(1902 – 1970)


 Why is there a space, something that expresses an opening-up right in the foreground of [Roublev’s Trinity] icon? 
         The circle is closed on all sides.  In the background the group of angels is protected by their wings; it is only below that there is an empty space, repeating the shape of the chalice, and opening up towards the altar.  Is there going to be a third guest?
         Is your happiness incomplete so long as this place remains empty?
         It has always been waiting there, and they have always been waiting. 
         They are waiting for you: as if there were only you in the world.  You are so precious in their eyes.
         “He chose us before the foundation of the world...that we should be holy and blameless before him, and live in love in his presence.”
         “Pay attention, remotest peoples: the Lord called me before I was born.  From my mother’s womb he pronounced my name” (Jeremiah 49).
         Can you not hear a stream within you whispering, “Come to the Father?”  Can you not hear his own voice, “You are always with me.  All I have is yours?”  “I no longer call you servants but friends, because all I have heard from the Father I have told you.”  “You will no longer be called Forsaken, but you shall be called My Delight.”
         “For those whom God had already chosen he had also set apart to become like his Son, so that the Son should be the first among many brothers.”
         Now contemplate the Father, with the large eyes that are already in your heart.  He, the Son, is so utterly given over to you, hidden away in your weak hands, that you can hold out your hands to the Father and offer him the Son whom he loves dearly.
         Offer him with all the tears that marked his face, all the love that beat in his human heart, but also with all his Beauty, all his Glory, all his filial Joy.
         There is still an apparently small detail: the small rectangle, just where you come up to the table.  It is the opening made in the altar to take the martyrs’ relics.  This means that you can only have access to the chalice by becoming a witness to your Lord, ready to shed your blood like him, as a Eucharist for his Father’s glory.
         “You will receive power; the power of the Holy Spirit will come upon you.  You will be my witnesses to the ends of the earth.”
         “And I saw a huge number, impossible to count, of people from every nation, race, tribe and language; they were standing in front of the throne and in front of the Lamb, dressed in white robes and holding palms in their hands” (Revelation 7:9).
         It is a foretaste of the Kingdom, bathed in light that is not of this world, and all filled with pure joy, divine joy, simply because of the fact that the Trinity exists, that we are loved, and all is grace.
         “It is Christ who made the heart of humankind, like a vast casket, large enough to hold very God.”  (Nicholas Cabasilas)
         Tell me, did you never feel you were inhabited?  Can you not hear life palpitating in your depths?  Yes, the Three are there, in all their mystery....Yes, you are inhabited!
         “If only you knew what God is offering!”
         “If anyone loves me, my Father will love him, and we will come to him, and live with him.”
         Yes, you live in the Trinity, who lives in you, and he is your guest.
         Do not grieve the Holy Spirit, because the tears of the Spirit are in us.  He will never impose himself.  He will never violate your freedom.
         Let your three Guests love one another with you, praise one another in you, and sing to one another; let them dance for you in your tent....




In their many different idioms the classical spiritual writers have attempted to throw light on the eternal question of union with God. 
Every month we give you a brief passage from a spiritual classic.