God’s plan for you is that you will enter into His Trinitarian life.
This is the purpose for which you were created.
At your Baptism, the sharing in God’s life (grace) and immersion into His Trinitarian life took place. As a convert, I freely accepted God’s invitation to share in His love. Granted, I did not fully understand at sixteen years of age, and even today, I continue to study and meditate upon these mysteries.
This week, I invite you to encounter beauty and reflect upon the image of The Hospitality of Abraham or Icon of the Trinity by Andrei Rublev. Sr. Athanasius wrote an excellent commentary of the image which will deepen your understanding.
“In chapter 18 of Genesis, Abraham receives three visitors through whom God is mysteriously present. The event has been read in light of the New Testament, as it foreshadows the revelation of the Trinity. Rublev depicts the episode in accordance with this tradition to make the invisible God visible to us.
The three persons are seated at a table. Each carries a staff, indicating their lordship, surrounded by a halo of divine glory. They are equal in size and identical in features, showing that they are the same yet distinct. Their blue garments (the color of the heavens) indicate the divinity of each person.
The Father reposes at table on the left. His upright posture symbolizes His authority and precedence within the Trinitarian communion. His loving gaze takes in both the Son and the Spirit at one and the same time. His outer garment, wholly transparent and saturated with gold, represents the inaccessible glory of the divinity: no one has seen the Father except the Son. This transcendence is offset by the representation of the palace in the background above His head. It recalls that the Son has made the Father known to us and gives us access to Him: “In My Father’s house are many rooms” (John 14:2). He invites us to abide with Him.
The Son forms the point of the triangular arrangement of figures. A band of gold embellishes his red tunic symbolizing his humanity (the color of blood)—the divine nature and authority transform even His human nature. He looks to the Father and converses with Him, bowing slightly, reminding us that the Gospels reveal Him in continual conversation with the Father. He places two fingers on the table, symbolizing either the union of divine and human natures or the blessing of the table—the Son gives us the Eucharist. The Oak of Mamre situated directly above His head reminds us of His death on the Cross.
To the right, the Spirit sits quietly present within this communion. His glance is wholly directed toward the Father, even as He bows slightly before Him. His outer garment, of translucent green material, reminds us that He is revealed to us within the divine economy as the Spirit of creation, by whose power the world was made, and who is present to all of it.
Up to this point, we stand outside the exchange, contemplating it. Soon, however, the triangular arrangement draws our eyes to the table. It reminds one of the altar at Mass. A chalice rests on it, containing the sacrificed calf for the meal. The open space seems to beckon us into this communion of the Persons by partaking in Holy Communion.”
— Echoing the Mystery, Unlocking the Deposit of Faith in Catechesis p. 63
Spot the Virtue
Kindness is expressing genuine concern for the well-being of others and anticipating their needs. We all have experienced kind people in our lives. Perhaps a neighbor came over to see how you were doing. Or maybe a co-worker wrote you a note with words of encouragement. Perhaps it was that special friend who attentively listened when you needed to “get something out.”
When spotting the virtue this week, look for someone who demonstrates genuine kindness by simply listening attentively or who encourages or anticipates another person’s needs. For example:
Name: Joey, I noticed you encouraged Thomas when he struggled to run his lap around the school.
Explain: Encouraging Thomas was an act of kindness, enabling him to continue running and finish.
Express: It was beautiful to see you cared enough about him by supporting him and encouraging him not to give up.
This week, pay close attention to those around you. Spot the virtue of kindness when you see it and acknowledge it.
The ancient practice of lectio divina is a prayerful reading of the Scriptures. An excellent book, entitled The Beauty of Faith: Using Christian Art to Spread the Good News by Dr. Jem Sullivan, adapts this practice to sacred art. Here is a sample outline you can use to prayerfully reflect upon Rublev’s icon.
Lectio (Read): Silently study the image. As you study the image, ask: who and what is represented?
Meditato (Meditate): How are you drawn into the scene? Can you imagine yourself present at the table?
Oratio (Pray): Spend time praying with the image and allow yourself to enter into the life of the Holy Trinity.
Contemplatio (Contemplate): Throughout the week, carry the image in your heart and listen carefully to how God speaks to you.