God is love

Years ago, while a Franciscan novice, my fellow friars and I attended a gathering of all the Franciscan novices, men and women, who lived in the Eastern United States. During our week-long gathering, each group was responsible for leading morning or evening prayer, or animating the Eucharistic celebration. One morning, a group of Franciscan sisters was responsible for morning prayer. Just before we were to begin, the leader of prayer explained that we would not being using the traditional words associated with the sign of the Cross. Rather, we would say “In the Name of the Creator, the Redeemer, and the Sanctifier.” She explained this was a way to remove the gender bias from the opening of prayer and so to make all feel welcomed. Continue reading

Trinity Sunday: context

TrinityHoly Trinity Sunday is celebrated on the first Sunday following Pentecost in most of the liturgical churches in Western Christianity. It is a solemn celebration of the belief in the revelation of one God, yet three divine persons. It was not uniquely celebrated in the early church, but as with many things the advent of new, sometime heretical, thinking often gives the Church a moment in which to explain and celebrate its own traditions; things it already believes and holds dear. In the early 4th century when the Arian heresy was spreading, the early church, recognizing the inherent Christological and Trinitarian implications, prepared an Office of Prayer with canticles, responses, a preface, and hymns, to be recited on Sundays to proclaim the Holy Trinity. Pope John XXII (14th century) instituted the celebration for the entire Church as a feast; the celebration became a solemnity after the liturgical reforms of Vatican II. Continue reading

Trinity Sunday: context

TrinityHoly Trinity Sunday is celebrated on the first Sunday following Pentecost in most of the liturgical churches in Western Christianity. It is a solemn celebration of the belief in the revelation of one God, yet three divine persons. It was not uniquely celebrated in the early church, but as with many things the advent of new, sometime heretical, thinking often gives the Church a moment in which to explain and celebrate its own traditions; things it already believes and holds dear. In the early 4th century when the Arian heresy was spreading, the early church, recognizing the inherent Christological and Trinitarian implications, prepared an Office of Prayer with canticles, responses, a preface, and hymns, to be recited on Sundays to proclaim the Holy Trinity. Pope John XXII (14th century) instituted the celebration for the entire Church as a feast; the celebration became a solemnity after the liturgical reforms of Vatican II. Continue reading

Holy Trinity Sunday – why we celebrate

HolyTrinityWindowWe have all kinds of solemnities, feast days, and other special days in the church year. We commemorate happenings in the life of Christ: Mary’s visit from Gabriel announcing the miraculous child she was to bear into the world. We celebrate the arrival of the Three Kings, the Baptism of our Lord, the Transfiguration when the glory of Christ is revealed, and on Palm Sunday, we celebrate Jesus riding triumphant into Jerusalem amidst palms and cheers. We celebrate the empty tomb and Resurrection of Easter, the glorious Ascension, the explosive coming of God’s spirit to the church at Pentecost … and then we have Holy Trinity Sunday.  And suddenly it is like we have moved from these great events in the life of Christ, and now…. tadah!!  We are celebrating a …..a….. a church doctrine. Continue reading