Can that statement “Children belong in families” become a reflection on these three important Sunday feasts we celebrate at this time? Pentecost, Trinity Sunday and Corpus Christi certainly all concern God, but how do we, today, look at God?   Do we focus on 3 persons individually, as we appear to have been doing or is the concept of GOD IS LOVE a more unifying consideration.   I’m afraid I’m a hopper and skipper, quite often, for Sunday Mass.  On Trinity Sunday I participated in Mass in a Franciscan parish in Singapore and the priest in his homily spoke from a Franciscan spirituality. 

St Francis’ definition, developed by St Bonaventure, is, “God is “good”, Goodness is shown forth as love.  The Father is the source and origin of goodness. His self-gift is the outpouring of total and absolute love to the Son, who returns it back to the Father. This love is the Spirit.”  I find this still very much a mystery but the response is what speaks to me. We share in this love of God and share it too in relationships, in a family as a couple with a child, and in all of creation which is itself a created and creative fruit of God’s love.

What images of the Trinity have I used before?   I tried a robot : red, yellow, green, different aspects but one unit.  But the image of a relationship of love – ideally a family, and the world as a family of families,  is so much more powerful.   The idea of a child being the love of its parents made flesh, present and real is extremely powerful too.  Is it too idealistic?  That understanding is what our experience of marriage and family ministry taught us over the years too. 

In a foundational document, a prayer, for Chris and me more than 40 years ago this month, “Our Father’s Call to a Couple” Fr Chuck  Gallagher wrote the following. “Your being in love is my way to attract you to love. I say to you, you are wonderful, you are good.  So important to Me is your love that I have even given you My special power to personify your love–your children will be the two of you in one flesh!”  Of course, it doesn’t always feel like that and for some it never does, but that is essentially a description of the mystery of the Blessed Trinity for today.  

In a way is it not also the basis for a project such as CHILD PROTECTION WEEK, the national commemoration from 30 May to 6 June?  The Department of Social Development and some of its Family Services Forum members are using this opportunity to promote the care and safety of children. The Church has its protocols too for safeguarding of children but that applies to protection of children from abuse and exploitation by church personnel.  However, homes and families and people known to children are most often the ones who abuse and neglect happens in situations of poverty and deprivation but also where there is affluence.    What do we need to protect our children from,  “abuse, violence, neglect, exploitation, abandonment, bullying, and loneliness.   Can our love protect, guide, and promote their overall growth to maturity and wellbeing within a loving community, a family?  Is that not God’s plan for all his children, young and old?  

World Environment Day on 5 June allows us to think even more broadly. It is God’s love that sustains every member of creation.  Together, we people, can take the steps to change, as Laudato Si’ 13 during called for. FAMILY WEEKLY 2 JUNE 2021