Sunday, November 1
Observations Sacred and Profane
Halloween was once again at our throats this last week. (Mwaha.) They were advertising a showing of the film (which I was only vaguely aware of) The Haunting in Connecticut in the lounge of my apartment complex next week. Mercifully, I will be out of town anyway, but what struck me was that not only had the poster advertising the event reiterated virtually the entire plot in small type at the bottom (why?) but it had been lifted wholesale from Wikipedia, with the link underlines and even the footnote superscripts (lacking the actual footnotes) intact. This is beyond the increasingly-quixotic demand for good grammar and spelling, it's just a total failure of common sense.
There is an image of Our Lady in the stained glass at Holy Hill that looks uncannily like Maggie Gyllenhaal, despite predating her (the actress's, not the Great Mother of God's) birth by at least half-a-century. I'm afraid to ask what this means about my subconscious, but now when someone complains my drawing of St. Agnes looks too much like Ellen Page (who does look rather like a Murillo painting, if, say, Murillo knew what a Hamburgerphone looked like), I have an excuse. Not a very good one, but still.
It occurs to me that one of the real wonders of the Trinity is that it shows how utterly perfect God is. C.S. Lewis once made the point that you cannot demand God do the impossible (in the sense of a logical contradiction, not in the sense of moving mountains or eating six whole elephants before breakfast), because the logical contradiction simply does not have an independent existence. Though it also seems one of the more clumsy atheistic taunts of this sort--"If God is so amazing, why can't He make another one of Himself?"--is neatly solved by the Trinity. God cannot make another god, as God is supreme, and two gods would negate that. So would a created god, since God has no beginning or end. But the eternal generation of the Son from the Father and the Holy Ghost from both (i.e., God is love) is the only way one could have multiple beings that were uncreated and still were one God in three persons, with each equally divine. The Father is God, the Son is God, the Holy Spirit is God. But they are not three gods but one God.
We cannot, of course, say that the Trinity is quite properly God the Father "copying" or "reproducing" Himself, but it seems to me that He has done about as close as He could through the elegant framework of the Trinity without negating those very things that make God God. This may well be very bad theology, but the thought came to me Sunday up in the choirloft during the Creed, and it seemed at least worth repeating.
The other truly wonderful thing about the Trinity is that it means God is a society. One person would leave us with the perfect, eternally self-interested God described by Aristotle, or the various versions of indulgent grandfather, divine despot or watchmaker envisioned by various heresies over the centuries. And two would destroy the equilibrium of the thing. With three...well, there is a good reason that the triangle is the strongest shape. A Trinity explains not only love and marriage and children, but the desire of Man to seek out his own kind, and thrive, and, to paraphrase Chesterton, even when Christians seek to be alone, as with monks, they do it together. Two people are a duo. Three people are a culture.