Living Near the Ocean
Many poets and writers often relate the ocean to a sense of the Blessed Trinity. The ocean is one of the largest things we see on the face of the earth and its expanse and depth lend themselves to thinking about the mystery of the Blessed Trinity.
My husband sometimes refers to me as ‘Island Girl’, because I was born and raised on a Pacific island. My birth family lived in a mountainous region that required an hour and a half drive to reach the closest beach. The expanse of water bounded by the horizon, especially punctuated during sunset, seemed contained in the panorama before my eyes.
It wasn’t until I learned Geography in the third grade that I grasped the idea that the beach was part of a sea that was part of the Pacific Ocean. On a globe, in fact, all the oceans connect as one big ocean that covers 71% of the earth! I realized then that my beach was just one point in the ocean’s global periphery. Looking out from that point, the water seemed to be an isolated body but in reality it was joined to the greater expanse of water that covered the majority of the planet.
The Blessed Trinity
Fr. Cantalamessa states, “We cannot wrap our arms around the ocean, but we can enter in it. We cannot encompass the mystery of the Blessed Trinity with our minds, but we can enter it!” This line in Fr. Cantalamessa’s book, “Contemplating the Trinity”, seizes my attention. He continues that “Christ has left us a concrete way to do that – through the Eucharist.”
This line has profound meaning to me as it brings memories of my childhood day-trips to the beach. How beautiful it is that the ocean is likened to the mystery of the Holy Trinity, and we can enter it. The metaphor is clear to me.
A Sense of the Blessed Trinity
- The omniscience of God is simple to recognize: The water holds familiar creatures like shells and seaweed, but it also has mysterious ones like jelly fish that can sting you. Fishermen can tell you about octopuses, eels, a great variety of fish and coral. I know some of the sea creatures, but God, the Maker, knows them all.
- It is easy to yield to the omnipotence of God: While swimming in the swelling and crashing waves, I experience my body being constantly carried in the ocean’s undulating motion. Even as a poor swimmer, the salt water surrounding me buoys me up as I accede to its force.
- The omnipresence of God is felt inside and out: Whether on the beach or in the water, the roar of the waves is pervasive, reverberating within and without. The sound of the ocean waves breaking and receding is like being within a beating heart.
God, being three persons in one is the central mystery of our Faith; the Blessed Trinity is beyond comprehension to us, mere creatures. However, even with the smallness of our hearts and the limits of our minds, we can understand Love, because we are God’s children. God gives us faith to know Him as our Father. He provides us Jesus, His Son, so that we can live, and move, and have our being in Him. And He pours love into our hearts through the Holy Spirit, so we may love one another and become holy.
At the End of the Day
After a day at the ocean, my family would return to our home in the mountains. An island girl would go home with sand in her hair and the smell of salt water, and with much darker skin tone. The funny thing is that when I would go to bed at night, the taste of salt remained in my mouth, and the sound of the waves echoed in my ears like white noise. As I laid my head on the pillow, a rocking sensation of ocean waves washed over me with each breath. It seemed that the ocean left impressions on my senses. It is as if we brought the ocean home with us.
Figuratively, we live on a beach, where the water meets the land. Although the ocean appears to be a vast force of water, we can enter it. The finite can encounter the Eternal. Even as the Blessed Trinity is the greatest mystery, we as beloved children of God can partake in the inner life and the communion of love of the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit.
As Christians, the infinite love of God for us is no mystery. We respond to this love with our whole mind, heart, soul, and strength – even if only like children. In this Feast of the Holy Trinity, let us renew our gratitude and faith. When we go to Mass and receive the Eucharist, let’s put our trust once more in the all-knowing, all-present, and all-powerful Triune God whom we worship.
This post also appears in The Well entitled, “The Triune God Whom We Worship.”