How do you express affection for your children, your parents, your spouse or your friends? Often, we show our affection for those we love with a kiss or hug. In other circumstances, we might show our love by giving little gifts, by preparing a meal or simply by dedicating time to be present for one another. Through has always been easy for me to actively affirm love for others, it has taken time to realize how important it is to welcome the ways that my parents, siblings and friends express their love for me.
When I lived in New York, I didn’t own a car for many years. On Sunday morning, my father would pick me up very early, we’d pick up some coffee, and then he’d drop me off at the parish where I worked When I got my own car last April, I immediately called my father to relay the good news. He shared some of my excitement—he was proud of his daughter for getting a great deal, and relieved that I would be safe in a brand new vehicle—and his voice took a more serious tone.
“I am still driving you to work on Sunday,” he said.
I thought that he would be relieved that he could sleep late on a Sunday for once! I thought that he would be proud of his daughter’s independence! Then it dawned on me. This was not about my father’s obligation or my transportation needs. Our Sunday morning time together was Dad’s way of showing his daughter how much he loved her. The way to return that love was to simply welcome my father’s willingness to be present in my life and honor the bond of father and daughter.
“See you at 8:00a.m., Dad.”
Sunday mornings with my Dad were moments of motivation that lasted long after I arrived at work. Looking back, I have come to realize that the significance of these early Sunday mornings surpassed the exchange of love between a parent and a child, and they surpassed our mutual affirmation. These Sunday mornings were about the entirety of father, daughter and the bond of encouraging spirit that draws each to each. Sunday mornings with Dad were encounters with the fullness of God’s presence.
This weekend we celebrate the Most Holy Trinity. We celebrate the reality of one God as Father, Son and Spirit. We celebrate the richness of God who gives love, receives love, and empowers love in love.
St. Bernard of Clairvaux says:
“the Father is he who kisses, the Son he who is kissed, then it cannot be wrong to see in the kiss the Holy Spirit, for he …their unshakable bond, their undivided love, their indivisible unity”
As your eyes lovingly meet the eyes of your child, your parent, or your beloved, be still and surrender to this quiet, joyful moment of peace. Here, God is present through the entirety of loving, being loved and through the bond that impels two persons to glorify the Divine in every moment of existence.
May every moment you spend with those you love be moments of God’s presence.