“Why do we have to hear all this stuff about the Trinity?”
This question burst from a man in the audience at a talk given by a Jesuit priest.
“Why can’t we just be good to each other and go to church”?
The priest answered, “Because the Triune God is not some kind of brainy speculation by scholars. It is the way we experience God in this world. Christian living is the Trinity in action.”
Let’s examine the writings of Pope Francis from his encyclical, Evangelii Gaudium, Paragraphs 279 – 280.
“The Holy Spirit works as he wills, when he wills and where he wills; we entrust ourselves without pretending to see striking results. …
Keeping our missionary fervor alive calls for firm trust in the Holy Spirit, for it is he who “helps us in our weakness” (Rom 8:26). … Yet there is no greater freedom than that of allowing oneself to be guided by the Holy Spirit, renouncing the attempt to plan and control everything to the last detail, and instead letting him enlighten, guide and direct us, leading us wherever he wills.
The Holy Spirit knows well what is needed in every time and place. This is what it means to be mysteriously fruitful! (So) let us keep marching forward; let us give him everything, allowing him to make our efforts bear fruit in his good time. …
What does this have to do with sloth? Sloth is not the same as laziness. There are people who are REALLY busy, but they’re also slothful. They use busyness as a cover or as an anesthesia to dull themselves from what REALLY needs to be done in their life. The reason is that this usually means changing something in their personality or life that would allow them to thrive or actually addressing the real recurring problem or situation in their life. They simply don’t do the hard spiritual, mental or physical work needed to address the issue – or even begin to do so.
One scripture scholar points out that we have an example of this in Scripture. When Jesus was standing before Pilate (Jn 18:37-38), Pilate asked Jesus, with world-weary sophistication, “What is truth?” In the Gospel, Jesus actually gave this question its rightful answer (Jn 14:6): “I am the Truth,” he told his apostles.
But Pilate left without waiting for an answer. Why? Possibly because he was afraid of what the answer would be as well and indict out what he would have to do once he knew “the truth.”
So what does this look like concretely? Recently about 50 of our young parishioners received the Sacrament of Confirmation at the hands of Bishop Timothy Senior. The Gifts of the Holy Spirit were poured upon them. Remember these gifts?
A person who loves Christ and has the Spirit of Christ within them knows the Lord. And in the light of that knowledge, they can also see a lot of things that they would have been blind to before they came to love the Lord. The knowledge of the Lord puts a lot of things into perspective.
With that enlightened perspective, a person will understand something of the great arc of creation which begins from the Lord and returns to the Lord. They will see the goodness of the Lord operative in all of it.
With knowledge of the Lord, together with understanding of the arc of creation, a person will be able to discern, among ALL of the good things in life, which ones are the “great” ones and which ones are “small” ones. And this is wisdom.
Finally, with this knowledge, understanding, and wisdom, a person will also have insight into the way to find the great – good things of the Lord. This insight is counsel. Because they have opened to the Spirit of Christ, they know the Lord and they have received the gifts of Wisdom, Understanding and Knowledge, they are able to offer counsel to themselves about their role in this world – and can assist others to do so as well.
Our friend in the example above might then ask our Jesuit priest, “Ok, but I have are financial troubles and marital troubles and medical troubles. How do I find the truth about what I should do? Our Vision states that we are, “Called By Name – Gifted By God – Committed To Prayer – Driven To Serve – Abiding in Hope.”
- You can’t complete anything well unless you know how to do it.
- You don’t know how to do anything unless you have the talent to do so.
- You don’t exercise the talent unless you know you actually have it.
- You don’t know you have the talent unless someone tells you.
This is discernment (from the root word meaning “to cut away”). By trying stuff, succeeding or failing, listening to the advice and input of others, you begin “cutting away” the activities you’re poor at performing and don’t enjoy – and start moving towards the activities at which you’re proficient and that give you joy.
The Holy Spirit is the Spirit of Christ. Christ is the Truth, as the Lord says in today’s Gospel. Thus, the Holy Spirit is the Spirit of Truth. And The Spirit of Truth guides Christ’s people to all truth – about Christ, about the Father, about the Holy Spirit, about themselves. So, if the Spirit of Truth is within you, and you want to know what do do (or not do), then ask him. Then whatever the Lord tells you, do that – but no more! Matthew 6:34 states, “Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own.” To do more is pride. However, whatever the Lord calls you to do TODAY – do it.
To do less is sloth.
Pilate should have stayed for the answer to his question.
Audio version of the homily is here: