Rublev’s Trinity Icon is pact with information and Symbolism. The figure on the left is God the Father. The Son, with his head turned to look at the Father in the middle, and the Holy Spirit is the figure on the right.
Each of the figures is of equal size and importance––no member of the Trinity is greater than another but all are co-equal.
The fourth side of the table is open to the viewer. We are invited to come and join them, to be one with God. We are welcome to come and dine, to come and love, to come and be one with God. A place has been set for us.
This is an illustration of our ultimate destiny – to join the Trinity in Heaven for all eternity. But if we look again we realise something else…
In the chalice on the table is the head of an animal. Some describe this as a calf (to represent Abrahams sacrifice) and others describe this as a lamb, to remind us of the Eucharistic sacrifice where we receive the Lamb of God – the body of our Lord.
In this way we can recognise the table as an altar, and Christ occupying the position where the priests stands during Mass. In fact this is exactly what the priest does: he stands in Persona Christi – in the place of Christ.
Once we understand this we realise that we do not have to wait until after death to come and sit at the table of the Trinity. As Catholics, we are invited now, at every Mass we attend. When we go up to receive Holy Communion, we are being invited to approach the table of God and enter into the life of the Trinity by receiving the Body of Christ – the Lamb of God.
A place has been set for us. God desires us to join Him now. We are being invited to begin our eternal relationship with the Trinity now.
I remember walking into a confirmation class not long ago when the question ‘What is the trinity, Father?’ was quickly thrust upon me. I gave an iffy look to the catechist who quickly came back with the reply ‘Well I want you to imagine that God the Father is Ice, Jesus is water, and the Holy Spirit is Steam’ as she beamed a smile out to the youngsters. ‘And you see they’re all one, but yet distinct!’
I didn’t have the heart to tell her she had just committed the heresies of partialism, Arianism, and modalism!
The Trinity is a deep mystery of faith, but it is pure love and relationship. Try and describe your relationship with someone in a few sentences or words…. Impossible!! But, however, I offer you today a weak but beautiful description of the Blessed Trinity:
God the Father is the Lover, God the Son is the Beloved, and the Spirit is Love. You cannot have love without a beloved, or a lover, and you can’t have a beloved without a lover or love, all three are necessary but distinct and they are all equal because they participate in love; they are all one. We were made out of love, to love, for love, and to love we will one day return. As a song springs to mind, well, all you truly need is love.
Thought for the week…
Lover, Beloved and Love.
Glory be to the Father, and to the Son, and to the Holy Spirit.
As it was in the beginning, is now, and ever shall be. World without end. Amen.