Editor’s note: Today, July 4th, marks the observation of Independence Day in the United States–a celebration of freedom. We are often reminded that this great earthly freedom of ours was not free, but purchased with the blood of our countrymen. So too are we given the freedom to love. So too was this freedom purchased with Someone’s Blood. We thank Dr. Anthony Lilles for this reminder as we set today apart to thank God for authentic freedom of all kinds.
The journey out of self and into God is long and arduous. This pathway traverses a bottomless abyss, and we row along unaware of the doom that threatens beneath us.
Progress is measured only by a greater freedom to love – for only in love is the truth of our lives unfurled. The One God is not indifferent to our plight but will not force us as we make our way. Yet, His long-forgotten love is the ocean on which we sail. So He subtly draws us with Love’s own dynamism until we believe and choose to set our course by His voice.
The Lord is motivated only by His desire that we should not perish but instead come to know Him in the deepest and most personal way. In this excelling knowledge, eternal Friendship Himself offers the astonishing promise of true friendship. In the face of this tender and sincere offer, we discover our poverty: that deep dark hostility to God and the things of God. This abyss of death pulls at us and threatens to imprison us until nothing good, noble or true about our lives is alive at all. To be trapped in our own ego—this is to be already dead.
Only the freedom to love beyond ourselves allows us to live. Here, before the mystery of death where our voids and inadequacies make themselves felt, we also discover grace.
We ask for help because this gift has evoked our prayer – that gift of new life won for us by Christ’s passion and death. It is grace that enables us to struggle against our hostility to God. By sheer grace, we find that steep passage out of the prison of our own ego and into those open seas, on which alone freedom to love is found.
If we think we are doing all the work because of the determination and perseverance the freedom to love demands, we are mistaken. All the trials, hardships, sacrifices and renunciations that love requires are only a frail response to a greater love already lavished on us. The Father carefully draws us by His Word and the Gift of the Holy Spirit into this hidden mystery. If we are timid and not confident in the immensity of His love, the Holy Spirit engenders new confidence and the Word not only reveals why we should be confident in the Father but communicates His own confidence in us, the confidence of a child of God.
So, the Trinity is patient and gentle, accomplishing the most delicate work even in our inconstancy and lukewarmness. We avoid, we delay, we put off. He waits, He runs, He embraces. With longing expectation, He orders events, even making use of catastrophes, so that, though we are unaware, we will suddenly find ourselves implicated in His love. Such are the deep currents of the Holy Trinity.
We set out on a peaceful sea and believe we have found peace until unexpected mighty swells take us under into depths we did not know existed – abysses deeper than death. We would never have desired to go into such difficult places, and yet our faith helps us realize that somehow this present heartbreak is good, though that goodness seems hidden from our sight. Yet we believe — for in these depths are found the heights of God’s love, its length, and breadth—cruciform dimensions too great for this frail world to hold.
And only here are we, at last, at rest in that peace for which we were made.
What a paradox. The Trinity takes away a certain peace that we thought we held secure to give another, more wonderful peace. He Himself holds us safe in this quiet stillness with an assurance more sure than death itself. For in these mysterious currents of the Holy Trinity, love’s freedom fully lives.
This post appeared originally in Beginningtopray.blogspot.com as “Mysterious Currents of the Trinity.”
Featured image courtesy of Unsplash.
Photo of boat used with permission of Pixabay.