Tuesday, June 9, 2009

Reflections on the Trinity

Sorry I haven't finished my comments on women in Paul yet. I'm a bit behind on posts. So instead, in honor of the Trinity whose solemnity we just celebrated, I'm posting below a reflection on the Trinity that I gave to some of the seniors on one of my retreats. They found it very helpful, particularly because it offers concrete ways of praying to each of the Divine Persons, using three kinds of love in Greek from C.S. Lewis' analysis in The Four Loves as their tools for prayer. Use it if you find it helpful. I think the Trinity often gets the shaft in our prayer, but it is at the heart of Ignatian spirituality.

Indeed, Arrupe offered an analysis of the Ignatian revelation as ultimately trinitarian. Ignatius' first profound mystical moment was beside the Cordoner river, where he was given the building blocks of the Spiritual Exercises. He was given there, he tells us, a profound knowledge of the meaning of the Incarnation, of the work of the Son.

Then, while outside of Rome at La Storta, he had a vision of himself being placed by the Father with his Son, and heard the words, "I will be propitious to you in Rome."

Finally, while discerning the meaning of Jesuit poverty in his personal diary, he had profound experiences of the Holy Spirit, including groans, tears, and an experience of something he called loquela, which no one knows how to translate.

These were his three most mystical moments, revealing his spirituality to us as eminently trinitarian. I'll write more on that tomorrow if I can, before we get to the feast of Corpus Christi. That will deserve its own reflections.

So here are those reflections:

Prayer Sheet
Relationship with the Trinity

Three Kinds of Love:

Storgae: Love of a child for his parents and vice-versa

• Words that describe: Affectionate, unconditional, strong, constant, pure, without any ulterior motives, condescending, always there, generous, trust
• Goal: Growth, development, maturity, security

Philia: Love of friendship

• Words that describe: Brotherly, honest, comfortable, open, non-exclusive, easy
• Goal: Personal development, deeper awareness of myself, fun, comraderie, holiness

Eros: Romantic love
• Words that describe: Overwhelming, incredible, passionate, exclusive, intense, emotional, difficult sometimes, creative, intimate, eyes
• Goal: Growth in love, joint holiness, children, unity and one flesh

God the Father

• Kind of love: Storgae

• Kind of Prayer: Asking for help, thanking, praising, looking up to him as your Father, needing mercy, sharing problems, etc. Jesus in the Garden, “Dad, take this cup from me.” Profound trust. This is what we need to develop.

• Personal fruit: Sonship. To be able to call myself a Son of God. That is the most important thing I can ever say about myself. Develop this relationship. Learn to call out to God as your dad, as your father. This is one of the most important things that Jesus came to teach us. This is part of what it means to be a Christian. Learn to do this, or you have an inadequate relationship with God.

Scriptures: Romans 8:14-17; Psalm 131. Be quiet and still with your Father who loves you. Learn to call him Abba. Learn to let him love you.


• Kind of love: Philia

• Kind of prayer: Of equals, easy, honest, open, personal, questioning, problem-solving, catching up. Don’t be afraid to talk about regular things. He wants to know, from you. Jesus my age, at my experience level. He was the age of all of us. Ask him about girls he liked. What did he do about it?

• Personal Fruit: Friendship with God. Learn from Jesus how to really be a good friend. Learn to share yourself, and offer yourself.

Scriptures: John 1:35-39; John 15:12-17

The Holy Spirit

• Kind of love: Eros

• Kind of Prayer: Intense silence, music (sing her a love song), praising (think of how much time you spend praising your girlfriend), gazing into her eyes, open hands, use of the body as we expect from erotic love.

• Personal fruit: Lover of God.

Scriptures: Joel 2:28-29; Wisdom 7:25-27; Romans 8:26-27

Nathan O'Halloran, SJ

1 comment:

Joseph Fromm said...


I thought I would add a little.

St. Ignatius in Spiritual Exercises


ALTHOUGH it is, in the highest degree, both praiseworthy and profitable to serve God from pure love, yet the fear of the Divine Majesty is greatly to be commended. Neither that fear alone, which we call filial, which is a thing most pious and holy, but also that other, which we call servile fear. Indeed it is profitable to a man, and very often necessary, when it happens that we desire to raise him quickly from deadly sin from which, while we are free and separate, the ascent will be more easily open to us, to that filial fear which is wholly acceptable with God, which furnishes and preserves to us the union of love with GOD himself.

Then John 17:24

Father, they are your gift to me. I wish that where I am, they also may be with me, that they may see my glory that you gave me, because you loved me before the foundation of the world.