Missionary Saints – The Holy Trinity

“The apostle is a chalice full to the brim with the life of Jesus, 
and his overflow pours itself out upon souls.
–  The Soul of the Apostolate

Mission is the overflowing of Trinitarian love for the transformation in Trinitarian love of the whole world. God is love. God as love is kenotic love –  a love that pours itself out for the salvation and deification of the whole world. This pouring forth of Divine Love into the world is the Divine Mission. Mission is the overflowing of the fountain of Divine Love into time and space, and very specifically, into our very hearts for the salvation and deification of all. The Father is the source of the Divine Mission. The Son is the embodiment of the Divine Mission. The Spirit is the dynamis of the Divine Mission. The Church is the continuation of the Divine Mission until Christ comes again.

Sacred Scripture reveals this “missionariness” of God. In Genesis, God goes forth looking for Adam and Eve who hid themselves in shame in the garden. God goes forth to visit Abraham to tell him that he will be the father of all the children of Israel. God goes forth to encounter Moses in the burning bush and on Mt Sinai to establish an enduring covenant of love with His chosen people. In the fullness of time, God the Father sent the Holy Spirit upon the Virgin Mary, and Christ was conceived in her womb. Because God so loved the world, He sent His only begotten Son so that all might be saved (Jn 3:16). Because God desires never to leave us orphan, He sent the Holy Spirit who will remain with us forever to dwell in our hearts, reminding us of all Jesus revealed to us about the Love of God (Jn 14:15-23).

The mission of the Triune God goes forth from love as love to bring all into love. As Joseph Ratzinger said, God is being for, being from, and being with. (see Truth and Freedom) The Trinitarian gift of Divine life is accomplished by the missions of the Son and of the Holy Spirit—that is to say, by their salvific sending. This very gift which enables us to know and love God draws us into friendship with the very Three who are One God. In and through the gift of created grace human persons are able to participate in God. The Divine missions of the Son and Spirit enable our return to God as well as gracing us with the capacity to participate here and now in the Divine life of love with the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. According to Trinitarian scholar Fr. Gilles Emery, OP, our returning will go beyond being endowed with a distant resemblance of God; it will mean being gathered into God himself. This intimacy of love is beyond words. It is the fullness of beauty, goodness, and truth.

Since the three Divine persons, Father, Son, and Holy Spirit share equally in the Divine essence, all act together in salvation history. As the Council of Florence states, “The operations of the Trinity ad extra are one, even though actions may be appropriated to particular divine persons.” The divine persons are united in their mission. Unity is a divine attribute that is to be reflected in the Church, the People of God; the Bride of Christ; Temple of the Spirit.

So what does this mean for us?
We are the continuation of the Divine mission in the world. We are to go forth from Trinitarian love as Trinitarian love to bring Trinitarian joy, peace, communion, truth, mercy, love to the whole world. Let us be united in faith, hope, and love, bearing with one another in patience and tender mercy, with humility.
We do this by being one with the Trinity in our life of prayer. We spend time in silent prayer, listening to the voice of the Father, who calls us “beloved.” We contemplate His sacred word. We faithfully participate in the Eucharist by a mystical sharing in the Mass both through interior attention and exterior action. The Mass is the primary and indispensable source from which we are sent (Ite missa est). We allow the Spirit to dwell within us through sacramental sanctifying grace. We are to be filled, pressed down, running over with the Love of the Triune God. Only then are we missionaries of God.

This is because it is not so much that we are sent, as much as the Divine Life and Love flowing through us spills out. We are sent so that Divine Love gushes forth from our actions, our words, our silence, our every interaction. Those who are filled with Divine Life and Love simply cannot hold it in. The missionary is a chalice filled to the brim with the life of the Triune God. And it is Trinitarian Love itself that abundantly overflows through us and pours itself out upon thirsty souls.