Tuesday, May 25, 2010

Rublev's Trinity

One God, Three Persons.  This coming Sunday the Church focuses on the fundamental mystery of the Holy Trinity. Please consult the Catechism of the Catholic Church for the Church's teachings on the Trinity. The Catechism is available on the Vatican website http://www.vatican.va/. We are so blessed to have God in community.  As Church, we are invited into this Mystery by imitating the theological community of Father, Son and Holy Spirit.

Rather than comment on the Catechism, or this week's Scripture passages, I'd like to offer a brief Trinitarian reflection through a very famous Russian icon. In fact, it is one of my favorite pieces of art. I am speaking of Andrei Rublev's famous icon called The Trinity, c. 1410.

Rublev has in mind the three visitors in Genesis 18. The early Church, like Rublev, saw these mysterious visitors as a trinitarian type. After being shown hospitality by Abraham and Sarah, the angels announce the arrival of a son.

This son will be called Isaac, meaning "laughter," because Sarah laughed at the notion of having a child at so great an age!  However, Rublev removes Abraham and Sarah from the scene. Only their house and the terebinth tree of Mamre are there as vestiges.  Instead Rublev focuses on the "messengers" or angels, since the word "angel" means messenger of God. 

He shows the angels in communion. They are gathered around a table of hospitality, a type of altar. They communicate with each other visually too. Rublev's circular composition demonstrates that they are one.

The color schema shows that Rublev was thinking of Father, Son and Holy Spirit.
The Father is shown in ineffable garb, almost transparent, since He dwells in inapproachable light.

The Son is shown in earthly hues, His two fingers on the table reminding us that He is both God and Man.

The Spirit is shown in green, since He is the Lord and Giver of Life.

Enter into this famous Icon this week, a window into the Sacred relationships of our God!
May God bless you - Father, Son and Holy Spirit.
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