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Friday , 7 June 2024

Encountering the Great Mystery

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Dina Mananquil-Delfino
Dina Mananquil-Delfino
Dina was former editor-in-chief of The Philippine Times and has been its columnist for over 20 years. She has written two books, "Colours of Life" and "Under His Wings". Dina has been in the helping field for 40 years in the various roles she has fulfilled – teacher, employee in different organisations, volunteer, pastoral care worker. She is a member of Australian Counsellors of Australia (ACA) and Counsellors Victoria (CV). DINA IS A QUALIFIED COUNSELOR AND PASTORAL CARE WORKER. She can be contacted on 0430 214 917. Email dinadelfino.tlc@gmail.com for comments or feedback on this story).
The grace of the Lord Jesus Christ, and the love of God, and the communion of the Holy Spirit be with you all. Amen. 
2 Cor 13:14

As I write this article, it is the Feast of the Holy Trinity in the Catholic church, truly one of the greatest mysteries of our faith. As Dr Rosemary Canavan in her article on the uniqueness of God as Trinity says, this mystery is part of the revelation of God, as we encounter the Biblical journey of the relationship of the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit. 

There are many attempts to explain this mystery, and although a theological approach is helpful, I know I can only approach it in faith through my experience of them. I have come across the loving goodness of the Father, in His deep care for me and my loved ones and that He never wants me lost. As He is pure love, I know all He wants is to love me. I wish, of course, that I could return His great love even amidst my imperfect state. 

The saving grace of Jesus through His life, passion, death and resurrection was outpoured on me on my baptism, and then in a more intimate way in the year 2000, when I experienced the tremendous love of Jesus. When Jesus made me suffer a part of His pain through a mystical vision, I was transformed by His amazing grace. As the Holy Spirit came upon me in a deeper way through the Baptism of the Holy Spirit in the year 2000, the love of the Trinity was sealed, as He gave me spiritual gifts so I can bear fruit that will last for God’s Kingdom. 

But life continues to be riddled with mysteries. I have a 98-year-old adopted aunt who lives on her own, does not have any medication and is very cognitive. My mom died of a heart attack at age 79, having had to take 12 tablets a day. My dad at 91, when he passed away, struggled with bowel and prostate cancer and kidney failure. A resident we took care of in the aged care I work in, died of a brain disease in his 70s, after serving as a mission doctor overseas and giving of himself for others for many years. A beloved parish priest died young, shaking my faith for a time.

And now when a niece shared that she wants to convert to the Muslim faith, with all of us her family being Christian, it has distressed us. An article by Hedieh Mirahmadi who was a devout Muslim for two decades working in the field of national security before she experienced the redemptive power of Jesus Christ and has a new passion for sharing the Gospel is very encouraging. 

At present, our family is “powerless”, but not hopeless, because as she said, “we have a relatively short period of time with our kids before the world takes over and our influence wanes. Sending them off to youth ministry, which all these girls claimed to have done, is excellent, but more is needed. Ultimately, they must have a personal relationship with Jesus to have a faith that endures. My teenager is struggling with issues of faith, so I constantly remind her that the Holy Spirit dwells inside her and that she can communicate directly with God. I tell her faith doesn’t have to look like mine and that He wants to meet her where she is. If they pursue that personal encounter with God, He will fulfill His promises to them, and we have set them up for success. As He says in Scripture, “The Helper, the Holy Spirit whom the Father will send in My name, He will teach you all things, and remind you of all that I said to you” (John 14:26).

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Only God can truly convert and transform a heart, but our role as Christians is to exemplify being a good witness for Jesus. Being flawed, we fail many times as parents, grandparents, elders, and community members but let us not give up praying. St Monica prayed for St Augustine for 17 years. 

We take comfort in her legacy that transcends the confines of time, resonating with individuals across generations. Her story serves as a poignant reminder of the enduring strength found in faith and the transformative power of maternal love. Through her example, Saint Monica imparts a timeless lesson on the potency of prayer and the profound impact of unwavering devotion. The narrative of her life continues to inspire and uplift, offering a testament to the enduring influence of faith and the boundless nature of a mother’s love. (source: Christian.net)

In the Vatican News, the writer, Abbott Martin Lacey, reflects that “Trinitarian life changes our life and transforms it. It changes our life by becoming its new end, or telos. We no longer live for ourselves but for God by invitation (cf. 2 Cor 15:5; Jn 17:21). Because of this new end, our life is transformed.  It does not need to be mastered by desires and inordinate inclinations; instead, these are tamed by wisdom, self-control, fortitude, and according to their ability to bring us to our end. A transformative effect of this reality is that our desires are not negated but find deeper meaning and give glimpses of the life to come. Desire for food no longer needs to be a temptation for gluttony, but simply gives life to the body. This alludes to the feeding of the mind with the Word (Mt 4:4) and the nourishment of the Body and Blood for the soul (Jn 6). Injustice no longer needs to be an occasion for outbursts of anger, but simply a recognition of a need for healing that can inspire personal commitment to acts of mercy (Mt 25:31-46) and increase hope for the Sun of Justice to return. These are only a few examples of the transformative effects of the Trinity; the truth is, that the Trinity encompasses all.

Glory be to the Father, and to the Son and to the Holy Spirit!

(For comments or feedback, email dinadelfino.tlc@gmail.com.)

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