Redwood Journal

Writings by Harry Martin, Permanent Deacon.


Holy Trinity

The Holy Trinity’s Call

The Most Holy Trinity ~ Solemnity ~ Bible Readings for Mass: I: Proverbs 8: 22-31; Responsorial: Psalm 8; I: Romans 5: 1-5; Gospel: John 16: 12-15

“The Holy TrinityEngraving by Adrian Ludwig Richter (September 28, 1803 aa June 19, 1884), a German painter and etcher. Photographed and edited by J. C. Rosemann.”

The Most Holy Trinity is deeply holy and mystical solemnity that we are called to share in the church this Sunday. One God, three persons, distinct, equal and One. Great minds and holy souls have sought to understand and explain God whom we worship and love.

The simple mind and little faith of this writer will not even attempt to teach or explain this great mystery. I can only share what I have experienced from my over fifty years of seeking to follow God, Father, Son and Holy Spirit. As a young man with no real religious education on matters of faith I was extraordinarily ignorant of things pertaining to soul and spirit. Yet God’s mercy sought, as God seeks us all, me. What began in the Redwood forests of northern California continues to this day.

In our short Gospel reading we can hear Jesus teaching us of the coming of the Holy Spirit, sent by God the Father to teach and guide us into all truth. And, in holy joyous deed the Spirit of God quietly yet dynamically works to bring us each closer, deeper into the eternal embrace of our Heavenly Father through His Son, Jesus.

I was introduced to God, to my Savior through the faithful, gentle and, stubbornly persistent witness of a co-worker in the state park where I lived and worked. As my faith journey began I realized many would be the questions and very few would be the answers I had. As I learned to pray and ponder this exciting mystery I struggled to understand. And the mystery of the Holy Trinity was an early source of great wonderings. But one Spring day as I worked and hiked the trails of my responsibilities I saw something.

Forest trilliums in spring bloom. [photo source unknown]

Trilliums were a familiar plant friend among the cool moist floor of the Redwoods. I knew them well and appreciated their beauty. But as I saw them that day they witnessed to me of our common Creator. As their name implies their three fold leaves with the beautiful three-petal flower would become an early lesson from the gospel of Creation. One flower, one plant, three part…but…One. From the soil of the forest floor my heart was introduced to God, The Father, The Son and The Holy Spirit. As promised in our reading from the Gospel of John the Holy Spirit was leading me into Him who is Truth.

The lessons continued and continue to this day. I would meet the Blessed Holy Three in One in the storms and challenges of work and life again. Water, in which I would be baptized, In the Father, Son and Holy Spirit, was another holy lesson in which I would be immersed. Water, H2O, is easy to understand. Or is it? What is the seeming magical power of this simple formula that can quench our thirst like nothing else? How does the sound of a flowing stream or crashing waves move our souls, to rest or to grow? Water, one, yet found in three forms. Frozen, liquid or vapor, yet all and each…water. It is also water that reveals to us the hidden beauty of light as it refracts light beams into the rainbow of promise found only in God.

California Coastal Rainbow [From:]

Depending where we are in life our understanding of these things will vary. Some can explain water, or lecture on the trillium in botanical detail. Many of us may have but limited knowledge. But every human soul, regardless of our intellect, education, faith or place in life can and will relate to each of these gifts of creation given by God. And each one of us is created and called by God, not to just try to understand but relate to God. Father, Son and Holy Spirit. That relationship to God is AWOKEN through the Holy Spirit who brings us to be immersed in the waters of baptism. We then are called to grow in REALIZING God in and through or lives. This will bear the fruit of our WITNESS for the fullness of who is God.

AWAKEN ~ Life at times can be very wearisome, if not exhausting. Our need for rest and renewal is designed within our body, soul, and spirit. The Trilliums of Spring need a long season of dormancy in the dry and warmer days of summer and early Fall. Sometimes we may feel stuck in our places or times of being dormant. But in God’s season His angels call us: Awaken! Be! Become! That person whom God created and calls you to be be! We must allow the seasons of holy darkness and even perhaps the sense of being buried or forgotten. There are times when we must renew, in spirit our drenching in baptism’s holy waters. It is to awake from our sleep to new and holy graces of God the Father, the forgiveness in His Son and the leading of the Holy Spirit.

REALIZE ~ God! Most of us are not called to be great academics or leaders of intellectual spirituality. But each of us is called, by Him who walks with us, to realize God in and through our lives. When I encountered my simple lesson of the Trilliums I did so while trudging a trail I walked numerous times a day. My day-to-day work required those steps. But God was leading. And when, where the time was best God allowed me to realize His holy Presence anew. So it is with each of us. Every day of our life, as we awaken to being with God we should anticipate the Father’s love, Jesus’s merciful call and the Holy Spirit’s whisper of hope and Truth.

WITNESS of God ~. One cannot encounter the cold waters of a swim or the warm flow of a cleansing shower without witness to the experience. And our relationship with God, Father, Son and Holy Spirit is the same. When anything in life is experienced we will respond and we will witness, good, bad or indifferent to what we have encountered. This brings us to ask ourselves, what is our witness of God? If we experience a restaurant where the service is poor and the food is lacking in quality and the prices are high will our witness to the eatery likely bring others in? if our relationship with God is lacking in service, if the meal offered by our Lord is not what we might want, if the cost seems too high what will our witness to God be?

If our witness is lacking for God it is not because of God. The Father gives us His best, His Son, empowered by the Holy Spirit the Holy Trinity seeks us to come and be, come and become who we are created and redeemed to be. What holy surprises await? What untold graces of God’s love seek to awaken us, to be realized in ways far greater than our hopes and need to be witnessed to, in the Name of the Father, The Son and the Holy Spirit?

Celtic Abbey [photo source unknown]

“O Father who sought me, O Son who who bought me, O Holy Spirit who taught me.” ~ Douglas Hyde, Songs of Connacht, Volume II

Most Holy Trinity Sunday ~ 2020

Readings for Mass: I: Exodus 34:4b-6, 8-9; Responsorial: Daniel 3:52-56; II: II Corinthians 13:11-13; Gospel: John 3:16-18

Today we celebrate the Most Holy Trinity. Minds and hearts much better than mine have sought to help us understand this immense mystery of our faith. God the Father, God the Son, God the Holy Spirit…One God in three persons is one of the most profound challenges of our faith and for our understanding. Yet in Scripture from the ancient Hebrew of the Old Testament to the Greek of the New it is a Truth, at times veiled, but also one boldly proclaimed. Although the word “Trinity” is not to be found anywhere in Scripture this living Truth powerfully abides in an holy majesty and infinite love.

This abiding Truth is challenging our understanding to great degrees of frustration. As we wrestle with the Holy Spirit to try to get this essential reality of our faith into our minds we can sense one of those holy whispers of God. We will never understand the Holy Trinity. But we are called to simply relate to God the Father, God the Son and God the Holy Spirit.

This blessed realization can be countered at the coast. As we, smell, feel, hear the beauty and power of the Pacific Ocean we simply can embrace our relationship with the ocean we are witnessing. We can recognize that our respective “visions” of the ocean in no way encompass the immense scope of these waters. We indeed can truthfully say we know about the ocean. We can swim, surf, scuba the warm Pacific waters of Southern California. We may visit, work or live along the coast of Northern California on calm warm days and stormy times of intense waves and currents. But our understanding is so…small. We never have explored the deepest depths, the immense miles of coastline, the coral reefs, the creatures of the deep. We realize our understanding is so much like our faith. We are so confident and comfortable with what is familiar. But have no real realization of all that lies beyond our mental grasp..the sister oceans, the diverse waters all provide a living portrait of our Triune God.

This beautiful time to focus on the Most Holy Trinity may we allow what is a very finite example, the majesty of the oceans, to invite us to plunge into our relationship with God.

May we immerse ourselves in the majestic power and love of our Heavenly Father. May the eternal currents of God’s mercy draw us ever closer into His holy embrace, drawing us away from the tiny brackish pools of fear or doubt we may have encountered in our lives.

May we each dive deeply into the eternal love that is God the Son, Jesus. As He pours upon us waves of cleansing and buoyant power, waves that would not drown us in sorrow or brokenness as does the world but waves of hope and life. Waves that even in the storms of life can bring us to peaceful waters of rest and assurance.

And may we each swim freely in the waters of life of the Holy Spirit. Growing in the Truth and our relationship with the fullness of God and each other we then grow in the fullness of God’s people we are created and redeemed to be.

Immersed in this infinite power and holy beauty that is God we realize that there is no way to separate or understand all that is God. But we also realize that we have the tragic power to damage and destroy this relationship of holy love and life.

Rebellion and humans mindful only of self and not of God pollute their relationship with God and each other. This intense sadness is seen in the way we pollute and destroy the creation given us by our Creator to care for and use for His glory and the good of all.

In our pilgrimage of faith my we trust our Lord to lead us to grow in our relationship with God, Father, Son and Holy Spirit.

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