell upon, today and always. If God finds so few souls who are willing to offer Him hospitality, let us be among them.

Prayer composed by St Elizabeth:

O my God, Trinity Whom I adore! help me to become utterly forgetful of self, that I may establish myself in Thee, as changeless and as calm as though my soul were already in eternity. May nothing disturb my peace nor draw me forth from Thee, O my immutable Lord! but may I penetrate more deeply every moment into the depths of Thy Mystery.

Give peace to my soul; make it Thy Heaven, Thy cherished dwelling, Thy home of rest. May I never leave Thee there alone, but be wholly present, my faith wholly vigilant, wholly adoring and wholly surrendered to Thy creative action.

O my beloved Christ, crucified by love, how I long to be the bride of Thy heart; how I long to cover Thee with glory, and to love Thee… until I die of very love! Yet I feel my weakness, and ask Thee to clothe me with Thyself, to identify my soul with all the movements of Thy Soul, to immerse me in Thyself, to possess me, to substitute Thyself for me, that my life may be but a radiance of Thy Life. Come into me as Adorer, as Restorer, as Saviour!

O Eternal Word, Utterance of my God! I yearn to spend my life in listening to Thee, to become wholly docile, that I may learn all from Thee. Then, through all nights, all emptiness, all helplessness, I long to gaze on Thee always and to dwell beneath Thy lustrous beams. O my beloved Star! So fascinate me that I may never again withdraw from Thy radiance!

O consuming Fire! Spirit of Love! come upon me and reproduce in me, as it were, an incarnation of the Word, that I may be to Him another humanity wherein He renews all His mystery.

And Thou, O Father, bend towards Thy poor little creature and overshadow her, beholding in her none other than the Beloved, in Whom Thou hast set all Thy pleasure.

O my “Three,” my All, my Beatitude, infinite Solitude, Immensity wherein I lose myself! I surrender myself to Thee as Thy prey. Immerse Thyself in me, that I may be immersed in Thee, until I depart to contemplate in Thy light the abyss of Thy greatness!