I have much more to tell you

Readings: Proverbs 8.22-31; Ps. 8; Rom. 5.1-5; Jn. 16.12-15.

Jesus tells us in today’s gospel, "I have much more to tell you." All of us would love to hear what Jesus wishes to tell us. We all would love to hear more, learn more, love God more, than we currently experience God. May I suggest that we might use as an analogy our experience from growing in relationships with other people as a model and means for our growing in relationship with the Father, Son and Holy Spirit.

Think of someone whom you know very well and love very much. … What makes that relationship click? … When that relationship inevitably hits a bump in the road and goes thrown off track for a while, what helps to get that relationship back on track? … If you were recommending to someone younger than yourself what traits are necessary in order to grow in knowing and loving someone very well, what words would you suggest? …

May I suggest a few factors which work effectively in helping relationships grow mutually: being physically present, speaking, and listening.

By physical presence, I mean spending time with the person; in a sense, wasting time with that person; not necessarily doing anything except being in the presence of the other person. Last week, I visited a priest-friend in Philadelphia. He is suffering with poor health. He did not want to go out for dinner. He was too tired to walk and talk. Instead, he and I sat in his room, and watched the Phillies baseball game for three hours. The Phillies happened to lose, and we shed some tears over that. The visit however, was wonderful. That is an example of being present with someone.

Speaking. Speaking involves small talk, yes; but much more importantly, giving voice, at times, to profound topics. Speaking means revealing your heart and soul to another person. Speaking with a friend whom we wish to know and love better, means generally that we too have to open up what is hidden within the chambers of our heart, in the descending depths of our soul. Husbands and wives, and all good friends, go through this process. Many people, however, short-circuit this process unfortunately for everyone involved.

Listening. The adage is: "God gave us one mouth and two ears so that we can listen twice as much as we speak." We listen so that we can learn from another person. We listen not only with our ears, but also with our eyes as we watch for facial expressions and body language. We listen with our hearts too to sense and reverberate with the feelings that the other person expresses; our feelings are oftentimes contagious.

We can apply these three traits as a way of growing in knowing and loving the Holy Trinity: Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. Simply put: be present to God: especially here at church, which is God’s house, where God dwells. Speak to God in your own words, from the depths of your heart. And listen to God, to his Word(s) and in silence with Him. Let’s avail ourselves of this opportunity to grow in knowing and loving God. By the way, this is what the saints also did. After doing all their voluminous writing, active service with the poor, and praying with and for others, the saints discovered that they came to know God best by sitting or kneeling before God.

One aspect our faith which we all hope to know more about is the Trinity. Our belief that three persons exist in the one God is one of the fundamental teachings of our faith. From our belief in the Trinity flow so many other articles of faith. We say in our Nicene Creed:

I believe in one God, the Father, the Almighty, Creator of heaven and earth, … We believe in one Lord, Jesus Christ, the only Son of God, eternally begotten of the Father, …. We believe in the Holy Spirit, the Lord and giver of life, who proceeds from the Father and the Son. With the Father and the Son he is worshiped and glorified."

Our Church teaches that there are three persons in one God. All three persons are eternal, equal in being, and act with one will. Commonly and popularly, we attribute to each person certain activities, e.g., the Father is Creator, the Son is Redeemer; and the Holy Spirit is Sanctifier. In reality, however, all three persons act in unison; all three are responsible for creation, redemption, and sanctification.

The Trinity is a mystery. Not even the great St. Thomas Aquinas understood it all. After writing volumes in which he explained and commented on our faith, he was so struck by the Vision of God, that he simply put down his pen at age 44, and never wrote again. For the next two years, Thomas simply sat in front of God, quietly speaking and listening. If that method worked for Thomas Aquinas, we would do well to try it for ourselves, because Jesus says, "I have much more to tell you."

Read other Homily by Father O'Malley