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Matthew 5:3-12: Trinity of Three

Thursday, June 15, 2017

You’re blessed when you’re at the end of your rope. With less of you there is more of God and God’s rule.

“Think about it”, Rohr and Morrell tell us, “It’s election season, and you feel passionate about your favorite political candidate. You represent ‘first force’ in the Law of Three – you’re in the candidate’s corner. Your co-worker – or maybe your parent – backs the other candidate of the other political party with equal passion. They represent ‘second force’. The way we live so much of our lives stops right there . . . But the Law of Three asks the question we’ve been asking: What if we didn’t live in a binary universe, but instead a ternary universe?” (Rohr and Morrell 92)

You’re blessed when you feel you’ve lost what is most dear to you. You’re blessed when you’re content with just who you are—no more, no less. You’re blessed when you’ve worked up a good appetite for God. You’re blessed when you care. You’re blessed when you get your inside world—your mind and heart—put right. Then you can see God in the outside world.

Rohr and Morrell continue to explore the world of three as an alternative to the world of two in which we live. If we spend time with Rohr, we know that he always ask us to include rather than exclude, to say, “yes, and” rather than “either, or”. Rohr reminds us of the Franciscan guiding thought that we do best in this binary world when we sink to the bottom to align ourselves with the poor, the mourning, the marginalized; and we suffer most when we insist on governing the people and circumstances that surround us.

You’re blessed when you can show people how to cooperate instead of compete or fight. You’re blessed when your commitment to God provokes persecution. The persecution drives you even deeper into God’s kingdom. Not only that—count yourselves blessed every time people put you down or throw you out or speak lies about you to discredit me. What it means is that the truth is too close for comfort and they are uncomfortable. You can be glad when that happens—give a cheer, even!—for though they don’t like it, I do! And all heaven applauds. 

Today we examine the Beatitudes while thinking of the Law of Three that Rohr and Morrell propose. How do we perceive God? As Creator only? As Savior only? As the Holy Spirit alone? How do we put together these three persons as one in us? And how do we allow these three to call us to live in union with them, and with all of creation?

The Beatitudes in today’s reflection are from THE MESSAGE. When we compare this translation with others, we allow all three voices to speak to us. Tomorrow, divine energy.

Rohr, Richard with Mike Morrell. THE DIVINE DANCE: THE TRINITY AND YOUR TRANSFORMATION. New Kensington, PA: Whitaker House, 2016. Print. 

 


1 Corinthians 12: Trinity in Us

Manet: The Angels at Christ’s Tomb (Inspired by El Greco’s Holy Trinity)

Wednesday, June 14, 2017

We continue with commentary by Richard Rohr and Mike Morrell in THE DIVINE DANCE. “God’s goal, it seems to me . . . is the making of persons, not the making of a uniform mob, which means there is clear diversity and a kind of what I’m going to call open-endedness in all of nature, and to the very nature of this creation. In other words, heaven is precisely not uniformity”. (Rohr and Morrell 61)

We see great variety in God’s plant and animal life that surrounds us; and each year we discover and classify thousands of new species. How is it possible for us to believe that God wants us to walk in lock step along The Way Christ shows us? Why would God who loves great change and multiplicity want to stifle creation by crushing it into uniformity? Might we see that this triune God calls us to the same variation we see in God’s three persons as one?

I want you to think about how all this makes you more significant, not less. A body isn’t just a single part blown up into something huge. It’s all the different-but-similar parts arranged and functioning together. 

Today we examine the idea that God’s creation is a reflection of God’s own multiplicity, and when we consider varying translations of these verses, we also consider the effects of God’s goodness and generosity in our lives. Tomorrow, the law of three.

For more on the connection between Manet and El Greco, visit: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Art_of_El_Greco

Rohr, Richard with Mike Morrell. THE DIVINE DANCE: THE TRINITY AND YOUR TRANSFORMATION. New Kensington, PA: Whitaker House, 2016. Print. 

For more on the species we discover each day, visit: http://www.atlasobscura.com/articles/new-animal-species

 


1 Corinthians 12: Trinity as Diversity

El Greco: The Holy Trinity

Tuesday, June 13, 2017

Richard Rohr and Mike Morrell, bring us a vision of the Trinity that may surprise us. “One of the most wonderful things I find in this naming of God as Father, Son, and Holy Spirit is its affirmation that there is an intrinsic plurality to goodness . . . Goodness isn’t sameness. Goodness, to be goodness, needs contrast and tension, not perfect uniformity. If Father, Son and Holy Spirit are all God yet clearly different, and we embrace this differentiation, resisting the temptation to blend them into some kind of amorphous blob, then there are at least three shapes to pure goodness”. (Rohr and Morrell 61)

There are different kinds of spiritual gifts, but the same Spirit gives them. There are different ways of serving, but the same Lord is served.  

Today we examine a thesis that God’s nature is diverse by intention and not accident. When we explore varying versions of these words, we open ourselves to the possibility of this diversity in God. Tomorrow, God’s diversity in us.

Rohr, Richard with Mike Morrell. THE DIVINE DANCE: THE TRINITY AND YOUR TRANSFORMATION. New Kensington, PA: Whitaker House, 2016. Print. 

 


John 14: Trinity as Relationship

Monday, June 12, 2017

Do not be worried and upset,” Jesus told them. “Believe in God and believe also in me. For a long time I have been with you all; yet you do not know me? Whoever has seen me has seen the Father. Why, then, do you say, “Show us the Father”? I will ask the Father, and he will give you another Helper, who will stay with you forever. This is the Spirit, who reveals the truth about God. 

In THE DIVINE DANCE, Richard Rohr and Mike Morrell tell us, “We’re not of independent substance; we exist only in relationship. How countercultural! To the Western mind, relationship always looked like second or third best: “Who wants to be in a relationship? I want to be a self-made man”. (Rohr and Morell 45)

Taking in these words, we begin to understand why so many of us struggle to believe, to hope and to love in Christ. Our external world consistently tells us that we must excel, beat out, create, be first, be on alert, be strong, and beware of all that connects us to one another.

Taking in these words, we begin to see the clash that an intimate relationship with the Trinity will bring to us. This triad of strength through interdependence goes against the culture that surrounds us. Our internal communication with God reminds us that nothing we have and are comes from ourselves. All is a gift from God.

And so we ask, can we possibly believe this? Can we possibly hope in this? Can we possibly live this?

Today we examine Chapter 14 of John’s Gospel to look for signs of the relationship Jesus has with the Creator and the Spirit. Throughout the week, we continue to look at the divine dance Rohr describes.

When we explore varying versions of these words, we open ourselves to our special relationship with God.

Rohr, Richard with Mike Morrell. THE DIVINE DANCE: THE TRINITY AND YOUR TRANSFORMATION. New Kensington, PA: Whitaker House, 2016. Print. 


John 14: Trinity as Oasis

Mosaic over the entrance of the Holy Trinity Orthodox Church in Budva, Montenegro

Trinity Sunday, June 11, 2017

Richard Rohr, with Mike Morrell, describes the Trinity of Creator, Redeemer and Spirit as a perfect model for our own human relationships. The mystery of these three separate person unified in a single triad demonstrate for us how we enter into our own relationships. In their forward, Rohr and Morrell make the point that relationships are “exhilarating, frustrating, exposing, and too beautiful for words”. (Rohr and Morrell 21)

Taking in these words, we consider the power of the Creator, the compassion of the Redeemer, and the love of the Spirit. When each of these separate persons make room for the other two, they expand; they do not diminish. Can we imagine our own expansion in our intimate relationships rather than our disappearance? Might we make room for others without losing who we are? Can we shelter in the oasis of our relationships? Or do we avoid this trinity of creation, incarnation, transformation? Might we find the oasis of the peace we pursue, when we seek to understand the mystery of God’s Trinity?

Huacachina, Peru

Today we examine Chapter 14 of John’s Gospel to look for signs of the Trinity. Throughout the week, we will look at this divine dance as described by Rohr.

Click on the oasis image to read about how this tiny town survives the desert.

When we explore varying versions of these words, we open ourselves to God’s mystery.

Rohr, Richard with Mike Morrell. THE DIVINE DANCE: THE TRINITY AND YOUR TRANSFORMATION. New Kensington, PA: Whitaker House, 2016. Print. 

 


Acts 2:42-47: Community II – Words and Gestures

Saturday, June 10, 2017

Over a year ago, we looked at this citation during Advent and at that time we remembered that our own actions in community represent our relationship with God.  I always try to remember that my actions incarnate my belief in God.  My words and gestures toward my fellow humans are my expression, my composition, my painting, my metaphor of God. 

God wishes to live in community with us.  God desires intimate union with us.  God wishes to give us the goodness our hearts desire.  Today’s citation describes people living in the way God wishes for us, living as we all might in the here and now and as we all will in the next life: in true community, providing a shelter from life’s storms, coming together in a common belief, sharing goods, worshiping God, healing one another, bringing other believers into the fold through the telling of the good news of redemption.

If this is so . . . then we might look around us at the oasis we create with our own living.  Do we provide shelter to others?  Do we bring comfort where we can?  Do we share what we have?  Do we worship God together?  Do we heal one another’s wounds?  Do we tell the good news of our rescue to others?

Do we bring the hope of Christ to the world?  Do we live our faith in the Father?  Do we provide a sheltering place where the Holy Spirit might rest with us to heal our broken-hearted and our wounded?

Oasis in Libya

What sort of oasis do we prepare together?  Do we put aside all that divides?  Do we ask forgiveness where needed?  Do we forgive fully?  Do we remain in Christ in all of our actions?  Do we love justly?  Do we hope outrageously?  Do we unclog the stagnant spring in the heart of the oasis to allow the fresh, new Easter water to flow?

Where do we pitch our tents this Easter season?  Do we choose to remain in the stale backwater of old haunts and addictive habits, or do we allow ourselves to be transformed by Christ’s redemptive suffering in order to bring a newness to our own community . . . our own oasis?

And once we experience this gift of Easter life, what do we do with it?  Do we open our heart’s doors to the others whom God sends our way?

And every day the Lord added to our number those who were being saved.  Amen.

Tomorrow, the Trinity as oasis.

Adapted from a reflection on written on April 9, 2009.

 

 


Acts 2:42-47Community I – Bearing Fruit

Friday, June 9, 2017

Joseph Ignaz Mildorfer: Pentecost

In these days between Pentecost and Trinity Sundays we reflect on the gift of community as oasis. 

This description of the early church when the followers of Christ were still part of the Jewish community and all its tradition is one we might apply to portions of our own lives.  These are little oasis moments we experience on the harsh journey through life.  We need to stop awhile in these times to give thanks in recognition of both the gifts we have received . . . and the gifts we are to the world.

If we spend time meditating on these verses, we might experience a vision of how our own life might be if lived to the fullest.  We ask: What are the gifts we bring to our community?  Do we find our reward for bearing fruit in God’s name and for being gift in return?

As we read these verses, we explore our community of family, friends, neighbors and colleagues and we consider . . . who and what form our community? Whom and what do we include? Whom and what do we exclude?

And every day the Lord added to our number those who were being saved.  Amen.

Tomorrow, words and gestures. 

Adapted from a reflection written on April 9, 2009.

 

 


Ephesians 2:8: God’s Handiwork

Thursday, June 8, 2017ephesians-2-10.jpg

This verse is so important that it deserves our reflection time. Let us remember God’s infinite fidelity.

For it is by God’s grace that you have been saved through faith. It is not the result of your own efforts, but God’s gift, so that no one can boast about it. (GNT)

This verse reminds us that we cannot earn God’s love because this love is already freely given. Let us remember God’s infinite compassion for us.

For by grace you have been saved through faith, and this is not your own doing; it is the gift of God. (NRSV)

This verse recalls for us that we are all children of God. Let us remember God’s infinite mercy with us.

For you have been delivered by grace through trusting, and even this is not your accomplishment but God’s gift. (CJB)

This verse tells us that we are God’s handiwork. Let us remember God’s infinite hope in us.

For it’s by God’s grace that you have been saved. You receive it through faith. It was not our plan or our effort. It is God’s gift, pure and simple. You didn’t earn it, not one of us did, so don’t go around bragging that you must have done something amazing. (VOICE)

This verse is so important that it deserves our attention and time. Let us remember God’s infinite wisdom.

When we compare translations of this verse, we begin to understand the wonder of God’s marvelous work in us.


Ephesians 2:7-10: A Shower of Grace and Kindness

Wednesday, June 7, 2017

In faith, we abide with God, as God abides with us.

Now God has us where he wants us, with all the time in this world and the next to shower grace and kindness upon us in Christ Jesus.

In hope, we trust in God, as God trusts in us.

Saving is all God’s idea, and all God’s work. All we do is trust God enough to let God do it. 

In love, we live in God, as God lives in us.

It’s God’s gift from start to finish! We don’t play the major role. If we did, we’d probably go around bragging that we’d done the whole thing!

In faith, through hope, by love, we are images of God’s passion in a world longing for transformation.

We neither make nor save ourselves. God does both the making and saving.

In faith, through hope, by love, we are Christ’s hands and feet in the world looking for kindness.

God creates each of us by Christ Jesus to join God in the work God does, the good work God has gotten ready for us to do, work we had better be doing.

In faith, through hope, by love, we are the Spirit’s healing presence among people who yearn for peace.

When we compare translations of these verses and open ourselves to God’s kindness, we encounter the transforming power of God’s grace.

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