Mass for the institution of Acolytes at Saint Patrick’s Cathedral

Sunday, 22nd May 2016

Dear Brothers and Sisters,

We know that God is Trinity because of what he has shown to us. Sometimes we try to picture the Trinity; like a triangle with three points, three interwoven circles, three fish formed into a circle or a shamrock. There is a unity and yet there are three distinct beings.

I like to think of the Father, all creating, giving us the Son and sending him into the world, actively as our Redeemer and who returns to the Father so that both send forth the Holy Spirit like breath to give life and love to our hearts.

The Councils of Nicea, Constantinople, Chalcedon, Toledo, Lateran IV, Lyons II, Florence and Trent have taught on the Trinity. Fathers of the Church – Justin, Theophilus, Hippolytus, Tertullian, Basil and the two Gregorys, Athanasius, Augustine, Thomas Aquinas, Hildegard, Julian of Norwich, Catherine of Siena, Saint John of the Cross have all taught on the Trinity. But understanding does not necessarily lead us to engage the person.

Our knowledge of God as Trinity is made possible by him who chose to be revealed as Father, Son and Spirit. As Father, God brought forth the universe and even our very selves. A Son, Jesus, has made known a God who hears our cries, who cares, who counts the hairs on our head and who loves so passionately as to become one of us, suffer for our sins and to die that we might live. As Spirit God remains with and within us.

Here we begin to experience what God is like and how near he is to you and me today. We pray, Glory be to the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit, as it was in the beginning is now and will be forever, because we know that God will never desert us. He will remain with us until, with Jesus, we will be called home.

God invites you and I to reflect their reality: (a) Like a parent, to be a giver of life to others, (b) To be human, to save others, to stand up for truth and the will of God our Father, (c) to be love poured forth and given for others who often will misunderstand us. This is the nearest I can come to saying that we share the life of the Trinity.

Our young men, chosen to be Acolytes, are to live in deepest union with Jesus and with the Father and the Holy Spirit. The Father, the Giver of life, will inspire them as they go forward in their studies. Jesus will nourish them in the Eucharist and the Holy Spirit will empower their minds and hearts to be ardent lovers and proclaimers of the Word made flesh, who died and rose for our salvation.

Let us stop and think. Is God working in each of these three ways in you and in me? Can I place myself humbly at the service of others as God does? Let us be sure that the Spirit of Truth will guide us in what we think and what we do and in the love that is in our heart.

May we know the mystery of your life by proclaiming and living our faith in you, Blessed Trinity.

+ Denis J. Hart,
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