Every teacher knows that things do not come in threes – they come in batches
of three. The perfect storm of missing paperwork, the irate parent, and the
incalcitrant pupil. Then there is the unholy trinity of the failed lesson: I am
tired, they are tired, and the material is tired.
But, if the problem is trinitarian, the solution is also trinitarian. The class or trip
that went to plan, the right circumstances, and everyone in the right frame of
In the Name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit
St Augustine reminded us that we are created in the image of God, and that
God is Father, Son and Holy Spirit. So, he argued, there must be something
about us, the way we act, speak, and think that reveals our origin as
Trinitarian. St Thomas Aquinas took this idea up and ran with it. Yes, he said,
this is true, and the way we know and love, think and desire, all echo the
community of love into which we are plunged at baptism.
The Trinity is a mystery because it is how we live and are, not because it’s a
puzzle. God has shown himself to us, who he really is: not a distant
disinterested tyrant, but a God who reaches out and embraces us, brings us
into community with him, and enables us to create community in our own
In the Beginning was the Word
To get a handle on anything, we need to articulate it, speak it, get it out there.
Until we do, we don’t really understand it. We are language animals, and until
we speak, either aloud, in our minds, on paper, to another, we don’t really get
As teachers, we often learn as much if not more than our students, when we
present, share and discuss. We might have a degree in the subject, or be familiar with a theme, but until we come to try to explain it to another we never really know it. Then we begin to really love what we’re doing. We see the possibilities and improvements that can be made.
The artist paints, the poet writes, the scientist hypothesizes. All the time, we express, share, blunder towards an understanding. Driven on by a love of the subject and a desire that others too come to love it, we do anything we can to impart the story that cannot just stay with us but is bursting to be told.
This is how God is: he speaks. He sends his Word, his Son, expressing himself perfectly. He loves what he speaks, perfectly, his Spirit. Speaking and loving, knowing and willing, that’s who God is – and that is who we are as human beings and as teachers.
And then, we know ourselves as his children – like Father, like son
I want to explore these ideas with you, but for now let me leave you with this
quote from the Gospel of Luke:
At that time Jesus, full of joy through the Holy Spirit, said,
“I praise you, Father, Lord of heaven and earth, because you have hidden these things from the wise and learned, and revealed them to little children. Yes, Father, for this is what you were pleased to do.
“All things have been committed to me by my Father. No one knows who the Son is except the Father, and no one knows who the Father is except the Son and those to whom the Son chooses to reveal him.”
Luke 10, 21-22