By FR. ROLANDO DELA ROSA
“One is too few; two is company; three is a crowd” means that love between two people is ideal. Anything short or in excess of that number will result in unwanted complications. But today’s solemn feast of the Holy Trinity gives us an exception.
We learn from our basic Catechism that God is love. “Whoever does not love is ignorant of God, because God is love” (1John 4:8). Since it is the nature of love to unite, our God is ONE. But it is also the nature of love to be given away, so there must be in the one God a Trinity of Persons—Father, Son, and Holy Spirit—a dynamic community eternally giving and receiving love.
Many people object to this. They say that if all the loving that exists in the Trinity reverts to God Himself, then God appears to be loving ONLY Himself. They also think that God’s consuming desire to be loved extends to us as well. For, did He not command us to love Him above all things? As we read in the gospels:“Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength and with all your mind” (Luke 10:27).
Our love for neighbors also seems like a smokescreen for God’s desire to be loved. Since we are made after His image, then we love our neighbors, not for themselves, but because we see God’s image in them. Not even our closest relatives are exempt from this. “Anyone who loves his father or mother more than me is not worthy of me; anyone who loves his son or daughter more than me is not worthy of me” (Matthew 10:37).God seems to be all for Himself.
- S. Lewis wrote that before he was converted to the Catholic faith, he saw the God of the Bible as a vain woman who craved for love and worship. He thought that anyone obsessed with being loved, and who wanted to be the focus of everyone’s constant care and attention would be grotesquely egocentric.
But after his conversion, and after poring through the Biblical texts and studying their meaning, Lewis wrote that it is indeed wrong for a human being to crave for love all the time and be the center of everyone’s attention because no human being deserves it; neither can he be the center of everyone’s attention because he is only an insignificant speck in the universe. But it is different with God.
God is not just another human being. He is God, our Maker, our Sovereign Lord. “In Him, we live and move and have our being” (Acts 17:28). All things are made for Him, including us. So, Lewis concludes that God commands us to love Him simply because it is right, true, and appropriate. He demands it because He alone deserves it.
The love in the Trinity is a love experienced in utter freedom. So when God commands us to love Him, He does not constrain us to obey. He respects our free will. But it is in loving God that we experience real freedom, the freedom to fulfill our destiny and find true happiness. For if we come to think of it, what makes us truly happy is when we possess what delights us most and what fulfills our deepest longing. And who can give us that except God Himself? As St. Augustine wrote, “our hearts are restless until they rest in God.”
When God commands us to love Him, it is not because He is egocentric, but because He wants us to achieve the fullness of joy that we can experience only by loving Him. It is by loving God that we become like the Trinity: PERSONS IN LOVE.