We can understand love

Studying the Trinity during my theology degree meant grappling with some terminology and teaching which I have since mostly forgotten. Perichoresis and circumincession... social and psychological models... a dizzying, infuriatingly hard-to-grasp dance: James Hanvey SJ's melodious voice somehow rendering them as poetry; making them graspable, at least for the duration of the lecture. 

But there is one concept I have never forgotten: St Augustine's early description, in De Trinitate, of the Trinity as Lover, Beloved and Love. Here we have a dance which is inviting rather than infuriating! - and an evident equality and mutuality. Lover, Beloved and Love... Whoever Augustine may have ascribed each one to, can we really decide and distinguish which One is which? God, we are assured by St John, is Love, which means that all three Persons of the Trinity are Love; just as they are each and all the ones who are loving, and who are loved. 

God is Love, and the Trinity is a relationship of love; and being three, it is non-exclusive. No lover can gaze, wholly and simultaneously, into more than one beloved's eyes - but they can look around and beyond, and love widely. And whilst we may struggle with perichoresis and groan over shamrocks, we can understand love. We can flounder with art and icons, and visual, concrete depictions of a mystery beyond even our wildest imaginings... but we can understand love. And because we believe in love, because we know God is love, we can understand a relationship of unlimited, self-giving love overflowing onto all creation... overflowing onto our homes and into our hearts, and our places of pain, of sacrifice, and of love's myriad faces.  

And today especially, as we celebrate the God who is Lover, Beloved and Love, we can pray that this love may flow into us and through us, and be the source and energy of everything we do. 

We can understand love... and we can become love.