Br. Peter Trinko
Today Holy Mother Church calls us to celebrate the Feast of the Conversion of St. Paul. Perhaps the greatest persecutor of the Church is transformed by the grace of Christ, and freely becomes a great Apostle to the gentiles and eventually a martyr. In the letters of St. Paul, which have fed the souls of the saints and all Christians since the beginning of the Church, we can find many profound insights to the mystery of Christ and His Church, although perhaps none more profound than his understanding of the mystery of the Holy Trinity dwelling within us. In this blog, taking points from Fr. Raoul Plus, S.J.’s God Within Us, we aim to bring awareness to the great mystery “hidden from ages” of the dwelling of the Holy Trinity within souls by grace.
Intimacy presupposes presence.
Friendship with God
In the current environment of masks and social distancing, many have been weighed down by the increased isolation that we are facing in a world that was already beginning to have increased loneliness. We are more and more experiencing what we read in Genesis: “It is not good for the man to be alone” (Gen 2:18).
If one is going to be friends with someone and develop an authentic relationship, shared interests or goals are not enough. Intimacy presupposes presence.
This principle is no different in our relationship with God. It is written in the very core of our being that we are made for eternal union with God. St. John Paul II said, “It is Jesus in fact that you seek when you dream of happiness; He is waiting for you when nothing else you find satisfies you.”
Just as we are now experiencing more and more with our friends here, it can seem that God is so far away, and thus, it can seem difficult to develop a relationship with Him. However, we must ask the question, is this in fact, true?
If we were to consider where God is, we know He is both in heaven as well present in all and everywhereas Creator and First Cause holding all together in being (cf. Col. 1:17). However, both of these can seem abstract and distant. We know by faith that God is truly present, Body, Blood, Soul and Divinity, in the Eucharist, but the responsibilities of life do not allow us to spend all of our time in the church.
And here is the problem: How can I develop a personal relationship with the invisible God (cf. Jn 1:18), if I can seemingly only be with Him occasionally?
If one were to ask a child where God is, he would answer ‘in my heart’. What causes him to be there? ‘Grace’. What can drive him out? ‘Sin’.
The most profound and important truths are also the simplest. In the soul in a state of sanctifying grace, God truly dwells! A soul in the state of grace has a participation in the divine life of God, of eternal life. As St. Paul says: “the mystery hidden from ages and from generations past. But now it has been manifested to His holy ones, to whom God chose to make known the riches of the glory of this mystery among the Gentiles; it is Christ in you, the hope for glory.” (Col. 1: 26-27).
So often we think of sanctifying grace only as a ‘negative’ – that is – it is not being in the state of sin. Rather, as the Catechism of the Catholic Church says, “Sanctifying grace is a habitual gift, a stable and supernatural disposition that perfects the soul itself to enable it to live with God, to act by His love.”
Consequences of the Divine Indwelling
When we are in the state of grace, we are a Temple of God, that is, the Holy Trinity truly dwells within us. It is important for us to recognize our supernatural privilege, to grow deeper in our understanding of this truth and allow it to change our lives.
The more often souls commune with God who dwells within them, the greater will be their desire to become Eucharistic souls.
There are stories of brave saints who were martyred for protecting our Lord in the Holy Eucharist (such as St. Tarcisius). But do we stop to think that we too are carrying our Lord with us when we are in the state of grace? When I talk, work, and live my life, do I act as a living tabernacle of the Holy Trinity? As we grow deeper in our awareness of the Trinity within us, it becomes more and more clear we must live a more holy and Christ-like life.
We must note that devotion to the Trinity dwelling withing us in no way excludes devotion to Jesus truly present in the Eucharist. In fact, “to an event greater extent does an understanding of the mystery of the Indwelling develop the Eucharistic Spirit among us”. “The more often souls commune with God who dwells within them, the greater will be their desire to become Eucharistic souls”.
Finding Our Treasure Within
How can we grow closer to our God within us, to unlock this great treasure? Our Lord Jesus Christ tells us, “Amen, amen, I say to you, unless a grain of wheat falls to the ground and dies, it remains just a grain of wheat; but if it dies, it produces much fruit.” (Jn. 12:24-25) In other words, we shall only find God on the condition that we are prepared to lose ourselves. There is no room in the soul for both our ego and God.
As we die to ourselves, our interests, our way of seeing things, and granted that we continue to seek God – He will come and slowly take over our lives and allow us to live the great calling of Christian charity.
This truth will surely entail crosses, but as Fr. Raoul Plus beautifully writes: “We may lose our all. If God remains, what more can we want? We may be abandoned by all. If God does not abandon us, we shall miss very little...In short, when St. Paul tells us to rejoice, what else does he mean, except just this: that we should always be in a state of grace”?
Through the intercession of St. Paul and Our Lady of Grace, let us pray and work to become more aware of the great truth of God dwelling by grace within our souls and let His spirit animate all aspects of our life.
This blog is based on Fr. Raoul Plus's book God Within Us, also the subject of a previous Voces talk that can be found here.
 Cf. 2 Cor. 6: 14-18
 St. John Paul II, Vigil of Prayer 15th World Youth Day, August 19, 2000.
 Catechism of the Catholic Church, 1997. Grace is a participation in the life of God. It introduces us into the intimacy of Trinitarian life: by Baptism the Christian participates in the grace of Christ, the Head of his Body. As an "adopted son" he can henceforth call God "Father," in union with the only Son. He receives the life of the Spirit who breathes charity into him and who forms the Church.
 Catechism of the Catholic Church, 2000.
 Fr. Raoul Plus, S.J., God Within Us, 99. St. Alphonsus Liguori and many saints recommend the practice of making frequent spiritual communions. This desire to be united with our Lord can be expressed in a prayer such as this:
I believe that You are present in the Most Holy Sacrament.
I love You above all things,
and I desire to receive You into my soul.
Since I cannot at this moment receive You sacramentally,
come at least spiritually into my heart.
I embrace You as if You were already there
and unite myself wholly to You.
Never permit me to be separated from You.
 Fr. Raoul Plus, S.J., God Within Us, 161.