True love is 3-way

Posted on June 3, 2012


What is love?

God is love (1 Jn 4: 8).

And who is God? God is the Father, and the Son, and the Holy Spirit — a Trinity that shows love is neither one-way nor two-way, but always three-way.

We celebrate this dogma of the Triune God today, Trinity Sunday, as the central mystery of the Christian faith.

God is the Father not only because He is a Father to us, but because He is eternally Father to His only Son, “who is eternally Son only in relation to His Father,” says the Catechism of the Catholic Church.  “No one knows the Son except the Father, and no one knows the Father except the Son and anyone to whom the Son chooses to reveal him” (Mt 11: 27).

True love, however, is not two-way and cannot be complete with the Father and the Son only.

The Holy Spirit, thus, properly proceeds from the Father and the Son, called the Fruit of their Love. “And I will ask the Father,” Jesus says in the Gospel according to John, “and He will give you another Advocate to be with you always, the Spirit of truth, which the world cannot accept, because it neither sees it or knows it” (Jn 14: 16-17).

God is love because God is a relationship, between three distinct persons in one God.

The Trinity shows us that love should neither be self-love nor a fixation on another. It is, instead, a communion between a lover and the beloved and the fruit of their love. Love is, as Scott Peck says, “the will to extend one’s self for the purpose of nurturing one’s own or another’s spiritual growth” — and more than that, as the Trinity shows us, an act from which goodness proceeds to a wider community.

Whom or what, then, do we love? And how does this love bear fruit, and give life to others?

In the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit. Amen.