|By Fr. Brendan McGuire
Pastor of Holy Spirit Parish, San Jose and Vicar General for special projects, Diocese of San Jose. Email him at firstname.lastname@example.org.
The Sauce of Life
As an adult, I ventured into cooking. A good friend, who is a chef, taught me all these different sauces. I have learned how a sauce can change a meal. It doesn’t have to be very sophisticated; a very simple sauce can tie all the ingredients together in a most magnificent way. Something as simple as a brown butter sauce can transform simple fish. The sauce ties all the simple ingredients together. It doesn’t change the ingredients. It complements and brings them together.
I think of this as a metaphor for the Trinity. We refer to all three persons in one God; they complement each other and they do bring each other alive. There is this sense of integrity to the three persons. We can think of the Holy Spirit as the sauce that ties it all together. There doesn’t have to be a lot of the Holy Spirit for us to come alive. As Catholics, we’re afraid of the Holy Spirit; too much Holy Spirit and we might be talking in tongues!
But if we allow the Spirit in, it will change our lives. The Spirit is playful. The Spirit is alive. The Spirit gives us energy. The Spirit is a gift from God that brings his presence alive in our hearts here and now.
As we celebrate Trinity Sunday, there is a temptation to talk about it in doctrinal terms. But the real purpose of the Feast of the Holy Trinity is to experience God in the wholeness of who God is, three persons in one substance. God the Father created us in his own image. God the Son became one of us to redeem and validate our humanity, to show us the way to the Father. God the Holy Spirit sanctifies and makes our life holy, and also enlivens our life by the very gift of God’s presence within us.
Just like making a sauce for a dinner, it takes an extra effort. We have to invite the Holy Spirit into our lives and allow it to take over some space in our life. It won’t just happen; we have to use our free will. Basically, the Holy Spirit is the love that flows between God as Father and God as Son.
So, when we participate in loving one another, we participate in God’s very self, the substance of who God is. When we choose to love, then that love brings us to a different place. It helps us to be better people, and it’s in that exchange of allowing ourselves to be loved and to love in sacrificial ways for the sake of the other that we become more than who we are. We become more divine in some way because we have allowed ourselves to be full of God’s love and God’s Spirit.
We are opening our hearts so God will allow us to be loved and then we can love others. It is that virtuous cycle that improves our lives and who we are. As we celebrate the Trinity of God, may we come to experience God’s love in each other.