From Fr George W. Rutler’s ‘Weekly Column’
Celebration of the Most Holy Trinity follows Pentecost, because it is through the Holy Spirit that the sublime truth of God as Three in One expands the limits of human intelligence. The perfect harmony of the Triune God is like music whose sound frequency cannot be registered by unaided hearing, but it reverberates in the systematic order of nature, evident in those things we take for granted: health, happiness, and peace.
The peace that Christ proposes is not a human fabrication (John 14:27). But as the Creator has entrusted the care of His creation to humans as His most complex creatures, we are responsible for promoting what Saint Augustine called the tranquillitas ordinis—the tranquility of order.
When the human mind works in harmony with the indications of the Holy Trinity, great things can be accomplished. For example, last week two astronauts on the SpaceX craft perfectly docked in outer space. In a devilish irony, this was accompanied by simultaneous rioting in our streets, nihilistic in its destructiveness. As many of the bomb throwers and arsonists were middle-class suburbanites turned terrorists, this was a commentary on the collapse of family life and the abandonment of classical education. And the desecration of our cathedral was the screech of young people who, for various reasons and from various sources, had come to think that the Divine Word of Life is an incomprehensible whimper.
The contrast between astronauts and anarchists is a model of the blessings and dangers of free will. “For the flesh desires what is contrary to the Spirit, and the Spirit what is contrary to the flesh. They are in conflict with each other, so that you are not to do whatever you want” (Galatians 5:17). This boils down to the choice between Christ and chaos, challenging the human mind to be rational or irrational. The human will is not bound to some arbitrary fate, but as John Milton put it: “The mind is its own place, and in itself can make a heaven of hell, a hell of heaven.”
It has been said one way or another that the gates of Hell are locked on the inside. By choosing misrule, distorted reason prefers Hell to Heaven. The gates of Heaven are opened by choosing the tranquility of divine logic. “Behold, I stand at the door and knock. If any one hears my voice and opens the door, I will enter his house and dine with him, and he with me” (Revelation 3:20).
The destiny of souls depends on what people do with the “if” of their moral freedom. Thus, Rudyard Kipling wrote: “If you can keep your head when all about you / Are losing theirs and blaming it on you, . . .”
Faithfully yours in Christ,
Father George W. Rutler