God is infinitely happy.
That is the beautifully simple truth behind our great solemnity we are celebrating this weekend — the Most Holy Trinity.
We love and serve a God who is infinitely happy.
What do I mean by this?
Well, despite the inevitable confusion and inadequacy of human language whenever we try to describe the Holy Trinity, what I mean is this:
God is perfectly content in Himself. He has no need of anything or anyone else. He is Himself Perfect, Unending, Complete, and Infinite Relationship. A Divine Communion. From all eternity, Father, and Son and Holy Spirit — Three Distinct Persons — are One Undivided, Infinitely Happy God.
But we can take this another step further, to appreciate the full gravity of this statement. If in Himself, God is truly infinitely happy… if He has no need of anything…
Then why do we exist?
Because… we don’t have to! There is nothing “necessary” about us at all.
And yet here we are, worshipping the Triune God at Mass.
Because God is so generous, and so good, that He wants to share His infinite happiness with us!
In the fullest of freedom, He chose to create. He did not HAVE to make anything we see, hear, taste, or touch. Remember… God was already infinitely happy before He spoke us into being. And yet, out of the sheer superabundance of His goodness, God willed that we come onto the scene of reality. He loved us into existence out of absolutely nothing.
And this is important.
Because Creation is not the result of some rigid, mechanical necessity produced by an uncaring clockmaker god — Rather — Creation is a free, playful, superabundant gift given by an infinitely HAPPY God who takes immense delight in the creatures He has lovingly made.
Now with all this in mind — let’s listen again to Jesus’ Great Commission from the end of the Gospel of Matthew that we just heard proclaimed:
“Go, therefore, and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit.”
If God is truly infinitely happy, and if He desperately wants to share that infinite happiness with US… then what is Jesus really saying here?
“Go therefore, and baptize the whole world into the triune name of Perfect, Infinite Happiness!”
That is GOOD NEWS. When we were baptized in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit, we were introduced into the Trinitarian life that has been happily living in total love for ALL eternity!
And this gift is not for perfect people. Or even for ‘decently good’ people. This baptism the Lord enjoins his apostles to go out and perform is precisely for the WORST among us! The most proud, most envious, most lustful, most hateful, most greedy among us!
God is so perfectly, so infinitely happy that He is willing to share that happiness with poor, hopeless sinners, who have made themselves thoroughly miserable through their own sinful choices!
So you can see —
God is HAPPY to choose you.
God is HAPPY to forgive and wash you.
God is HAPPY to see you struggling and stumbling toward holiness.
God is HAPPY to hear your questions, your eager desire for answers, your pursuit of Truth!
God is HAPPY when you admit your mistakes and failures.
That’s what makes grace is so amazing. So shocking. So undeserved.
In the words of the prophet Isaiah, “We had all gone astray like sheep, all following our own way.” And what did “our own way” get us? Did it make us happy? St Paul in his letter to the Romans asks point blank: “What profit did you get then from the things of which you are now ashamed? For the end of those things is death.”
Sin brings about death! It’s that simple.
But thanks be to God, thanks be to the Most Holy Trinity, who set about to bring us true, lasting, eternal happiness. Redemption in Jesus has this as its goal:
To make us happy. Jesus says it Himself: “I have told you this so that my joy may be in you and your joy may be complete.”
But Father Anthony — you might object — I’m don’t always feel “happy!” I don’t always feel “joyful” — Fair enough!
But when it comes to the life of GRACE, we’re not talking about a cheap, emotional happiness! Being a Christian, baptized into the life of the Holy Trinity, does not mean to force ourselves to look happy or to pretend that everything is fine. Christian joy is not a relativistic happiness that says “anything goes” or that “nothing matters in the end because God is love.”
No, when I say that God is “infinitely happy” I don’t want you to think I’m talking about a superficial “happiness” or some sort of blind optimism that ignores suffering and sidesteps the real issues we all face on a daily basis.
No, the happiness we’re talking about is Beatitude.
And “blessedness” is possible to live out no matter what is going on in your life.
We’ve all heard the invitation, of course, to suffer joyfully. To retain that deep, abiding peace and happiness, rooted not in our external circumstances, but in our faith in the One True God, Father, Son, and Holy Spirit.
Jesus shows us how to do this and empowers us to follow Him.
He entered into the reality of our human brokenness while all the while staying perfectly united with the Father and the Holy Spirit. Theologians tell us that not once did Jesus ever stop enjoying the Beatific Vision — the Vision of the perfect, eternal happiness that resides in God — even as he hung on the Cross!
Somehow, Jesus crucified is the image of the truly happy man.
Because He’s with God. He is the Son, with the Father, with the Holy Spirit. Hanging there, dying out of love for all humanity, Jesus is perfectly fulfilling the Will of the Holy Trinity.
This is part of what St. Paul was getting at when in our second reading he writes: “The Spirit himself bears witness with our spirit that we are children of God, and if children, then heirs, heirs of God and joint heirs with Christ, if only we suffer with him so that we may also be glorified with him.”
If we only suffer with Christ — then we will be glorified with Him! The tears will be wiped away from our faces, and we will enjoy the Beatific Vision together forever.
Until then, however, we do live in this valley of tears.
Our families are so often splintered. Married life isn’t the ‘happily ever after’ that all the Disney movies promised. The kids fall away from the Faith. These frail bodies of ours undergo sickness and death. Our politics are fiercely divided, and some of our laws are despicable, evil and destructive to human life and human flourishing. Our Church leaders disagree and bicker. Our parishes shrink, and vocations to the priesthood don’t seem to come through…
Everything might feel like it’s falling apart at times…But as St. Philip Neri, the patron saint of joy, says:
“A servant of God ought always to be happy.”
How can he say that? In the face of so much trouble? So much bad?
He can say it because a servant of God ought always be filled with the life of the Holy Trinity.
And God is infinitely happy.
From Him, we receive a deep, unshakeable joy. A happiness with the eternal weight of glory backing it up. A happiness that laughs at evil, and hopes all things.
I’d like to end today by sharing words with you from Pope St. John Paul II:
“People are made for happiness. Rightly, then, you thirst for happiness. Christ has the answer to this desire of yours. But he asks you to trust him.”
That is so comforting! You were made for happiness. But you’re being asked to trust that Jesus really will lead you to true, lasting happiness… even if the path leads through suffering. So let go of the stuff that makes you miserable. All the sins. All the attachments. All the lies.
Trust that Christ our Savior will lead you home to the Blessed Trinity.
Trust that God will make you infinitely happy, even as He is.