As a young girl (and to this day), I loved the movie The Sound of Music. I had great aspirations of being a spunky, joyful, faithful, romantic Maria, swinging my carpet bag and guitar whilst belting out “I have confidence in sunshine!” All of the songs brought me great joy, but there were some that ranked higher than others, including “How Do You Solve a Problem Like Maria.” In this song, the nuns approach the Mother Superior with their concerns that Maria is not “an asset to the abby” and express their frustration in being unable to fully comprehend her. Mother responds by describing the ways in which Maria is a great complexity- she is more than what meets the eye, more than the sum of her parts and actions. To understand Maria is like trying to “hold a moonbeam in your hand.” I was always mesmerized by this line and tried to imagine what it would be like to hold a moonbeam — something magical, I was convinced, if somehow I could capture it. But of course, you cannot hold a moonbeam in your hand. And that is exactly the wise Mother’s point. Maria, like each one of us, is an ineffable mystery.
Today we celebrate the Solemnity of the Most Holy Trinity. Indeed, the mystery of the Holy Trinity, is the ineffable mystery of God in himself, the source of all other mysteries of faith. Just like moonlight, while we cannot grasp it, we can behold it. God will never be fully comprehended or understood in our lifetime; yet at the same time, we can journey towards better understanding and knowing this great mystery of Love.
In today’s Gospel, Jesus is about to ascend into heaven, leaving his disciples for the final time. Before he goes, he gives them one final instruction: “Go, therefore, and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all that I have commanded you. And behold, I am with you always, until the end of the age.” The Lord’s missionary mandate is ultimately grounded in the eternal love of the Most Holy Trinity (CCC, §850).
Baptism begins a life in the Trinity, allowing us to dwell and participate in the divine life of God. Indeed, through baptism, we “received a Spirit of adoption, through whom we cry, ‘Abba, Father!’ The Spirit himself bears witness with our spirit that we are children of God, and if children, then heirs, heirs of God and joint heirs with Christ, if only we suffer with him so that we may also be glorified with him.” No longer are we slaves to fear or sin, instead, we are given a new life. Baptized in the Holy Trinity, we are bathed in enlightenment and faith so that we can live as a child of Light and begin to believe in, hope in, and love God.
The fascinating thing about a moonbeam is that the source of light is not in fact the moon. Rather, the moon only emits light because its surface reflects light from the sun. Created in the Divine Image of God, may we always recognize our source of Light and allow it to be reflected, so that others may begin to behold the ineffable mystery of God.
This piece was originally written for Bishop Guertin High School’s Reflections.