The Living Source
The great liturgical Solemnities of Pentecost and the Most Holy Trinity draw us into the heart of our shared Christian belief.
All Christian prayer begins by acknowledging God as Father, Son and Holy Spirit. Jesus spoke so often of his Father who he described as “Abba”. He promised the Holy Spirit that was given at Pentecost.
It took the early Church several centuries to articulate our fundamental belief in one God existing in three persons. We must articulate our treasured beliefs but the Mysteries of our Faith are so deep they cannot be contained in theological statements.
Turning to stories can help us understand these ancient and precious faith Mysteries.
I offer one possible story.
For some years I lived as a student in Rome not far from the Tiber River. Many times when I crossed the river I would look down and often said to myself, “If only this river could talk!” For well over 2,000 years there have been urban settlements on the banks of the Tiber around what is now called Rome.
On one long weekend, a priest friend from Italy invited me to his home in the Tuscan Hills.
Soon after we arrived he took me to the source of the Tiber River. Here I could see the birthplace of this most famous of rivers. From rock formations there were two little fountains coming out from the earth. The gushing water was pristine clear and abundant. A nearby sign stated, “Here is born the river, sacred to the destiny of Rome”.
In contrast to the polluted Tiber in Rome, the source of this river was a natural spring. One could drink from this water, the area was lush green forest.
It is a kind of symbol of the origins of our faith we celebrate in these high Liturgical solemnities.
Whatever may be said of our tepid and fractured response to the Christ event over 2000 years of Church history, we know these Easter Mysteries continue to be our living source of hope and healing. As we travel the river of our Trinitarian faith life between the first and the second comings of Christ, we know in conversion and repentance that it is the Holy Spirit who leads us. Let us keep this in mind with the forthcoming Plenary Council.
On these Solemnities we return once again to THE source of our faith, Jesus. “From his breast shall flow fountains of living water”. (John 7/38)