Pope Francis on the Solemnity of the Most Holy Trinity

We are not islands

 We are not islands  ING-024
17 June 2022

On Sunday, 12 June, after reciting the Angelus with the faithful gathered in Saint Peter’s Square, Pope Francis apologised to the authorities and people of the Democratic Republic of Congo and of South Sudan for having postponed his trip — set for 2-7 July — due to a problem with his leg. “Let us pray together that, with the help of God and medical treatment, I will be able to be with you as soon as possible”. Earlier, the Holy Father had reflected on the Gospel passage from John about the Holy Trinity, explaining that the Trinity teaches us that we depend on others. “We are not islands; we are in the world to live in God’s image: open, in need of others and in need of helping others”. The following is a translation of the Holy Father’s words which were given in Italian.

Dear Brothers and Sisters,
Buongiorno and happy Sunday!

Today is the Solemnity of the Holy Trinity, and in the Gospel of the celebration Jesus presents to us the other two divine Persons, the Father and the Holy Spirit. He says of the Spirit: “He will not speak on his own authority, but whatever he hears he will speak, and he will declare to you the things that are to come”. And then, regarding the Father, he says: “All that the Father has is mine” (Jn 16:14-15). We notice that the Holy Spirit speaks, but not of himself: he announces Jesus and reveals the Father. And we also notice that the Father, who possesses everything because he is the origin of all things, gives to the Son everything he possesses: he keeps nothing for himself and he gives himself fully to the Son. That is, the Holy Spirit speaks not of himself; he speaks about Jesus, he speaks about others. And the Father does not give himself, he gives the Son. It is open generosity, one open to the other.

And now let us look at ourselves, at what we talk about and what we possess. When we speak, we always want others to say something good about us, and often, we only speak about ourselves and what we do. How often! “I have done this and that…”, “I had this problem…”. We always speak like this. How different this is from the Holy Spirit, who speaks by announcing others, and the Father the Son! And how jealous we are of what we possess. How hard it is for us to share what we possess with others, even with those who lack the basic necessities! It is easy to talk about it, but difficult to practice.

This is why celebrating the Most Holy Trinity is not so much a theological exercise, but a revolution in our way of life. God, in whom each Person lives for the other in a continual relationship, in continual rapport, not for himself, provokes us to live with others and for others. Open. Today we can ask ourselves if our life reflects the God we believe in: do I, who profess faith in God the Father, Son and Holy Spirit, truly believe that I need others in order to live, that I need to give myself to others, that I need to serve others? Do I affirm this in words or do I affirm it with my life?

The Triune God, dear brothers and sisters, must be manifested in this way — with deeds rather than words. God, who is the author of life, is transmitted not so much through books as through witness of life. He who, as the evangelist John writes, “is love” (1 Jn 4:16), reveals himself through love. Let us think about the good, generous, gentle people we have met; recalling their way of thinking and acting, we can have a small reflection of God-Love. And what does it mean to love? Not only to wish them well and to be good to them, but first and foremost, at the root, to welcome, to be open to others, to make room for others, to give space to others. This is what it means to love, at the root.

To understand this better, let us think of the names of the divine Persons, which we pronounce every time we make the sign of the cross: each name contains the presence of the other. The Father, for example, would not be such without the Son; likewise, the Son cannot be considered alone, but always as the Son of the Father. And the Holy Spirit, in turn, is the Spirit of the Father and the Son. In short, the Trinity teaches us that one can never be without the other. We are not islands; we are in the world to live in God’s image: open, in need of others and in need of helping others. And so, let us ask ourselves this last question: in everyday life, am I too a reflection of the Trinity? The sign of the cross I make every day — the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit — is that sign of the cross we make every day a gesture for its own sake, or does it inspire my way of speaking, of encountering, of responding, of judging, of forgiving?

May Our Lady, daughter of the Father, mother of the Son and spouse of the Spirit, help us to welcome and bear witness in life to the mystery of God-Love.

After praying the Angelus, the Holy Father continued:

Dear brothers and sisters, yesterday in Wrocław, Poland, Sister Paschalis Jahn and nine sister martyrs of the Congregation of the Sisters of Saint Elizabeth, killed at the end of the Second World War in hatred of the Christian faith, were beatified. Although they were aware of the risks they were running, these 10 women religious remained by the elderly and the sick they were looking after. May their example of faithfulness to Christ help us all, especially Christians who are persecuted in various parts of the world, to courageously bear witness to the Gospel. A round of applause for the new Blesseds!

And now I would like to address the people and authorities of the Democratic Republic of Congo and South Sudan. Dear friends, with great regret, due to problems with my leg, I have had to postpone my visit to your countries, planned for the first days of July. I truly feel great regret for having had to postpone this trip, which means so much to me. I apologize for this. Let us pray together that, with the help of God and medical treatment, I will be able to be with you as soon as possible. Let us be hopeful!

I greet you all, people of Rome and pilgrims from Italy and many countries. In particular, I greet the faithful from Spain and Poland, the Musical Band of San Giorgio di Castel Condino, which I look forward to hearing play at the end, the Verona Minor Hierusalem Foundation, catechists from Grottamare, candidates for Confirmation from Castelfranco Veneto, and the faithful of Mestrino. I also greet the AVIS group from Codogno and I express my appreciation to those who donate blood, a simple and noble gesture of solidarity.

I greet you all, also the young people of Mary Immaculate. I wish you a blessed Sunday. And please, do not forget to pray for me. Enjoy your lunch. Arrivederci!