Trinity: Contemplating Love

Scripture    John 3: 16-18


Jesus said to Nicodemus:

"God so loved the world that he gave his only-begotten Son,

so that everyone who believes in him 

may not perish but may have eternal life."



For several years now I have found that my experience with icons has profoundly changed my life - not only my prayer, but the entirety of my life. I seemed to have just "found" them... or maybe they found me, for they have been part of the rich heritage of our Catholic Church and the Byzantine Church for centuries. In recent years there has been a "rediscovery of icons by Western Christians. There is an increasing awareness that the icon is not merely a work of art, but is also an aspect of divine revelation and of our communion with God in the Church. The icon reveals a world of beauty, harmony and peace. The icon also challenges us to purify our spiritual vision and turn away from excessive materialism. It invites us to reconcile ourselves with God and to welcome the Holy Spirit within us."  (Michel Quenot, in The Word is Life magazine, November 1995, p. 12)


This "window of heaven" then will be our soul-mate as we pray this week the Act of Self-Oblation to the Trinity given to us by our beloved spiritual founder, Jean-Pierre Medaille, SJ. I invite all of us to come before this Trinity icon with ease and gentleness. "The profound beauty of an icon is gentle. It does not force its way; it does not intrude. It asks for patience with the uneasiness of early acquaintance. It asks for time spent before it in stillness of gazing. More important, it asks the one praying to allow him/herself to be gazed upon by it. One must yield space within self to the icon and its persistent beauty."   (Helen Weier,  An Icon is Prayer and Contemplation Transformed into Art, p. 10, The Word of Life)


What is unique about this art form is the perspective. The Trinity gazes from the window of eternity at 'you'. Instead of the usual perspective of going into the picture, the icon/image is coming out towards 'you'. This creates the sense of Presence, the contemplative oneness with the mystery. I am in it! The icon of the Blessed Trinity is beautifully prayed with in Behold the Beauty of the Lord by Henri Nouwen, 1987. It was painted by Andrew Rublev in 1425 in memory of the great Russian saint, Sergius. Nouwen calls it "Living in the House of Love."   


To you, Most Holy Trinity, Father, Son and Spirit, I desire to make a total consecration of all that I am.

GOD, MY FATHER   (holiness)

God, my Father,

I offer myself to You.

I earnestly desire to do:

What I know to be most perfect.

What will be for Your greatest glory.

What I believe to be most pleasing to you.

Give me the grace to move always

towards this wholeness of being in you.

SON OF GOD  (humility)

Son of God,

I offer myself to You.

Help me to humble myself

for love of You.

By imitating You, I desire

to practice the most profound humility.

to generously undergo the stripping of my “false” self.

Give me the grace

to move always towards

this truthfulness of being in You.


Spirit of God,

I offer myself to You.

I long to free my heart

from the inordinate love of all created things

in order to fill it with the pure and perfect love of God.

Help me in everything I do

to have this constant practice of pure love.

Give me the grace to move always towards

this purity of loving in You.

Ponder your RELATIONSHIP with the THREE. Share whatever you wish of an experience of 'com-union' you received during your contemplations. This icon communicates beautifully Jesus' words to Nicodemus and to us... truly... God SO LOVES the world!!

Carrying Grace   A mantra to the Trinity:  God with us. God within us. God beyond us. ( Elizabeth Johnson, ssj)  




#2 arletteh 2011-06-20 17:33
would expect it:in the depths of our sufferings. The infinite, unfathomable love of the Trinity is our hope!
#1 arletteh 2011-06-20 17:26
Yes, the gentleness of this icon of the Trinity is what I am most aware of now: the beautiful, gentle relationship between the Three, the complete deference to and consideration of the other, which keeps going around .There is a sense of complete equality, of given-ness to what IS. The Three together are the I AM .They have no agenda other than to BE in all who are and in all that is .We give flesh to the I AM in us. And we need not fear: The Three are for us, in us, and with us. Last night, in the semi-darkness, I was so very much aware of this icon (in my room ).I was aware of the light of the halos, that connection with the infinite beyond; I was aware, very much , of the shapes in the picture and had especially a wonderful sense of how the incarnate one ,the one with us ,was so lovingly embraced by the forms of the father and the spirit, those forms seemingly forming hands ,making the shape of a cup around the anointed one. We are so lovingly embraced, and that when we least would expect it: in the depths of our sufferings. The infinite, unfathomable Love of the Trinity is our hope!

You must LOGIN to add a comment.