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About the Writer:

As a wife, mother, daughter, friend and believer, Jo explores the work of God in all her roles and situations. With a deep hunger to learn more about the ways of the Lord, Jo conveys the truths she's learned through vivid descriptions and personal stories. Her love of Jesus carries her and her writing expresses her deepest love.


Beauty of the Trinity

By Josephine Ludwig

It is fall, my friends. The leaves are dropping, life is changing into its winter clothing and I find myself still pondering the words of Mary Ann Fatula spoken so gently to us in June.

The title of this reflection seems, at first glance, an absurd claim. Of course, you might be thinking, “Jo’s dad IS NOT GOD”, so what exactly is the point here? If that is the question you are asking, you have proposed an important argument; one which I hope to address in this brief reflection.

I cannot speak for the emotional, psychological and spiritual development of little boys, for I was not a little boy. I can only speak from the lens that I possess, that of a little girl growing up as a daddy’s first born, female - fragile and laden with expectation as a first born. These expectations source themselves in both the heart and mind of the “father” as well as the “daughter”. They can create a world that may or may not reflect the reality of love that God as Creator intended for little girls. For me, the experience of daddy love was painful and abusive. Because this happens to many little girls, what Mary Ann Fatula taught us became life-changing for me. Perhaps, my sharing may change life for you, too.

In a talk about the Triune God, Mary Ann Fatula beautifully spoke of the dynamism of relationship between Abba, Son and Holy Spirit. She presented a mystery of familial agape that was, is and always will be TRINITARIAN. The truth she spoke is so much deeper than a theological statement we sometimes take for granted as we speak of our “three in one” God. In today’s culture, particularly, when gadgets and gizmos by the dozens promise a product that slices, dices, crushes “and” self-cleans, we can sometimes be mesmerized into perceiving the trinity in a somewhat similar fashion. God can become the great “three in one” spiritual product of the twenty-first century. This is an injustice to the beauty, mystery, power and MOST IMPORTANTLY the love relationship that our Triune God provides for us.

It is now five months since I heard the talk about our Triune God. I am still struggling to understand and embrace the totality of the beauty, love and miracle of dynamic relationship the trinity represents in my life. I realize today that this will be one of those “entire life on earth” journey projects; and that I will never understand nor completely experience the reality of God as trinity until we are in the “face to face” presence of the joy and fullness of Triune God we as Christians know as eternal life.

What I DO KNOW for sure, though, after this time of reflection, is that I now know what the Trinity is NOT. The Trinity is NOT my daddy. My daddy is only one man, an important man, in that my life would not “be” without his giving of self, but he remains ONE MAN, none the less. This is significant because little girls begin to love and experience God through the innocence of their eyes and hearts with that first experience of love and trust in their lives they are taught to name “daddy”. For me, that first snapshot was filled with pain and mistrust, a complete distortion of the creator love I was meant to see.

Thanks to Mary Ann Fatula and a new vision of Triune God, it became clear to me that my distorted beginnings could in no way be accurate. This revelation has opened a new door for me to see God and Trinity as relational love rather than as a three different “heads” of God figure. Typically, we are taught the “three persons in one” language to describe the image of trinity. This, for me, created a picture of God with three different names and three different job descriptions, one of which was to be “father”. Now, with the new and improved, and frankly, more authentic sense of God as triune and relational, it becomes absolutely impossible for my earthly daddy to be an accurate image of Abba because Abba is Triune and my daddy is singular. Jesus has said in the gospels, “When you know the TRUTH, the TRUTH will set you free”.

I am now free, my friends, to find love in God, Creator, lover, and triune mystery, set apart and completely removed from my old reality of pain imposed upon me early in life. This new paradigm for Triune God and trinity language that describes the relational, familial and dynamic constancy of love and creative energy that is authentically God can, in no way, resemble the old model of three-person trinity language. It removes the confusion of the exclusivity of the “father role notion” as an adequate expression of God and, therefore, provides a new template for God to be familial love rather than a restrictive “fatherly” love.

It changes the entire schema for my connection with God. God was not, is not and never will be MY earthly father or any adequate image of this relationship. This, my friends, has completely renewed my heart and freed me from years of struggle and resistance to openness of letting God be GOD in my everyday existence. I no longer fear God with the haunting shadow of the memories of what an abusive father does that traumatizes little girls. I am finally free to find “real” God, Triune God and God of familial and relational mystery. I have a new family, folks! This year I am spending Christmas with my family, the mystery of the Trinitarian God.

I still bask in the joy of this new discovery and I pray sincerely, my sisters and brothers that you do too. Blessed be God. Blessed be God’s Holy name; and blessed be we who are all loved by a family of three, perfectly. Amen!

Resource: Fatula, Mary Ann. 1990. The Triune God of Christian Faith. Collegeville, MI: The Liturgical Press.


Copyright © September 12, 2006 – Jo Ludwig. All rights reserved.


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