May 30, 2021 The Holy Trinity
My friends in Christ, there is a movie that was made only a few years ago that, well, I cannot recommend (because it is rated R for all kinds of reasons)…. But I must admit that I thoroughly enjoy this film and have seen this film several times! It. This film is deliciously terrifying! And I am definitely afraid of creepy killer clowns. They are indeed the terror of my life…which, I am sure, is a subject of psychoanalysis for another time.
This movie is based on a book by Stephen King, a real “master of horror,” and I bring all of this up because I have read many Stephen King books…and his horror is hugely misunderstood. It is not really the monsters and the creepy killer clowns that make his stories so horrifying…so much as it is the portrayal of the horrors of human brokenness and suffering. And it is quite evident that being alone is the true horror for Stephen King – and he himself has said as much in interviews.
“Alone,” he says. “The most awful word in the English tongue. ‘Murder’ [does not] hold a candle to it and ‘hell’ is only a poor synonym.”
In the story It, the creepy killer clown truly is horrifying – no question about that! But a far worse horror in that story is the broken life and awful suffering of a pre-teen girl named Beverly. In the movie, she is an only child whose mother is absent and whose father is abusive…and her father is abusive in just about every way imaginable: he neglects her, hardly ever noticing if she is at home or not, taking interest in her only when he wants to control her or to use her…he is abusive emotionally, with random, sudden bursts of fury and rage, frequently resulting in her physical abuse…he is abusive sexually…. Her house is rotting in filth, such that it just needs to be condemned. She is hardly more than malnourished, barely keeps up with minimum hygiene, and is not allowed to have friends….
Why her broken life and awful suffering is so horrifying (to me, anyway) is that it is only too real for far too many of us. This is the life of who knows how many children and youth – right here in our own neighborhood…. And that is merely the horror of the physical life – let alone the horrors of the spiritual life.
In the realm of the spirit…I dare say that, but for the grace of God, each of us is like Beverly in that story…and, but for the grace of God, Satan is our abusive father.
Try to imagine what it must be like to live a life like Beverly’s. Totally impoverished. And a house in such disrepair it really just needs to be bulldozed. And no heat, no clean running water, no electricity, and certainly no internet – gasp! Broken windows, broken floorboards. The yard outside: no grass, no trees, but only hardpan, gravel, and weeds…. And still, it gets even worse. Your life is a constant sorrow, a constant horror. Hungry and thirsty most days. Filthy and in need of a shower most days. Rats and cockroaches, all over the house. Black mold on the walls. Threadbare sheets are all you have to keep you warm at night. And you are used and abused, probably daily – several times a day. No rhyme or reason for the yelling, the screaming, the beatings, the neglect. Perhaps you are trafficked…bottles thrown at you, cigarettes put out on your bare arms and legs, strangers drunk or stoned all over the place…and you simply have no choice but to fend for yourself if you want food, or water, or warmth, or love.
Thus is the physical life, sadly, for countless many…. Thus is the spiritual life, as I say, for all of us…without God.
But then, one day, through the filth and the haze, you look out the window…and for some reason you never noticed them before, but now you see the neighbors across the street. They have such a fine home, a fine yard – grass and trees. They have food, water, warmth, and love. And the kids are happy and they are actually laughing. And the parents – they actually seem to like their kids; they play with their kids, not hit them…they nourish their kids, not starve them…they guard their kids, not traffic them…and they love the kids, not use them.
And day after day, as you watch this family…you finally discover such wonderful, beautiful things like love, joy, peace, and all good things…and you finally know now what a good life looks like.
And you wish – more than anything, you wish…that you could just be part of that world, not this world of brokenness and suffering that is your private, personal hell-on-Earth.
And then one day, that family across the street…they cross the street, and they come right up to the front door of your house, and they knock on the door, and you answer. And they are smiling and they say to you, “How would you like to come live with us?”
In the realm of the spirit, when we are without God…when, for whatever reason, the Lord has been jettisoned from our lives…when we are trapped in vice and sin…we are as Beverly in that story It. We are shackled to the utter horror of Satan’s tyranny.
But that family across the street: that is the Holy Trinity – the Divine Family of the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit. And just as how the children of that family across the street first met Beverly at school and wanted to be friends with her, so God the Son encountered us (and that was the Cross) and now wants to be friends with us.
In our sinfulness, our brokenness, our suffering under Satan’s abusive tyranny, we are like Beverly whose life is just so wretched. But the Divine Family crosses the street, comes to us, and invites us to come live with Them…and to live with Them forever. And the Cross of the Son is the bridge that crosses over the street; and that shower of clean water that we finally get to have is the
Baptism that cleanses us and frees us at last from the awful filth of Satan’s house; and we toss the old ratty rags that we used to wear and are given new clothes, clean clothes – sealed with the gift of the Holy Spirit at our Confirmation; and then we are invited to supper, and it is the Supper of the Lamb…the blessed feast of the Eucharist.
And when that happens…now we are part of that blessed Family. And just as God the Son encountered us, and the wheels then set in motion that ultimately led to our finally being freed from Satan’s house that we may live forever in God’s house, so now we go back out there, with Jesus, so as to find others who need to be set free from Satan’s house…and that is evangelization. We just share our story: “I, too, once was trapped in this awful place…but then Jesus found me and invited me to leave, to come and live with Him instead…and I said ‘yes.’”
My friends in Christ, our freedom from a horrifying house is precisely what the Holy Trinity does for each of us. Why in the world, then, would we not celebrate this with a rapturous joy? And why in the world would we not want to share this joy with anyone and everyone?
May it be, then, that the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ, the love of God the Father, and the communion of the Holy Spirit would empower each of us to grow in virtue and our ongoing pursuit of holiness, that we would then share this wondrous love with others…for the salvation of souls, and for the glorious majesty of God.
on Tuesday, June 1 at 9:17AM