The Desire to be Known

(Homily for Trinity Sunday)

Message: You and I have an immense inner life. We desire to be known - and only One can know us.

Today - Trinity Sunday - the Scripture readings focus on the inner life of the Father, Son and Holy Spirit. To enter this theme I would like to begin with something from Mark Twain. (Nicely appropriate for an American holiday weekend.) Mark Twain is the author of The Adventures of Tom Sawyer and Huckleberry Finn, Innocents Abroad and a surprising book on St. Joan of Arc. Before he died, he wrote an autobiography that he asked not be published until 100 years after his death. It gives glimpses into one of the liveliest minds our nation has produced. He remarks on the impossibility of anything like a complete account: What any person experiences in a single day - if you wrote it out - could fill a couple of volumes.*

In describing the complexity of the inner human experience, Mark Twain gives an image for approaching the mystery of God. Within each of us an ocean churns and from below the surface emerge things that amaze and even startle us. If that is the case with our limited minds, what must the inner life of God be?

A few weeks ago we heard about that inner life: the conversation between Father and Son. From that conversation came the Big Bang and the resulting universe. That inner conversation encompasses the quarks and photons, the Dark Matter and Dark Energy that make up the cosmos. The inner life Father, Son and Holy Spirit also make possible the thoughts, words and actions of every person who ever existed. If your inner life and mine is like an ocean, what is the inner life of God - Father, Son and Holy Spirit?

The amazing thing is that God invites us into his life - by baptism, Eucharist and prayer. St. Paul says that God pours the Holy Spirit into our hearts, giving us participation in God's life.

We are created for that life. Deep down all of us desire it. We want to know the One who can know us. We want to open ourselves to the the One who can really hear us.

I'd like to illustrate this by telling you about a remarkable man. He is a pharmacist and a darn good one. He not only know about drugs, but he listens. People tell him their physical pain and their deeper hurts. He takes interest in each person and they tell him things they never told anyone else - old men, teens, housewives and even guys who drift in off the streets. His own family family members share intimate details of their lives.

This man would be a great priest-confessor - except for one thing. He can't keep a secret! At Thanksgiving Dinner he might blurt out intimate - and embarrassing - detail. For sure he maintains professional confidentiality, but ordinary secrets, he can't keep. The amazing thing is that people keep telling him their secrets. We have a deep desire to be known - warts and all.

That desire cannot be met here below. Even in marriage - where a man and woman share so much - they can even there experience a terrible loneliness. Mark Twain wrote about the "storm of thoughts" inside each person. We are like a sprawling city - some areas attractive, others we would just as soon avoid. Still, we want to be known - and only one can know our depth: the One who made us for himself.

We of course not only want to be known - we want to know. That's why heaven will never get boring, but I will leave that for a different homily. For this Trinity Sunday it's enough to acknowledge:

1) You and I have an immense inner life.**
2) We desire to be known.** And
3) Only One can know us.

As St. Paul tells us, "Love does not disappoint" because into our hearts he has poured his Holy Spirit. Amen.

************

*"life does not consist mainly--or even largely--of facts and happenings. It consists mainly of the storm of thoughts that is forever blowing through one's head. Could you set them down stenographically? No. Could you set down any considerable fraction of them stenographically? No. Fifteen stenographers hard at work couldn't keep up. Therefore a full autobiography has never been written, and it never will be. It would consist of 365 double-size volumes per year--and so if I had been doing my whole autobiographical duty ever since my youth, all the library buildings on the earth could not contain the result."

**Some good, some bad. Dante envisions that for the repentant, the bad will be washed away and only the good memories will enter paradise. (See Purgatory, Canto 31)

***Mark Twain's autobiography testifies to that desire. Why else would he go through the effort of producing a work locked away until every person involved has disappeared from the scene.

Versión Castellana

From Archives (Trinity Sunday - Year C):

2016: Levels of Happiness
2013: The Desire to be Known
2010: I Have Much More to Tell You
2007: Hope Does Not Disappoint
2004: I Was There
2001: The Image Within
1998: Foundation of the Universe

Complete List:

2016: Levels of Happiness
2015: Disciple Makers Week 9: The Final Goal
2014: Who Look Into the Depths
2013: The Desire to be Known
2012: Ultimate Freedom
2011: Origin and Goal
2010: I Have Much More to Tell You
2009: Purpose of Our Existence
2008: Family as Origin and Goal
2007: Hope Does Not Disappoint
2006: Back to the Basics
2005: Alone Again
2004: I Was There
2003: The Name
2002: An Excellent Question
2001: The Image Within
2000: Out of the Midst of Fire
1999: A Capacity for God
1998: Foundation of the Universe

Other Homilies

Seapadre Homilies: Cycle A, Cycle B, Cycle C

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