12th June 2022
St. Colman’s Cathedral, Cobh
“In God we trust”
It will be interesting to read the answer given in the current census to the question on religion. It is expected that the number declaring themselves as having ‘no religion’ will increase. Still let us wait and see.
Regardless of the figures, God and the question of God hasn’t gone away. It is well more than half a century ago when it was declared that “God is dead”. Others put it differently when they announced “God is gone missing and He is not missed”.
Marking Trinity Sunday invites us to consider the bigger “God question” in our sceptical age. It is prudent to remind ourselves that we are not immune to the corrosive influence of persistent questioning of faith in God as a sort of infantile dependency for the modern world.
My friends our faith in God is a question of trust. When we trust in another, we ‘surrender’ (in the best sense) so much of our inner self. That trust in God, in people and in life gets tested in difficult times, be it bereavement, sickness, relationships, financial strain. Whenever we feel pushed to our limits.
Job is a model of patience in the face of adversity as one who despite great suffering retains his hope and trust in the Lord. It is important that we acknowledge the times in our own lives when we experienced deep levels of doubt and even abandonment of a sense of God in life. It ought not be seen as shameful rather a “valley of darkness” through which we persevered. Sharing these experiences with a new generation can be a great grace and encouragement for them as they endure testing moments in their lives.
Marking the Feast of the Holy Trinity is to celebrate the understanding of God among us refined and articulated in the earliest days of the Christian community, reflected in the Creed. This understanding has given us a language with which to express our faith in God as Creator, Redeemer and Sanctifier, Father-Creator, Son-Redeemer and Spirit Sanctifier. In making the sign of the cross we give expression to our faith in this Mystery of God who is at once entirely beyond our grasp but whose presence and blessing we know and cherish in life. We who are blessed with faith know well its not a soft option that allows us to bypass life’s difficulties. Rather our faith enables and strengthens us to cope better with life’s crosses because we trust that we are not alone as we walk through the storm or valley of darkness. On the other hand, our faith in the Lord enables us to count our blessing. So much so when we set out on a new venture or challenge, we ask for a blessing.
There are many who wish they could have such a faith experience but somehow it eludes them. There are others who are allergic to the idea of any religious belief and seek actively to eradicate it from public life because its individual and private and should have no place in public discourse. It is surely naïve to believe that society should seek to imprison the expression of the deepest and most noble aspirations to be just, merciful and humble.
The God question hasn’t gone away and is not likely to – because it encompasses so much that is beyond our understanding despite the great gift of intelligence, wisdom and insight.
It is good for us to be here to enter anew into that mystery of ‘God-with-us’ and we are thankful. In our blessing we pray especially for those struggling to find meaning, hope and purpose in their lives at this time.