In our relationship with God, we are called not merely to know ourselves loved by God, but to participate in the relationship of love that we understand is God. The first letter of John explains that “God is love, and those who abide in love abide in God, and God abides in them.” When we love, we participate in the very life of God.
In the Christian tradition, the doctrine of the Trinity aims to express this amazing truth of a God who is love, who is relationship, by speaking of a God in three persons: Father, Son, and Holy Spirit, united in an endless dance of love. John’s Gospel helps give shape to this idea through its portrait of the intimacy between God and Jesus, and its promise of a “Spirit of Truth” who will guide us in the ways of all understanding.
While the mystery of the Trinity may not be perfectly understood or understandable to us, the essential point could not be more clear: “If we love one another, God lives in us and God’s love is perfected in us.” The more we love, the more we participate in the life of God, even to the point where something about God’s own self becomes more perfect than it already was. This is a mystery worth pondering. This is a privilege worth claiming.
We participate in the love of God not only through prayer and worship, the sacraments and the Eucharist, but also in the ordinary, everyday acts of love that populate our lives. We can harness it with a smile. We can embody it with a kind gesture. We can perfect it with an orientation toward the world that asks, as Jesus did, “How can I serve?”