I Once Dreaded Preaching on Trinity Sunday

by | May 25, 2018 | Formation, Reflections | 2 comments

I used to dread preaching on Trinity Sunday. Now I look forward to it.

I grew up in an age where the most famous theologian of the last century, Karl Rahner, wondered whether if the Trinity was removed from our vocabulary would anyone even notice.

The Trinity, icon by Russian painter Andrei Rublev, 15th century

I also remember being mystified by the question “Should I pray to Jesus, or to the Spirit, or to the Father?” When I first faced that question a half-century ago I already had my head filled with the sophisticated theology one learns in the seminary. Now I was being asked a “heart” question. That question got me thinking. Who did I pray to?

But I have a new problem. My mind spins with so many things to say and my heart overflows with the realization that we are made in the image and likeness of a God who is revealed to us a community.

There is so much I want to say. But let’s see what some popular writers have to say.

Richard Rohr’s prayer “We call you…”

Richard Rohr has been using the prayer for some 20 years, most recently his book ‘The Divine Dance: The Trinity and Your Transformation”

God for us, we call you “Father.”
God alongside us, we call you “Jesus.”
God within us, we call you “Holy Spirit.”
Together, you are the Eternal Mystery
That enables, enfolds, and enlivens all things,
Even us and even me.
Every name falls short of your goodness and greatness.
We can only see who you are in what is.
We ask for such perfect seeing—
As it was in the beginning, is now, and ever shall be.

To which I say “Let the Church say Amen!”

We are Icons of the Trinity

And then there is Deacon Greg Kandra’s homily with the following.

What an incredible gift. What an incredible responsibility. Just think of what that simple gesture of the sign of the cross means.

We touch our heads for the Father – the one whose mere idea, whose smallest thought, created us. This is where we began, in the mind of God.
We touch our hearts for the Son – the one whose unceasing love took him to the cross, and the one who taught us, as well, how to love through his own Sacred Heart.
We touch our shoulders for the Holy Spirit – the one who gives us strength, and who carries us on His shoulders — on His wings if you will – and who enables us to be God’s arms, working on earth.

Just these three sentences provide inspiration for at least three homilies. With the last sentence, think of Vincent asking us to love God with the strength of our arms.

When we make the sign of the cross, and pray the sign of the cross with those words, we make of ourselves an offering, and a prayer. We embody what the Trinity represents. And we seek to bring that with our lives and with our actions to all those we meet. We do it in the name of God – all that He is, all that He does.

And I haven’t even touched on that we are made in the image of likeness of God – a God revealed as communion. The more we build community, the more we become the image and likeness of God! (Check out Fr. Tom McKenna’s reflection “Come on in”!)

Something to think about

  • What if we were to live the mystery of Trinitarian communion rather than just puzzle about it?
  • Do we realize living the mystery of God as a communion of persons has the potential to change everything?


  1. Lucy Ann Saunders

    Thank you Father Freund for providing insight & thought as we humanly try to understand the Holy Trinity. I would love to hear you preach on the Holy Trinity now that you have so much more you would like to say. Thanks for sharing the writings of others on the three persons in one God. A whole new way to think of community where everyone is welcomed.

  2. Sr. Marjory Ann Baez

    Thank you very much!