Today, the Church celebrates the Feast of the Holy Trinity. In this Diocesan Marian Year, it is a wonderful opportunity to reflection on how Marriage and the Family is truly, by God's design, a reflection of the inner life of the Holy Trinity.
The USCCB’s pastoral letter entitled, “Marriage – Love and Life in the Divine Plan” comments on this:
“First, like the Persons of the Trinity, marriage is a communion of love between co-equal persons, beginning with that between husband and wife and then extending to all members of the family…. This communion of life-giving love is witnessed within the life of the family, where parents and children, brothers and sisters, grandparents and relatives are called to live in loving harmony with one another and to provide mutual support to one another…. These relations among the persons in communion simultaneously distinguish them from one another and unite them to one another…. Therefore, just as the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit are distinctly who they are only in relation to one another, so a man and a woman are distinctly who they are as husband and wife only in relation to one another. At the same time, in a way analogous to the relations among Father, Son, and Holy Spirit, which unites the three persons as one God, the inter-relationship of the husband and wifmake them one as a married couple…. The Trinitarian image in marriage and family life can be seen in a second way. Just as the Trinity of persons is a life-giving communion of live both in relationship to one another and to the whole of creation, so a married couple shares in this life-giving communion of love by together procreating children in the conjugal act of love…” (pgs. 36-37)
What a beautiful theology of marriage. I wonder how many people, when they married, plumbed the depths of this at all. Those who live within the sacrament of marriage over a period of time begin in some way to experience what is being described here, and I suspect even those who live without the benefits of the sacrament, although faithfully and respectfully to each other, also catch a glimpse at least of this Trinitarian experience.
As a priest, I see on an almost daily basis the worst of marital situations. It is not easy to appreciate the depth of marital spirituality when faced with marital relationships marked by abuse, neglect, alcohol and drugs, infidelity or plain simple immaturity of persons. But when I speak to some who have lost their spouses through abandonment, death or betrayal, it can amaze me the depth of the bond they can and do experience.
Let us pray that when we gaze on the face of our husband or wife, we recognize the face of God, and in love completely give ourselves to him or her. In this way of loving, to which we are called, life is born, the Church renewed, and an openness to others in a spirit of hospitality and warmth is created.
Children also play a role in this reflection of the Trinity. The Holy Spirit is the outpouring of love between the Father and the Son (theologically called "spiration"). The Father and the Son love each other so much, that his love has to take shape in another Person - the Holy Spirit. Children are a reflection of this - as they are the result of the total gift of self to the spouse. Children are born out of a loving, sexual act - thus becoming forth from the love between husband and wife. This is, theologically, the root of the Church's teaching on married love and why sexuality, and children, belong only within the confines of Marriage - because they truly are a reflection of the Holy Trinity.
As, during this Marian Year, we celebrate and reflect on the mystery which is the Holy Trinity, let us ask Mary's intercession:
That through the intercession of the Blessed Virgin Mary, the sacred institution of Marriage will be protected in our nation and that our families will be strengthened to radiate the joy of God’s love - seen in the Most Holy Trinity.