Bishop of Lake Charles
Feast of The Most Holy Trinity
June 7, 2009
Cathedral of the Immaculate Conception
“We cry, ‘Abba, Father!’” Romans 8:15
Consider the importance parents place on the first word a child speaks. Do you remember? Parents at least wonder secretly, if not openly, whether or not it will be “Daddy” or “Mommy.” I know that parents wait with great anticipation for the day when the child opens its mouth and utters one or the other of the two words. The word brings joy to the family. The word is filled with affection and in one form or another will be on the lips of the child throughout his or her life. It is the first word of a life-long relationship. No other word a child ever speaks will receive as much attention. No other word will carry as much significance.
God was given a name. The apostles asked Jesus how to pray. He answered that we must begin prayer with addressing God as “Father” (cf. Luke 11:2). The word in Aramaic, the language Jesus spoke, is “Abba”, a word that literally means “Daddy.” Jesus was trying to tell us that God was a Father to us. Our relationship to Him is intimate and childlike, one of total dependence on God. He would care for our every need, right every wrong, never refuse us anything, and never withhold His love from us. As parents watch for the day when their child speaks its first word, God waits for us to call Him, “Abba.”
St. Paul speaks of this in the second reading of today. He tells us that the Spirit we have received is not one of slavery. There is no fear for one who is baptized and lives in the Spirit. Instead, we have “… received a Spirit of adoption, through whom we cry, ‘Abba, Father!’” (Romans 8:15). St. Paul continues, “We are children of God, and if children, then heirs, heirs of God and joint heirs with Christ” (Romans 8:16-17).
Our life with God is all about relationship. That is why the Trinity is so important. That is why Jesus wanted us to baptized “in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the holy Spirit” (Matthew 28:19). God is a community of love. The Persons of the Trinity are so much in love that they are indistinguishable. Into that relationship we are invited, and once in that relationship we share a Trinitarian life. That simply means that we are part of a great family, a deeper love, and never ending union.
There was a Carmelite nun named St. Elizabeth of the Trinity. She was canonized just a few years ago. She was a French nun who lived an exemplary life of love for God. Her very name, “of the Trinity”, directed her into a deep relationship with God. She had an expression which went like this: “La Trinité, voilà notre chez nous, notre demeure.” “The Trinity, behold our home, our true dwelling.”
God wants us to call Him “Father,” “Abba.” It is an affectionate name, a name that strikes at the very heart of our relationship with God. As a child speaks one, first powerful word that defines who the child is to the giver of earthly life, we say “Abba” to the author of all life. The Trinity speaks to us of our origin, our family, and our home.