Monday, May 28, 2018

Trinity and Identity: New Implications for the Age-Old Question, "Who am I?"

"The mystery of the Most Holy Trinity
is the central mystery of Christian faith and life....
The whole history of salvation is identical with the history of the way
and the means by which the one true God, Father, Son, and Holy Spirit,
reveals himself to men 'and reconciles and unites with himself
those who turn away from sin'."

(CCC, n. 234)

God's self-revelation is the only thing new under the sun.  The fact that "the one true God, Father, Son and Holy Spirit," has spoken changes everything.  And the fact that the human person reflects this Trinitarian mystery calls for a deeper look at questions of personal identity.

Today's questions of identity seem stuck in a monolithic myth as old as the human race:  Who I am is simply a matter for me to decide.  As a totally unique individual, I become an authentic person only by exercising my free will as I see fit.  "I am who I am"--or, perhaps more accurately, "I am what I will"--and that's the end of the story.

In contrast, the deeper Trinitarian truth discloses that my distinctively unique "self" exists not an isolated individual, but always as a person in relationship.  Indeed, from the very beginning, I receive my life as a gift from Another.  Then, in response, I pour myself out as an offering in return, a sacrifice of praise.  I find myself not by willing my will, but by giving--by emptying myself at the service of the Giver of "all good giving and every perfect gift" (Jas 1:18).  

Of course, my identity here and now is always "already-but-not-yet":  During my earthly sojourn, I will remain incomplete and in need of reconciliation with the perfection of Love toward which I am being called for all eternity.  The all-knowing and all-merciful Communion of Persons knows that I have been wounded--both by original sin and by my own personal sin--and so unity with the Blessed Trinity will come as a healing remedy for my deepest longings.  

I am not perfect, and yet God's personal and communal grace makes me eminently perfectible.  I am an adopted child of God who is Love, and this reveals the deepest truth of who I am. 

To accept this gift opens me onto the Trinitarian Life which is eternally new, a Family which is always a single whole.  For now and forever.