Contemporary Scripture Reflections for Spiritual Seekers
Dr. Elizabeth-Anne Stewart, BCC, PCC
June 7th , 2020
Feast of The Most Holy Trinity
Pope Francis
June 3rd, 2020

"Dear brothers and sisters in the United States, I have witnessed with great concern the disturbing social unrest in your nation in these past days, following the tragic death of Mr. George Floyd.
My friends, we cannot tolerate or turn a blind eye to racism and exclusion in any form and yet claim to defend the sacredness of every human life.

At the same time, we have to recognize that the violence of recent nights is self-destructive and self-defeating. Nothing is gained by violence and so much is lost."

Excerpt from
Elizabeth-Anne Stewart
Sheed & Ward, 1999

A Trinitarian God is relational because God is loving community. In early Greek tradition, this relationship was seen as a dance of love between Father, Son, and Spirit, a dance of intimacy. The C15th Russian iconographer, Andre Rublev, portrayed this dance of love through the forms of three angels -- the same angels who visited Abraham and Sarah in their tent near the Oak of Mamre, accepted their hospitality and then predicted the birth of Isaac (Gn 18:1-15). Gazing upon this icon, we come to realize that Love is at the heart of this holy circle and that each of us is invited to enter into its reality; all that is required is our own capacity for love and our willingness to suffer.

"Three in One and One in Three" may be absurd arithmetic, but it is also good theology, powerful theology, foolish theology. May the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ, and the love of God, and the communion of the Holy Spirit be with us all. Amen.


  1. To what extent is your prayer Trinitarian?
  2. To which Person of the Trinity do you pray the most often?
  3. How does the Mystery of God reach out to you and how do you respond?
  4. How do you reach out to the Mystery of God and what limits your efforts at being present to the Holy One?
  5. What sets you on fire with the love of God?
  6. How might you love your neighbor more intentionally, especially in this time of chaos?
  7. What in you needs to change if you are to "grasp" God?

Greetings, Readers!

To say that this last week has been one of chaos would be an understatement. Across America, we have seen a vast uprising, in peaceful protest, of courageous citizens who have had enough of the old racist and privileged ways; we have also witnessed the unprecedented destruction of property as looters and anarchists expressed their anger and frustration through violent means, torching establishments, pillaging and plundering, sometimes just for the sake of mayhem.

What we have seen has been a fight for America's soul -- for the right of freedom of assembly and freedom of speech; for the right of equal treatment under the law; for an end to police brutality, racial profiling and genocide against black Americans. We have also seen prophets emerge -- police officers willing to kneel with protesters and even walk with them, unarmed; clergy who have decried the president's hi-jacking of religious symbols; journalists who have risked their lives to cover "real" news such as the tear-gassing of peaceful protesters to clear Lafayette Park for a presidential photo op; former presidents -- both Democrats and Republicans- who have called for an end to racism; military leaders who have denounced violent threats towards protesters and the use of the military to control the popular uprising... Yes, it has been a week of chaos but also a week of soul-searching, truth-speaking, and passionate cries for a new world order.

Which side of history are we going to be on? Will we merely be silent spectators or can we each commit to some action, however small, to re-build a new America from the ashes? Each of us can do something, whether it be helping re-build communities, signing petitions, donating to justice-affiliated causes, helping educate others regarding systemic racism, examining our own consciences, or taking a knee in protest or prayer.

If we refuse to be a part of the solution, then we are part of the problem.

Let us continue to pray for peace and demand justice!

PS Try my spiritual self-assessment tool! After you take the Quiz, you will automatically receive a computer-generated diagram and explanatory comments regarding your strengths and "growing edges." I hope you find the Quiz useful!



Brothers and sisters, rejoice.
Mend your ways, encourage one another,
be of one mind, live in peace,
and the God of love and peace will be with you.
Greet each other with a holy kiss.
All God's people greet you.
The grace of the Lord Jesus Christ
and the love of God
and the fellowship of the Holy Spirit be with all of you. 2 Cor 13:11-13

The Shema could be described as the most essential prayer in Judaism: Hear, O Israel: The Lord our God, the Lord is One. While this prayer proclaims the absolute one-ness of God, there are multiple ways of naming and imaging God in the Hebrew scriptures. One internet post, for example, lists sixteen distinct ways of naming God, ranging from El Shaddai (Lord God Almighty) to Jehovah Shalom (The Lord is Peace); one of these names, Elohim (God) is actually plural in form which suggests that the fullness of God cannot be contained by a singular noun, even though this plural form typically takes singular verbs and adjectives. Islam with its 99 Beautiful Names of Allah and Hinduism with its multiple types and variants of Divinity all point to the same reality: that God is beyond all limitation, visually and numerically.

To experience the Trinity is to experience both the one-ness and plurality of God; what is distinctly Christian, however, is that the Incarnation is at the heart of the Trinity, extending an unending invitation for humanity to dwell there as well. Just as God descends into humanity in the Person of Jesus, so God invites humanity to ascend into the Divine Mystery, through Jesus who is "The Way" -- that is, through Love. "All you need is love, love, love is all you need," crooned the Beatles, and, yes, love is what it takes for us to dwell in the Trinity.

Writing in the late C14th, the anonymous author of The Cloud of Unknowing explains that the only way to penetrate the Mystery of God --that which we don't know-- is through the " sharp dart of longing love. " We cannot break through our "unknowing" intellectually as God is ultimately unknowable -- beyond theologizing, beyond definition, beyond words: God " may well be loved, but not thought. By love he (God) can be caught and held, but by thinking never." I should add that God cannot "be caught" by rote prayers, habitual piety, or religion practiced as "obligation"; nor can God "be caught" by attitudes of entitlement and superiority, or by behaviors that are exclusionary, prejudiced and unjust. A God who is beyond limitation expects those made in the Divine Image to be similarly inclusive.

If we are to participate in the life of the Trinity, three things need to happen:
  1. We must be both "findable" and "available," -- that is, there needs to be "a cloud of forgetting" between us and our many attachments, distractions, addictions, preoccupations, obsessions, fears, and resentments that cloud our ability to see on a spiritual plane. At the same time, however, and I don't believe the author of The Cloud of Unknowing touches on this, we cannot forget our brothers and sisters at home and across the globe. They, too, need our love, and it is by loving them that we learn to love God, not by forgetting them!
  2. We must be willing to surrender entirely to God's love for us and not fight it, resist it, flee from it, ignore it, tame it, or pretend we imagined it; nor should we "surrender" for the sake of some benefit such as a being rewarded in this life or the next, or --as St. John of the Cross would remind us -- to experience a spiritual high.
  3. We must stretch "with an outreaching love and a blind groping for the naked being of God, himself and him only." The love we pour out must be without restraint and without motives: It must be as lavish and foolish as that of the Prodigal Father in The Parable of the Prodigal Son; as self-emptying and Other-embracing as the love of the Crucified Christ; as transforming and empowering as the Holy Spirit's fiery flames. Then -- and then only-- will we be able to join in the Trinitarian dance of loving community, creativity and fecundity.

Coaching through Story
Team-taught virtual course, ILCT. Take one class or all four! Join from anywhere, via Zoom! Wednesdays, 4:00-6:00 p.m. ET
May 27th-June 17th, 2020

Out of Your Comfort Zone
Infinity Foundation, Highland Park, IL
Sunday, August 2nd,
1:00-4:00 p.m.

Decoding the Archetypes that Drive Us
Theosophical Society, Wheaton, IL
Thursday, Sept. 24th, 2020
7:00-8:30 p.m.
Balancing Archetypes
Theosophical Society, Wheaton, IL
Saturday, Sept. 26th, 2020
2:00-5:00 p.m.

Mind-Shifting Imagery
ICF (International Coaching Federation) Midwest Regional Conference, Madison WI
October 1-3, 2020

Beyond God
The Well Spirituality Center , LaGrange Park, IL
October 24, 2020
*re-scheduled as a virtual presentation
If you have canceled your retreat because of COVID-19, you may want to think about a virtual alternative. I will be available for customized group or individual "virtual retreats" (by phone or Zoom) from May 15-August 15. Please contact me by email for more information. Thank you!
This video explains my approach to this ministry, while my website provides further details as well. I work "in person" as well as remotely by phone, Zoom or Skype; I am also available to facilitate retreats for groups and individuals.
Dr. Elizabeth-Anne Stewart | |

C. All Photos by Elizabeth-Anne Stewart,