Sunday, June 11, 2023



      During the Covid-19 Pandemic of 2020 we were deprived of the Eucharist ---the source, the center, and the summit of Catholic belief and practice, so central to the life and mission of the Church---- from March 16 until the great feast of Pentecost on May 31.  This hiatus made us appreciate what we were missing.  In fact many felt a deep longing for the Eucharist.  However, others drifted away, often not returning.  

    Today we are in a crisis of belief and the Episcopate of the United States has undertaken a campaign to revive our most basic belief, the Eucharist, the true presence of Christ Himself.  Today we celebrate the Feast of Corpus Christi (Body of Christ) 2023 traditionally the Thursday after Trinity Sunday, but for convenience observed in most dioceses on the following Sunday.  

The Awesomeness of the Mass.  At the Consecration Christ Himself through the priest (persona Christi representing Christ Himself) changes ordinary bread and wine in a mysterious way as He did at the Last Supper to His body and blood, soul and divinity.  Therefore, the priest repeats the very words of Christ, “THIS IS MY BODY; THIS IS MY BLOOD; DO THIS IN MEMORY OF ME”.  This we call the Eucharist, whom we adore as God Himself. 

Thus we believe that the Eucharist is NOT a mere symbol, but IS our Lord Jesus Christ, God the Son, the Second Person of the Holy Trinity.  Nevertheless, the Eucharist retains all the physical and chemical properties of bread.  That’s the mystery, but anything is possible for God.

A few minutes later, Jesus Christ in the person of the priest, offers the Eucharist to God as Jesus did at Calvary in reparation for all the sins of the world past, present, and future so that we can enter Heaven if we faithfully follow Him.  Thus the sacrifice of Calvary is made present and brought to us in a mysterious way which we call the unbloody sacrifice of the Mass.  

Just as the Jewish high priest offered in the temple an unblemished lamb to God and the people would then consume it…..we offer Christ Himself as the Lamb of God in the Eucharist to God the Father.  Then we consume the Lamb of God, the Eucharist in Holy Communion and we have the Body and Blood, Soul and Divinity of Jesus Christ within us for a few precious moments to adore and cherish as we are filled with His love and graces.  Thus missing out on the Eucharist by not assisting at Mass on Sunday is a big loss.

Awesome, Mind Boggling, Difficult to Comprehend.  We believe because Christ said so and nothing is impossible for God.  “Do this in commemoration of me.”  The Eucharist is God’s greatest gift to us on this side of eternity……Himself.  Let us not deprive ourselves of it by missing Mass on Sunday.  Many a convert began to  explore our Catholic Faith because of hunger for the Eucharist.

This belief is so strong to a good and faithful knight that he would give his life to defend the King of the Universe ever present in the Eucharist against any possible desecration, which has occurred more than once in modern history.  Even after reading John 6 and the Holy Thursday Gospel  accounts, the Eucharist is still a leap of faith and difficult to imagine even though absolutely nothing is beyond the power of Almighty God.                

     For us who are so weak in faith, the Good Lord has helped us over the centuries and even in recent years with over 100 documented Miracles of the Eucharist……34 in Italy, 20 in Spain, 12 in France, 9 in Germany, also in the Netherlands. Portugal, Argentina (1992, 1994, 1996), Mexico (2006), Venezuela (1991), India (2001), and Poland (2008 & 2013) among others.  They reinforce the faith of the believers and help the doubters.  These miracles are optional for Catholics to believe or reject.  However, the Church considers most of them to be worthy of belief.

The reliquary with close-ups of the flesh and coagulated blood of Jesus Christ.
     The first and most famous Eucharistic miracle occurred in Lanciano, Italy near Siena in central Italy in the year 750 A.D.  A priest was struggling with doubts over the authenticity of the Eucharist.  One day as he consecrated the bread and wine into the body and blood of Christ, the host turned into human flesh and the wine turned into human blood in the presence of the congregation.  For over 1250 years the human flesh and blood has not decomposed.

The flesh consists of part of his heart muscle, namely the myocardium, i.e., the left ventricle. The arteries and veins can be easily identified, as well as a double, slender branch of the vagus nerve.

According to investigations, the most recent in 1970-71 and 1981 by medical professors of the University of Siena-Italy, the flesh is part of the human heart and the blood type AB matches the blood on the Holy Shroud of Turin and other Eucharistic miracles.  The Lanciano results are very consistent with scientific investigations of other Eucharistic miracles where the sacred host turned into flesh.  Scientists also concluded that the heart muscle was in great agony.  

Furthermore, they initially found with the crude scales of the 8th Century that one piece of flesh or several pieces of flesh together all weighed the same, indicating that even a fragment of the Eucharist is the entire Body of Christ.

The blood is coagulated into five equal parts and weight, corresponding to the five wounds of Christ.  For a medical analysis by Dr. Edoardo Linoli, a professor of anatomy, pathological histology, chemistry, & clinical microscopy and former head of the Laboratory of Pathological Anatomy at the Hospital of Arezzo, go to  There has been no deterioration for almost 13 centuries. 

      The name of the town where the Eucharistic miracle occurred was changed to Lanciano to call to mind the lance which the centurion used to pierce the heart of Jesus without breaking a bone in fulfillment of Bible prophecy.  It is so appropriate that the consecrated host miraculously turned into heart muscle to reflect the Sacred Heart of Jesus which exudes such intense love and mercy for each one of us.  

        May we reciprocate by intensely loving our Lord with our whole mind and our whole soul above all things, while making every effort to follow His teachings through His Mystical Body, the Church, live a virtuous life, and avoid sin which offends Him. 

When one receives Holy Communion, Christ comes into his/her heart, i.e. His very person in a real way.  It is communion with the infinite……Jesus Christ, the Son of God, the Second Person of the Holy Trinity.  It can even be said that since the three persons of the Holy Trinity are inseparable, we also receive the Father and the Holy Spirit.

 At the same time all who receive the Eucharist at a given liturgy are in communion with each other since all eat at the same table (the altar or communion rail) of the same loaf of bread so to speak.   

    The following videos and articles are fascinating: – (7.01 min) Miracles of the Eucharist – a great overview. – (3:02) Scientific Evidence of Eucharistic Miracles – presentation by three Polish experts. – (7:42 min) 6 Incredible Eucharistic Miracles for descriptions of over 100 of them since the 4th Century. - The True Presence: Eucharistic Miracles Over the Centuries for Corpus Christi - 5 Extraordinary Eucharistic Miracles that Left Physical Evidence (With Pictures!) - 5 Incredible Eucharistic Miracles from the last 25 Years.   Bob and Penny Lord have visited many sites, wrote books, filmed many sites and produced many television programs on EWTN and DVDs.  They can be purchased at


A Pastor's Corpus Christi Homily

    Fr. Thomas Hamm, the pastor of St. Louis Church Gallipolis, Ohio,  connects his every homily to the Eucharist at least in a small way at the conclusion.  Let us add his Corpus Christi Sunday homily of June 11, 2023.  It was very well done.   

    When the Chosen People were journeying to the Promised Land, it was only natural that God would provide them with food for the journey. He gave them the manna, the “bread from heaven” which despite its origin was ordinary food meant for the sustaining of natural life. We too are on a journey. Our true home is in heaven and once again God provides us with food for the journey. God gives us the true “Bread from Heaven”, not ordinary food, but extraordinary food meant for sustaining supernatural life. He gives us the Most Holy Eucharist.

    Our journey is not a journey to a land flowing with milk and honey.  Our journey is a journey to eternal life, a very participation in the life of the Most Blessed Trinity. Thus, the food God gives us must itself contain that divine life. God must feed us with Himself.  Anything else would be only ordinary food; ordinary food that when we consume it, becomes part of us. The divine food God gives us instead makes us like God. It divinizes us. It does not become part us, we become in a sense, part of God.

    Thus, today we celebrate this wondrous mystery of the Body and Blood of Christ. In particular, we celebrate the true presence of Jesus Christ in the Eucharist when He take our humble gifts of bread and wine and transforms them into His on Body and Blood, Soul and Divinity. As Saint Paul tells us we participate in the body and blood of Christ. We make communion with Jesus, Himself, which we can only do if He is present in the holy food we consume. Paul also tells us that we become one in Christ by consuming of the one loaf, which again is impossible unless the one loaf is Christ. Further, Paul uses other examples in First Corinthians that show his belief that the Eucharist is the true presence of Christ which should lay to rest the arguments that the first Christians did not believe in the real presence of Christ.

    Of course, our Lord's own discourse and the reaction of the crowd should leave no doubt that Jesus was serious when He told us that we must eat His flesh and drink his blood.  As scripture commentators make clear, when Jesus’ words shocked the crowd with visions of cannibalism and consuming blood, Christ did not back down. He did not tell them that He was only speaking figuratively.  In fact, the original Greek made it clear, that Jesus not only told them they had to eat His flesh, but they had to chew and gnaw it as animals would. But Jesus also made it clear that those who consumed His flesh and blood would live forever.  

    Thus, God provides the precise food for the journey. If it is to be an earthly journey, then it will be ordinary food. But if it is the journey to eternal life, then it must be food that itself is eternal. Today we honor Christ present in the Most Blesses Sacrament. We celebrate that because of His true presence we can participate in His one, perfect sacrifice. And we celebrate that because we partake of Him who makes us one with Himself, we become more perfectly one with all those partaking of His Body and Blood, Soul and Divinity with us. True Presence, true Sacrifice, true Communion, what more could we desire as we journey to be with Him for all eternity.

Sunday, June 4, 2023

(280) THE MYSTERY OF GOD: A Review of a Series of Videos By Bishop Robert Barron


Our Lord of the Miracles (“El Señor de los Milagros”) became a great devotion in Peru after the great earthquake of October 20, 1687 destroyed the Lima church but the mural remained intact. The painting vividly shows that God is love, i.e., Christ’s ultimate sacrifice for each one of us.  It also shows the Holy Trinity…….the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit.  Furthermore, it shows the dual nature of Christ as both divine and human.  We invoke this image when we make the Sign of the Cross, really a profession of faith and also a prayer.  “The juxtaposition of Trinity and cross is by no means accidental.  For the cross is the moment when the tensive unity of the three divine persons is on most vivid display.”  Mary is present as her heart is pierced by a sword.  Mary Magdalene is there as a faithful disciple.  See

With Christmas, Holy Week, Easter, the Ascension, Pentecost, Trinity Sunday, Corpus Christi, and living with Christ during the rest of the liturgical year, we must become awestruck on occasion at the mystery of God.  This is particularly the case in regard to Pentecost and Trinity Sunday 2023, which we celebrate today. 

Bishop Robert Barron and His Word on Fire apostolate published an excellent series of DVDs on “The Mystery of God".  Thus I would like to share the highlights with the readers of my blog articles.   I wrote it all up when we presented it to the Catholic Newman Club at the University of Rio Grande a couple of years ago. 

The highlights include: 1) What We Mean By God; 2) St. Thomas Aquinas & the Paths to God; 3) the Divine Attributes; 4)Providence & the Problem of Evil; 5) Exploring the Trinity; and 6) the God Who is Love.  

1. Atheism and What We Mean By “God”

There are lots of views about God. Some see him as a mythical fairy in the sky, others as the Supreme Being. Some consider him a threat to our freedom. But for Christians, God is not one being among many. He's not a competitor to our flourishing. God is that than which nothing greater can be thought, the strange and unique source of being itself. Before discussing anything about God we must become clear about one question: who is God?

      In this episode Fr. Barron reviews the views of such atheists as Hitchens, Feuerbach, Marx, Freud, Sartre, etc. as well as mythological beliefs in the ancient gods and contrasts them with the beliefs of Christianity.  They look upon God as fantasy, a threat to freedom, an opiate for one’s misery to feel better about life.   You can get more insights on Fr. Barron’s website, 

Jesus Christ. The true God is not one being among many, not a competitor to our flourishing, not invasive or intrusive.  He is one over whom nothing greater can be found.  Christianity is so distinctive because it believes that God became one of us as Jesus Christ, i.e., taking on our human nature in the Incarnation…….having two natures come together…..being truly divine and truly human, yet maintaining the integrity of each nature without any mixing of the divine and the creature.  God took on our human nature to be an icon of His person.  After centuries of debate this was resolved and defined in the year 451 at the Council of Chalcedon.  We find our deepest identity in God because we are created according to His image and likeness. 

The Catholic intellectual traditions about God are very rich, but we must do a much better job of presenting the Christian view of God in the New Evangelization (to be done by all of us).  St. Thomas Aquinas brought out that God is not a being as such; He is being itself.  He is the source of finite existence.  St. Anselm said that God plus the world is not greater than God, while Zeus plus the world would be greater than Zeus.  The true God is greater than anything we could possibly imagine.  The atheist will never be able to find God as a being in the world because God is other than the world.  God is everywhere in the world because everything depends upon God in a causal dependence.  Everything in the universe depends upon His power of being; God is the unique source of being itself.  St. Augustine brought out:  “God is closer to me than I am to myself.  Yet He is higher than anything I can imagine.” 

God does not compete with the world.  The closer that God comes to the world, the more He allows it to be itself.  This is the basis for Christian humanism.  God is beyond human comprehension.  The glory of God is a human being fully alive.  God appeared to Moses in the burning bush which was not consumed and that made him radiant.  God makes people more radiant, more beautiful, more luminous while not consuming them.  God does not come invasively or competitively, but gently.  His presence makes the world radiant.  The burning bush has the fullest expression in the Incarnation without ceasing to be God, nor undermining the creature He becomes.  The God of the burning bush is the true God.

2. St. Thomas Aquinas and the Paths to God   

       In the thirteenth century, St. Thomas Aquinas composed his famous five paths to God. His proofs don't depend on the Bible or divine revelation. They simply start from the world around us—trees, birds, buildings, and even ourselves. Thomas noticed that none of these things have to exist. But if that's the case, there must be some cause behind them, something grounding their existence. For Thomas and all Christians since, we know this source of all being by its ancient name—God.

“The Paths to God” was formulated by St. Thomas Aquinas as five arguments without the use of the Bible or revelation, using the world around us.  He said that nothing in this world contains in itself the reason for its own existence.  Things are, but don’t have to be or exist.  Everything in this world is contingent or dependent upon something else, a cause.  And that cause is contingent upon a set of other causes which in turn is contingent upon even more causes.  Finally one must come to a reality whose nature is “to be”…….Ipsum esse – the sheer act of being itself or to be in itself…….in other words, God.  That’s why in Exodus 3:14, God identified Himself to Moses as “I am who I am” And Christ could say to the Jews: “Before Abraham was, I am” (John 8:58).

Fr. Georges Lemaître, Father of the Big Bang Theory giving a scientific lecture.                          

The Big Bang.  For example, this summary of Bishop Barron’s talk is contingent upon me…….my doing it.  I am contingent upon being a college professor, which is contingent upon my education, which is contingent upon my parents, who are caused by their parents, etc., etc.  They are all contingent or dependent upon matter, which goes back to the “Big Bang” that originated at a point. The theory of the origin of our expanding universe with the “Big Bang”, now commonly accepted, was formulated by a Belgian Catholic priest, Fr. Georges Lemaître in 1927 (see

He saw the big bang as a creation like event and saw no conflict between science and theology although he avoided mixing up the two.

Did you know that the originator of the Big Bang Theory was a Catholic Priest and a contemporary of Albert Einstein, the originator of the Theory of Relativity?  Fr. Georges Lemaître is pictured with Einstein above.  Faith and reason, faith and science are very compatible with no contradiction…….truth is truth under the dominion of God, the creator of all things.  Any apparent contradiction is due to human error and lack of understanding.  The Church has been very hospitable to Science in the many colleges and universities it has founded over the centuries. 

      Albert Einstein, a contemporary of Fr. Lemaitre, is considered to be a genius and an atheist, was awestruck by the great order in the universe.  Thus he believed in an intelligent designer of the universe, who planned it all.  He said: “A spirit is manifest in the laws of the universe, a spirit vastly superior to that of man, and one in the face of which we with our modest powers must feel humble”.  It stated the same in other words that there is a great designer of the universe, “in comparison to whom, I am insignificant.”  However, he did not believe in a personal God.

      Matter is contingent on being itself, who is God.  Matter could have different forms and can be shaped into innumerable forms that we use in our everyday lives.  When the atheist goes through the chain of contingent causes from object to person to matter, he will eventually have to stop and throw up his hands and say: “That’s the way it is”, thinking that it just popped out into being.  The believer will continue to the “uncaused cause”……..God……a reality not contingent on anything, whose nature is to be.  By reason, any being would eventually have to be contingent upon being itself…….God.

      The Human Mind.  According to Bernard Lonergan and Karl Rahner, Jesuit theologians, both born in 1904 and died in 1984, postulated that the human mind asks questions, gathers knowledge, and ultimately seeks God, the glorious mystery.  St. Augustine observed: “Thou hast made us for thyself, O Lord, and our heart is restless until it finds its rest in thee.”

St. Augustine

      The ultimate horizon of all that can be known or can be is ipsum esse, being itself, God.  The desire for God is behind every act of knowing.  God’s existence is co-known implicitly.  Nothing greater can be thought, not simply one being among many. 

                                3. The Divine Attributes

 What is God like?  God is higher than anything we can imagine.  When Adam & Eve (Genesis 3) committed the original sin, they tried to hide from God.   God cannot be hidden from because He is everywhere (omnipresence).  God is closer to me (and you) than I am to myself.  Don’t run away from God; surrender to Him in love.   

In Exodus 3 Moses encountered God in the Burning Bush that would not be consumed.  God calls Moses by name and knows everything about the suffering of his people (omniscience): “Remove your sandals for you are standing on holy ground.”  God is in control and intimate.  When Moses asked for His name, God answered; “I am who am” (Exodus 3:14).  To be God is to be to be.   God’s existence (to be) and essence (to be) coincide.  Simplicity is another divine attribute.  Each one of us exists as human beings with a name in a particular but limited way.  You can be grasped.  However, God cannot be defined even with the highest degree of abstraction.  God is being itself (ipsum esse); He is infinite without any limit.  There is no restriction on God’s manner of being and existence. 

God is inexhaustible and cannot be put into a category of being; He cannot be completely described, analyzed, or characterized.  God is incomprehensible; as the great genius of theology said, “In Heaven I will infinitely explore the infinite God”.  We will have to spend all eternity learning about God, who is inscrutable, who we cannot understand.  There is no limit to His freedom.  The ascetic aspect of God is awesome……supremely beautiful and sublime.  To obey God is to come fully to life and find one’s own deepest self.  Disobedience is a fundamental problem throughout salvation history…….i.e., the Bible.  Surrender to Him and you will find out who you are.

God is self-sufficient.  He does not need the world.  God plus the whole world is not greater than God alone.  Our prayers of thanksgiving add nothing to God, but adds to us, making us grow in grace.  We cannot add to God’s greatness.  God gains nothing from loving us.  This shows His great love for the world…….i.e. He wills our greatest good.  He wants us to flourish; He wants our good for its own sake. 

Some of the attributes of God can be summarized in Psalm 139, a psalm of David, specifically God’s omnipresence, being everywhere.  He is available wherever you are; He is unavoidable.  Jonah discovered that He could not run away from God.  There is no place to go where God is not.  God brought Jonah back to where He wanted him to be.  It’s the same with us when we feel limited, depressed, etc. 

Psalm 139 vividly shows that God is omniscient, knowing all things.  God knows us into being.  He knows all about us, through and through.  To know ourselves as God knows us is true self-knowledge.  He knows what we are doing and thinking.  It’s not surveillance; He just knows.  We know by observation and reading; that’s passive.  God simply knows.  Things exist because God knows. 

God is omnipotent, being able to do all things without limit.  God won’t make a square circle because that’s a contradiction.  He presses His great love upon the world with His creation and help.  In God’s omnipotence lies His lordliness and kingliness.  He is transcendent  beyond time, imminent, and faithful.  Knowing God is to know ourselves.

4. Providence and the Problem of Evil

  Why does God allow evil?  If He is all good, all knowing, and all powerful, why is the world marked by so much pain, loss, and suffering?  The ultimate answer is the entry of the Son of God into suffering itself…..the cross.  According to Thomas Aquinas, all good in creation comes from God.  The order of things to their end is good.  The being of creatures is good.


The great theologian, St. Thomas Aquinas.

Providence. Everything is moving to some purpose by His guiding hand.  The idea of that guiding hand, which is pre-existing in the mind of God, is called providence.  God places purpose in His creatures (in animals it’s instinct).  His providence is not only in the important, but also in the particulars…..the little things because of God’s manner of causality that extends to all things.  My causal influence is real, but limited.  Because of me, you are here thinking about God.  But I have no influence on your being.   

But God is the act of being itself in whom all things come to be and maintains everything in being.  He sweetly orders all things.  That we’re gathered here is part of God’s providence.  God is personally involved in every detail of creation.  Everything is subject to God’s providence, i.e., the ultimate cause.  We can attribute the weather to specific causes, but God controls all.  There are many causes (ingredients) to an apple pie, but God is the ultimate cause, in making all of these secondary causes possible.  God is involved in the totality of things in a non-competitive way as the universal ultimate cause.   St. John Paul II stated that for people of faith, there are no real coincidences.  We are all part of God’s perfect finished plan.

Pilgrims come to the Lourdes Shrine in France in search of healing.  They at least obtain spiritual healing and the presence of God.

Why does God permit evil and suffering?  A wise provider tries to eliminate as many defects as possible, but there are many defects in creation.  Evil is the absence of the good that ought to be there.  Evil is a defect in the good as blindness.  God is omniscient (knows that evil exists), omnipotent (can correct evil), omnibenevolent (wants to correct evil).  Yet there is an abundance of evil.  Thus atheists conclude that God does not exist.  God does not create or cause evil.  However, we have free will to do evil.  As St. Augustine said, “God allows evil to bring about good that would not otherwise exist”.  Without the cruelty of the tyrant, there would be no virtue in the martyr…….no Hitler, no St. Maximillian Kolbe.  God can make good come out of evil or suffering…….virtue and heroism.

Failure can be a turning point if one learns from it.  Because I lost my job, a new and better job opened up.  The Lord used a lousy previous job as a stepping stone or training for something better.  One door closes and God opens another.  God permits suffering and we don’t understand why.  Read the Book of Job in the Bible where Job undergoes every possible form of suffering.  God explains it to Job in His longest speech in the Bible (Job 38).  We tend to look at suffering from our personal perspective, not God’s.  He has the overall picture. 

Trust and He will get you through it all, making good come out of it.  God permits suffering in our lives for a reason that we cannot understand now.  God doesn’t explain why we might have to suffer, but His only Son became one of us, who also had to suffer on the cross.  God often does not take our suffering away, but transforms it with His presence as he did with Job.  That is God’s answer to the mystery of suffering. 

Suffering as a mystery becomes meaningful when we join our suffering or cross with the Lord’s cross of suffering and offer it up to the God as a dynamic prayer for the Church, our country (God knows how much our country needs prayer), for a better world, for our loved ones, etc.  That’s a very effective form of prayer.  Suffering then becomes productive and thus easier to take.  Patients that can spiritualize their suffering do better in hospitals.  God may permit suffering and use it to develop virtue and make us better people.  When we suffer, we tend to go to God and thus become closer to Him.  There’s an old saying: “Just as the fire purifies gold, so also does the fire of suffering purify us.

5. Exploring the Trinity

 Christianity not only claims that God loves us and love is one of His attributes.  It asserts that GOD IS LOVE.  In the Old Testament God reveals Himself as I am who am……being itself.  In the New Testament God goes a giant step further in revealing Himself……that He is love within the unity of the monotheistic God.  But love must be shared.  

From all eternity the infinite love of the Father begets His Son.  That intense shared love between the Father and the Son is the Holy Spirit.  That is the Holy Trinity…….an interaction among the lover (the Father), the beloved (His only begotten son), and shared love between them in the Holy Spirit……a union of three persons, but one God.  The Holy Spirit is the love that connects the Father and the Son.

Christ was sent by His Father, but so were the prophets who speak for God.  Christ is not only a prophet, but speaks and acts in the very person of God.  “Your sins are forgiven” (only God can forgive sins).  “You heard it said in the Torah (the court of final appeal, the ultimate expression), but I say……” (He spoke with authority).  “Heaven and Earth will pass away, but my words will not pass away”.  Only God can make such statements.  “You have here something greater than the temple” (which is the abode of God and nothing is more sacred in Jewish belief).  Only God can say that. 

Christ’s resurrection from the dead is a ratification that He is who He said He was……the Son of God……an electric charge that runs through the entire New Testament.  St. Paul, well versed in the Old Testament and trained in Jewish tradition, was enthralled by the fact that Jesus Christ is Lord (God) and was willing to go to the ends of the earth to proclaim and share that revelation and even die for it.  The other apostles were willing to do the same. 

God, the non-contingent source of contingency, so loved the world that He sent His Son, who Himself is divine so that we can find love in His name.  God sent Him into our human condition, which included suffering, sin, even death.  Although God, He humbled Himself and became a servant, a being in the likeness of men.  The apostles were shocked when Christ washed their feet because even a slave was not expected to do that.  Then Christ offers His body and blood, soul and divinity to take into ourselves.

The Passion. In the Garden of Gethsemane Jesus takes upon Himself the sins of the world and the suffering due to sin.  He enters into the experience of the sinner as savior.  Then God, the judge is being judged first by the high priest, Caiaphas and then by the Roman procurator, Pontius Pilate.  Thus Jesus enters into our dysfunction.  On the cross, Christ’s suffering was not only physical, but also psychological in experiencing the feeling of being abandoned by His Father.  Crucifixion was considered horrific in the Roman Empire.

The beauty of the Incarnation is that the Son of God goes down into our limitations, down into our sin, our suffering, and into our death.  Holy Saturday is the bottom of the trajectory of the incarnation where the Son of God’s body is but a cadaver in a tomb.  Christ shows his solidarity with the dead. 

In the Resurrection the Father draws His Son back to Himself through the love and power of the Holy Spirit.  We also come back to the Father with Him.  This love of the Holy Spirit gathers the whole world including us back into the divine life.  Christ went all the way down into the depths to bring everyone of us back, even those who have wondered far away, through the love of the Holy Spirit.  We can all be drawn back into the love of God through the power of the Trinitarian love.

We don’t pray to God out there somewhere.  We pray to God in the name of the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit so that we may be gathered into the love of the Holy Spirit…….i.e., the spiritual life.  That’s what prayer, the Mass, and the Christian life is all about.  The flexibility of the God of love is found in the monotheism and unity of God in the Old Testament and the diversity of God in the Trinity who is love in the New Testament.  

                6. The God Who is Love

The image of “El Señor de los Milagros” (Lord of the Miracles) within the Holy Trinity in procession in Lima, Peru in the month of October. 

       According to Genesis 1:26, each one of us is created according to the image and likeness of God.  Christ came down to become one of us and sacrifice Himself to make reparation for the sins of the world.  This sacrifice opened the gates of Heaven to us and draws us back to God through Trinitarian love.

       St. Augustine: Analogy of the Trinity.  The intense love of the Father begets the Son.  The self-knowledge of the Father is the Son, a perfect replication of the Father.  The Father and the Son see perfection in each other, resulting in great mutual love.  This great mutual love is the Holy Spirit.  They breathe forth the Holy Spirit or holy breath to each other so to speak.  There is a constant interaction among the lover (the Father), the beloved (the Son), and love (the Holy Spirit).  This gives great unity and yet diversity with three persons, but one God.

       St. Thomas Aquinas refined St. Augustine’s Analogy and added greater precision, emphasizing the unity and simplicity of God.  He overcame the apparent contradiction between unity & simplicity and diversity.  All is so perfect that it does not compromise the perfect unity of God in three persons.   “In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God” (John 1:1).  That is one God and one essence.

    There are three persons and two processions.  The Son proceeds from the Father; the Holy Spirit proceeds from the Father and the Son together.  They are not three separate beings, not really persons as we know it.  St. Thomas Aquinas called it a subsistent relation (not dependent upon space and time).  The relations themselves are active generation and are subsistent since God is love.

 There are four relations: the Father is the relationship to the Son (active generation); the Son is the relationship to the Father (passive generation by acceptance); the Holy Spirit is the relationship between the Father and the Son (active spiration); the Father and the Son is the relationship to the Holy Spirit (passive spiration).  The overall relationality is subsistent in the Trinity.  In sum we have one God, two processions, three persons, and four imminent relations.

 Joseph Cardinal Ratzinger, the future Pope Benedict XVI.  This great theologian added to our understanding with his three theses.  1) The Trinity is absolute with one essence, but three persons……a paradox.  God has the perfection of both unity and plurality.  2) The three persons look at each other and speak to each other……..The looker (the Father), the looked at (the Son), and the look (Holy Spirit).  3) The divine absoluteness of the relative.  The Trinity is self-contained and God is love.

The Christian doctrine of God can be summed up in the Sign of the Cross.  God is a family of relationships, a play of lover, beloved, and love.  Relationality goes to the level of the absolute.  God is love.  In making the sign of the cross, let’s remember the power of the cross, the ultimate act of love; that God is love, a Trinitarian play of Father, Son, and Holy Spirit in love.  That’s the message with which we go to a hungry world to draw people back to God.

    A Brief Summary. Christianity not only claims that God loves us and love is one of His attributes.  It asserts that GOD IS LOVE.  In the Old Testament God reveals Himself as “I am who am”……being itself.  In the New Testament God goes a giant step further in revealing Himself……that He is love within the unity of the monotheistic God.  But love must be shared.  From all eternity the infinite love of the Father begets His Son.  That intense shared love between the Father and the Son is the Holy Spirit.  That is the Holy Trinity…….an interaction among the lover (the Father), the beloved (His only begotten son), and shared love between them in the Holy Spirit……a union of three persons, but one God.  The Holy Spirit is the love that connects the Father and the Son.  See