January 11, 2022 • 6 min
This is actually one of the most underrated prayers, and one of the most helpful and beautiful. I would have you understand it a lot better if you would love God all the more, so I will tell you some things I have learned about it (after resolving to make it not my least favorite prayer anymore).
Glory be to the Father
and to the Son
and to the Holy Spirit
We take for granted that God is Three in One, or a Trinity. But take this ingredient out and you have chaos.
If there is only one God, then there is no “we” and there is no “I love you”, because “I love you” needs three: the “I”, the “love”, and the “you”, all of which needs to exist coeternally. So monotheism is sad and bleak, and all its forms, such as deism, theism, etc.
If there are more than one god, then who is in charge, and why are there more? This is not unity in diversity as the Trinity is, but it is some kind of polygamy, where there’s no harmony, only discord, no unity, only opposition. This is why the Greek and Roman mythologies are full of strife.
This comforts us, to know that there is Three in One. The Father, who loves the Son, the Son, who loves the Father, and the Love between them. This is the very essence of God: love and unity of multiple distinct persons. This is why God is Love.
As it was in the beginning,
And ever shall be,
This is even more comforting! We take for granted that God created the universe. But, being a convert from atheism and agnosticism, I can positively assure you that life is terrifying when you have no idea where life came from, and where life is going.
St. Francis de Sales talked about this in some recent book snippets, or at least his disciple, the Bishop of Belley, related it to us. That to love God because he is good and always will be good, this is a very good and holy way to love God.
And why? Because if we know that God is love, and that God existed, exists, and will exist—all independently of any other part of creation, good or evil, in heaven, hell, or on earth—then we can rejoice that goodness is immutable. Goodness is permanent. It’s here to stay, it exists more truly, more fully, more infinitely, than anything else we’ve ever experienced.
This is very good news for us! Because, we see bad things constantly happening to us, and to others, all around us, and all throughout the world. But this means, that all these bad things are temporary, and we can be completely assured that “God will wipe away every tear” one day, for those who prove to have good hearts.
This is very comforting, because it means that, no matter how many bad things happen, if we choose goodness, then everything will eventually be completely okay, no matter how bad things seem to get in the moment. And yes, I’m deeply aware that things can get very, very bad in this life. I’m not just talking about a stubbed toe.
World without end.
All we really own in this life is our will, our choice, our freedom. Everything else is only leant to us, so that we may see if we are trustworthy with our freedom. This is why Jesus said, “if you are not faithful with what is not yours, who will give you what is your own?” We own nothing right now but our freedom and choice and freewill.
But one day, we will own everything. We are heirs! Even heirs of the Kingdom of God! And we are children of God! Within the Bride of Christ, which is the Church, the Body of Christ! So we can be completely assured that one day, God will give us what is our own, even the whole creation! And no bad thing will ever happen again within it!
It’s true that right now, we don’t see much evidence of owning everything. But that’s only because we are heirs, not owners. Now, the difference between and heir and an owner, is that the heir will eventually have completely freedom over what he owns, though he truly owns it; yet the owner has complete freedom now.
This is why the Letter to the Hebrews says, “in putting everything in subjection to him, he left nothing outside his control. Yet, we do not yet see everything in subjectino to him; but we see Jesus,” because Jesus owns everything, yet the Kingdom of God is not yet entirely here in its fullness. That can only happen on Judgement Day, and this is part of God’s mercy in being patient with those who are still enslaved to sin.
But as heirs, we have access to what we need in the moment. Test God in this,and you will see that it is true: if you truly desire to do only God’s will in all things, then he will absolutely give you what is needed to accomplish it—for why would he command you do do something and not give you what is necessary to obey it?
This is exactly how God acted with St. John Bosco, who people called insane, and literally tried to have him instititionalized, all because he had faith that God would provide, even if it was at the last second. If we imitate this Saint’s faith, and completely do only what God calls us to, we will see that God will give us everything needed to accomplish it, no matter how difficult it seems, or improbable its success looks to those without Faith.
Trust in God, and pray for a double portion of St. John Bosco’s spirit, just as Elisha prayed for a double portion of Elijah’s spirit, and received it. I think we will receive it in due time if we ask with simplicity of intention.