Devotion to the Blessed Trinity

Author: Peter Machugh, SVD
Subject: Holy Trinity
Language: English, Spanish
Publisher: AJ Spirituality Team

Our Founder’s spiritual life was extraordinarily rich, as rich and as varied as was his devotional practice. The love of the Holy Trinity was its very foundation, the central core of its innermost being, and the source of its apostolic zeal. Arnold expressed this basic attitude and fundamental mission vision in a beautiful and succinct way that became the motto of our three Congregations: Vivat Deus unus et Trinus in cordibus nostris! – May the holy Triune God come alive in our hearts. He later expanded ‘in our hearts’ to include all of humanity.  It expresses both our missionary purpose and its driving force: to help all people, including ourselves, to develop the fullness of our human dignity for which we were created: sharing in the life of the Blessed Trinity, united in the bonds of love with the Father-Mother, the Son and the Holy Spirit.

Devotion to the Holy Trinity became for Arnold the origin and foundation of his whole being, “For in Him we live, move, and exist” (Acts 17:28). This devotion had its origin and roots in his family. His father professed a special devotion to the Blessed Trinity, attending a second Mass on Sundays to thank God for what was achieved during the previous week. On  his deathbed (1870) he made his children promise to continue with that custom.

The divine names express the role of each Person:  The “Father” is the eternal origin of all; the “Son” the Only Begotten, the Word, the perfect image of that life and love; the “Holy  Spirit” from all eternity proceeds from the Father and the Son, the love and the bond of their union.

Thus the model for a deeper understanding of the Trinity should be for us not only personal, but rather interpersonal, community oriented. Such a model was the one that Arnold wished for in our Congregations: to live and share in the Trinitarian communion in community. God, One and Triune, is the origin, model and fullness of every human community. We participate in the life by baptism in which we as sons/daughters are made members of the People of God and disciples of Jesus Christ. By religious profession we have entered a community sharing in the mission of the Son and the Holy Spirit, sent by the Father for the life of the world. This reality creates deeper bonds of union between us and empowers us to more effectively desire the proclamation of the gospel. We cultivate these fraternal bonds through prayer, interpersonal relationships and common apostolic activities.

True devotion to the Blessed Trinity means to allow the love and ideals of the Holy  Trinity to penetrate our lives so that they  become the  source of our own love and our ideals and influence our approach to people. The members of the Congregations founded by Arnold Janssen, consecrated and committed like him, recognize and appreciate that this Trinitarian ideal is the basis of our common vision and the shared motivation of our missionary lives.

This richness and depth of Arnold’s devotion to the Trinity has been reflected in the various editions of our Constitutions or Rules of Life.  In them we see that devotion to the Blessed Trinity is for our Congregations not just another way of praying, it is a way of living; it is the motivating force of our spiritual life and missionary zeal.  Our ‘life in the Trinity’ should mean a lot to us, as we try to make it mean a lot to all people.

For this Triune God is not a ‘god out there or up there’, but alive in our hearts. May this life-giving mystery foster in us an active attitude of loving respect for the dignity and beauty of every person we encounter, and a sense of wonder for myself and indeed for all of creation.

May the holy Triune God come live in our hearts.  VIVAT!

One Response

  1. A brief article very clear and well written. I could make use of it for the liturgy and the classes for the formees. Thank you Fr. Peter Machugh. we look forward on the same topic a lengthy article for classes.

    sr. vimla ssps

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