Give Yourself Away to Truly Live
Today, we celebrate Trinity Sunday and Father's Day. Interestingly, one key aspect of Trinitarian love is fatherhood.
A true father is one who imitates our heavenly Father. We see an example of true fatherhood very clearly in the life of Father Stanley Rother, who was martyred in 1981 and is currently on the path to sainthood. He was so consumed with love for his people, that he did not cling to his own life, but rather, gave his life away. We're called to do the same.
Today, we celebrate Trinity Sunday and Father's Day. The Blessed Trinity - the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit revealed to us in the life, death and resurrection of Jesus, who is God, the Son. God is three divine persons all sharing one divine nature. All three persons wish to dwell in the tiny human soul.
One key aspect of Trinitarian love is fatherhood. A true father is one who imitates our heavenly Father. And in Christian fatherhood, a father's delight comes not from self indulgence, but in self-giving.
Father Stanley Rother, who was martyred in 1981 and is currently on the path to sainthood, gives us a clear example of true manhood in spiritual Fatherhood. He was so consumed with love of his people, that he did not cling to his own life, but rather, gave his life away. We're called to do the same.
Full Audio Transcript
00:01 Well, Father Stanley Rother grew up on a farm in Oklahoma. He was ordained to parish priest in 1963 and served in parishes in the Oklahoma City area. And then in 1968 was assigned to the Diocesan Mission in Guatemala in the rural highlands of Guatemala. And it was in the late 1970s during a time of civil unrest and being a good spiritual Father and a good farmer, Father Rother showed the people in the mission how to improve their lives spiritually and materially.
00:41 Well, certain powers that be did not like Father Rother helping those people. And one day he made a trip to Guatemala City to the Maryville Center there and the superior there told him to get, go to the airport immediately and fly back to the USA because the death squads were looking for him. And Father Rother went back home to Oklahoma, but only for a time. One day when he was back on the farm, he told his mother, I have to go back. The shepherd cannot run at the first sign of danger.
01:19 And he went back to his mission. And then one Saturday morning in 1981 some soldiers did show up. They beat him. But Father Rother was, was pretty big and strong. And when they got tired of beating him, one of the soldiers pulled out his gun and shot him twice. Father Rother gave his life away for the people he served. And in 2016 Pope Francis declared that he was killed in odium fidei. In Latin, that means out of hatred for the faith, which qualifies him as a martyr. And then in 2017 Cardinal Amato went to Oklahoma, to Oklahoma to beatify him. Now Father Rother is a blessing and his, his cause of canonization continues to move forward.
02:18 The mystery of human life is this: it is in giving ourselves away that we live. This is the case because giving oneself away is how the Lord lives. In laying down his life, Father Rother acted like the Lord. And in giving our lives away in love, we act like God, the blessed Trinity. If you want to live like the blessed Trinity then give your life away.
02:54 Today we celebrate the great feast of Trinity Sunday. You know most of our celebrations in the sacred liturgy, have to do what the Lord has done for us. In history, we called salvation history, but today's feast is a little bit different. This is a feast, not about what the Lord has done, but rather who he is. The Blessed Trinity - the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit revealed to us in the life, death and resurrection of Jesus, who is God, the Son. God is three divine persons all sharing one divine nature. He is not three gods, nor he is he is he just one person? Neither are the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit, different manifestations or three faces of the one God. No. God is three distinct persons all sharing one nature of God and we can see all this about him and yet the Godhead is a mystery. Even in fully revealing himself in Jesus Christ, the Blessed Trinity is above all a mystery, a mystery of love.
04:10 And this is the mystery of love: from all eternity, the Father does not cling to himself. He does not cling to being God, but gives himself away in the generation of the Son. And the Son and his filial love pours all of the divine nature, all that he is back to the Father, holding nothing back for himself. And the love between the Father and Son is such to the third person is present, the Holy Spirit, who is the bond of love between the Father and the Son. None of the persons that have blessed Trinity hold onto the divine nature for himself, but rather each pours himself out into the other persons. From all eternity within the Godhead, the divine persons do not hold onto themselves thinking, look at me, I'm God. Rather than continually give themselves away to each other in love. And this is why one of the reasons why God is perfect in himself, he did not need to create the world so that he would have someone to love.
05:21 He is never lonely because the Trinity is both three and one at the same time. A community of self giving love. God is not some old guy sitting on a cloud. God is the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit, the raging furnace of Trinitarian love.
05:43 And the amazing thing about this is that the only reason we know this is because this is what was revealed in the life of Jesus, that he being God, the Son came down and became one of us to show us what love was and how do you do by dying on the cross for us, by laying down his life for us in love. That's the revelation of who God is. And the amazing thing about this as the Lord has opened up this life to us, this is the mystery of the Trinity, is that in his love he invites us to participate in that life and to become godlike. On the cross he showed us who he is. The Cross reveals to the whole world that God is the blessed Trinity and we are called to live his life of love and because we are in Christ as members of his body, we are empowered to do this. He has already given us the power to do this. And through faith in baptism, we are adopted into the trinitarian life. So it is not wrong to say that we are being divinized by His grace that is fully immersed, fully alive fully illumined with a divine life. We stand with the divine Son in that eternal exchange of love between the persons of the Trinity.
07:26 I'd like to focus on one particular aspect of Trinitarian love - that is Fatherhood. You know, God, the Father isn't like an earthly Father. He is Father. It's actually we actually. That's where we get the notion of Father is from him. And all men are supposed to become Fathers either in a natural way, in marriage, or in a supernatural way, as in the priesthood or a another vocation in the church. And a true Father is one who imitates our heavenly Father. And you notice in scripture, our heavenly Father never draws attention to himself. He's always pointing to his Son, look at my Son. To see my Son, is to see me.
08:15 Father doesn't need to have toys. His delight comes not from self indulgence, but in self-giving. His delight comes from those who have been entrusted to him and, and the flourishing of their lives. And a true man and Father protects those entrusted to him from any evil. You know, that was Adam's biggest problem in the garden when his beloved, Eve was being tempted, where was he? Why would he allow evil to approach the one he loved?
08:52 The Father sets right relationships in his family. He's the one who is courageous in setting the right boundaries for his children by standing up to a culture trying to destroy their innocence. He is a man of honor and courage and purity.
09:11 And a true man and Father respects and cherishes woman. The Father is the first to sacrifice. The Father is the one who is supposed to lead his family in the way of love and righteousness.
09:25 And Christian Fatherhood is a difficult task and so requires much grace and prayer. Yet, this is the call to all the men here - to rise up and to become true men and Fathers in imitation of our heavenly Father.
09:43 And that lack of manhood and Fatherhood is, I believe, the primary root cause of almost all of our societal problems. The reason why we have crisis pregnancies and pressure to abort, it's mainly because we have guys running around who won't become true men and Fathers. The reason why so many women and children live in poverty is because of guys who won't take responsibility. Drug abuse, domestic violence, sexual abuse, mainly stem from guys who either don't know or reject true manhood and Fatherhood. Who choose the path of self indulgence, rather than self-giving. And it cannot be so with us. We are called and we have already begun to live the Trinitarian life.
10:36 Father Rother gives us a good example of true manhood in spiritual Fatherhood, so consumed with love of his people, he did not cling to his own life thinking, I'm a priest. I need to live to help others. I'm too important to go back. Instead, what did he say? I must go back because he is a spiritual Father. The shepherd cannot run at the first sign of danger and so in imitation of God himself, Father Rother gave his life away and we're called to do the same.
11:21 However, giving ourselves away is counter-intuitive for us formed in a culture of selfishness. In giving ourselves away, we may feel like we are disintegrating or or diminishing in some fashion. In giving ourselves away, we may feel like that we're losing ourselves. We think that in order to live, we have to hold back. We have to conserve, we have to cling. In a word, we have to be selfish. But remember that our earthly life is slipping through our hands every day. Each day is one day closer, one day less than we have on this earth. As our Lord says, the one who clings to his life will lose it, but the one who loses his life for my sake will gain it eternally.
12:16 Whatever is held back will crumble and die. It is only in giving ourselves away that we truly live. And whatever is given away will endure. The Trinity is not God remote from us. He's right here in the Mass. In fact, the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit are the protagonists of the sacred liturgy. They are the ones initiating. We are the ones responding.
12:53 He wants to share his life with us through his word and with the body and blood of the Son. He wants to inhabit our souls. All three persons wish to dwell in the tiny human soul. He wants us to live with him. He wants to quell our rebellious hearts. To have us let go of the pettiness and to set them on fire with his love.
13:24 So let's open our hearts right here, right now to the god of love and seek to give our small lives away, to lay down our lives in love as we've seen it in the saints. And in this most recent example, an American who lived during our own lifetime, who died a martyr and giving his life for his people. If we want to live like the blessed Trinity, let's give our lives away.