Monday, May 22, 2017

Transitioning into the Blessed Trinity

Jesus' apparently abrupt Ascension and promise of Pentecost just might give us a glimpse into the real depths of the Christian life.

If becoming a disciple of Jesus Christ was merely a matter of accepting him as one's personal savior or a matter of "meeting people where they are," then maybe the Lord would have extended his post-Resurrection appearances indefinitely--rather than returning to the right hand of the Father after forty days. No, the fullness of God's revelation in Jesus points to much deeper truths: The Risen Lord incorporates all of his followers into his new body, the Church, and then sends that body to complete his mission.

The human person longs for a personal relationship with God, but because of the brokenness and wounds caused by our sin, friendship with Jesus Christ and his Church is the only Way back to this restored relationship. It is both our vocation and our mission. As the Catechism puts it:

"The mission of Christ and the Holy Spirit is brought to completion in the Church,
which is the Body of Christ and the Temple of the Holy Spirit.... (n. 737)

"Thus the Church's mission is not an addition to that of Christ and the Holy Spirit,
but is its sacrament: in her whole being and in all her members,
the Church is sent to announce, bear witness, make present, and spread
the mystery of the communion of the Holy Trinity..." (n. 738)

Indeed, from the moment of the Incarnation, the mystery of Jesus Christ points us toward the Ascension and Pentecost. The Son of God became one with his creation, took on suffering and death, and then physically rose from the dead, in order to begin the dynamic process of re-ordering and re-integrating the entire creation back into full communion with the Creator. The mission of Jesus' followers is to participate in the return of the human race--and the whole cosmos--to the Father, in the Son, through the Holy Spirit.

With Christ now seated at the right hand of his Father, we can better understand that we live and move and have our being in him. We can experience communion with him, walk with him, and talk with him thanks to the same bond of the Spirit which has united the Father and Son for all of eternity. We can meet him in and through the Sacraments which he has left us to fulfill his promise, "Behold, I am with you always, until the end of the age" (Mt 28:20).

All we need to do is accept the gift of our Creation and Redemption. Let's pray that this process of becoming what we receive will continue to draw each of us into the fullness of life for which we long--the eternal and infinite Love of the Blessed Trinity.

Come, Holy Spirit!

P.S. If you are looking for a concrete way to be "part of something bigger," check out the Pentecost Vigil Project (6-3-17): "Let the Fire Fall".