out with the pots etc.; in with the water

Remember being told in school never to define a target word using the target word itself?

…Last week, when I asked different grades of elementary students to define a leader, and/or to describe the game “follow the leader,” I realized just how tough adhering to that definition dictum is, no matter how young or old.

When they faltered, guess who was put to the test–and struggled! How hard it is, sometimes, to put our understandings into words.

Here it is today the feast of the Most Holy Trinity, and the homilist humbly apologized in advance for his human inadequacy, despite all his years of formation, to talk about the mystery of one God; three Persons.

Commiseration was easy! I could only imagine trying to wrap my meager brain around the Infinite Reality (impossibility #1), and then articulating that Reality in my limited vocabulary of finite words (impossibility #2).

Nonetheless, with some nostalgia, I missed hearing one or more of the homilists’ traditional veiled attempts at helping the congregation understand through explanations, albeit admittedly inadequate analogies, of old-fashioned three-legged cooking pots or stools, or even three-leaf shamrocks to concretize the Reality of Three Divine Persons in just One God.

Later, while surfing the religion networks, I did hear the more current analogy; one which, at least for myself, helps more than the traditional others.

Water is water. There is only one chemical formula for water. However, water might be in three different states: a solid state (ice), a liquid state (tap water), or a gaseous state (steam).

Water in one state is uniquely different from water in the other two states, as are the Three Persons different from each Other, yet just as all three states of water have the same one common nature: water,  all Three Persons share the same one nature: the nature of God.

As I share these thoughts, a thunderstorm has provided the noisy background, complete with ping-pong-like balls of hail bouncing noisily a few feet off the ground.

And I think of the rain which has fallen recently so devastatingly on regions of our country, and I remember, too, that storms are a part of the mystery of the universe, and that God reaches out to console His children through human hands of generosity.

And I pray for all those helping and needing help.

In times of rain and drought, God is Good. All the time. …How much in times of trouble do we need to be verbal and non-verbal signs of that goodness to each other.

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