The Official Newspaper of the Diocese of Little Rock

Love and trust lead us to deeper love and trust

Published: June 11, 2021   
Bishop Anthony B. Taylor

Have you ever figured out which came first, the chicken or the egg? It's a mystery, a circular mystery of cause and effect. Paleontologists can trace the evolution of today's chicken from dinosaur birds hatched from dinosaur eggs, but they still can't tell which came first.

In a similar way, love and trust are a circular mystery of cause and effect. Without trust, positive relationships are not possible and without positive relationships, trust is not possible. And since love is the greatest of all positive relationships, without trust love is impossible. This circular mystery of trust and love is cumulative, spiraling upward to greater trust and deeper love or in its absence, spiraling downward in a vicious circle of increasing distrust and eventually hatred. And since heaven is a place of perfect love, without trust heaven is impossible. But which comes first, the chicken or the egg? Trust or love?

Today we celebrate the feast of the Holy Trinity, God whose very nature is love -- which is a relationship. And since all relationships require another person with whom to relate, God has multiple persons at the very core of his being -- he is both one and three; he could not be love, which is a relationship, otherwise. One divine nature, love subsisting in three divine persons in an intimate relationship of love and trust, but which of the three came first: Father, Son or Holy Spirit?

Well, in terms of human history, God has revealed his three persons to us progressively: first in the person of the Father, our Creator, then thousands of years later in the person of the Son, our Redeemer and then finally on Pentecost in the person of the Holy Spirit. Moreover, the very words Father and Son seem to imply that one is older than the other. Human fathers are always older than their sons, but not in the case of God. God is love, which is a relationship, which requires multiple persons, therefore there never has been one person of the Trinity without the others. We humans may have known about the three persons of the Trinity for different lengths of time and theologians may be able to trace the development of our doctrine of the Blessed Trinity, but that's us going through a series of stages, not God. God is by definition eternal, so all three persons of the Trinity are logically the same age. Eternal means always and there's nothing older than always.

Eternal means always and there's nothing older than always.

So in the case of God's inner self, trust and love are an eternal circular mystery at the center of his very being. Similarly, in the case of human relationships, trust and love are also a circular mystery, though in our case neither eternal nor perfect. In the case of our relationship with God and God's relationship with us, trust and love are not a circular mystery. There is a starting point: God loved us first. And not just first, but also second and third and fourth and so on, as many times as necessary to finally elicit from us a response of trust. 

Like with a stubborn lawn mower, God pulled and continues to pull over and over and over again, trying to get something started with us, trying to get a response. And every part of God's divine self, every person of the Blessed Trinity always was and still is and always will be involved. Once we do respond, our relationship with God begins to spiral forward, our growing trust increasing our love for God and neighbor. And our growing love increases our trust in God and neighbor. And in the process, we change to become more like God ourselves, whose very nature is love.

Today is our signing day for Kevin Medina, who has heard the call of the Lord and has responded, and now is taking the next step which undoubtedly will be marked by growth in trust and in love for God and neighbor, just as I have described. And so we are grateful to Kevin for his response to the Lord and we pray for him, that he will continue to grow in love and trust in God whose very nature is love and who invites him into an ever deepening relationship with the Blessed Trinity, whose feast we celebrate today.

Bishop Anthony B. Taylor delivered this homily May 30.

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