Project Canterbury

Locust Street Letters

By Frank Lawrence Vernon

Philadelphia: St. Mark's Church, Locust Street.




"Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind. This is the first and great commandment."

We know God by loving Him. Love is the path which leads to the knowledge of God. This is the law of all relationships. As love continues the understanding deepens. When the love has matured the understanding becomes perfect. There never can be perfect understanding except through perfect love.

The Church prepares us for Trinity Sunday by beginning with Advent. The first lesson in the Mystery of the Holy Trinity is, "God so loved the world that he gave His only begotten Son, to the end that all that believe in Him should not perish, but have everlasting life." The first lesson is the love of God the Father.

On Christmas Day we learned the second lesson. We were taught to praise God "because thou didst give Jesus Christ, thine only Son, to be born as at this time for us; Who by the operation of the Holy Ghost, was made very man, of the substance of the Virgin Mary His Mother; and that without spot of sin, to make us clean from all sin." At the Manger we praised Father, Son and Holy Ghost.

On Easter Day we learned the third lesson. We were taught to praise God "for the glorious Resurrection of thy Son Jesus Christ our Lord: for He is the very Paschal Lamb, which was offered for us, and hath taken away the sin of the world; Who by His death hath destroyed death, and by His rising to life again hath restored to us everlasting life."

On Ascension Day we learned the fourth lesson. We were taught to praise God "through thy most dearly beloved Son Jesus Christ our Lord; Who after His most glorious Resurrection, manifestly appeared to all His Apostles, and in their sight ascended up into heaven, to prepare a place for us; that where He is, thither we might also ascend, and reign with Him in glory."

On Whitsunday we learned the fifth lesson. We were taught to praise God "Through Jesus Christ our Lord; according to whose most true promise, the Holy Ghost came down as at this time from heaven, lighting upon the disciples, to teach them, and to lead them into all truth; giving them boldness with fervent zeal constantly to preach the Gospel unto all nations; whereby we have been brought out of darkness and error into the clear light and true knowledge of thee, and of thy Son Jesus Christ."

We were taught to live with God in these seasons by prayer, penitential preparation, self-discipline, and by feeding upon the Eucharistic Food, in our hearts, by faith with thanksgiving. We wrote our spiritual history. We measured our spiritual progress. It was all so intensely real. As our love grew our knowledge grew. We were helped to see the hand of God shaping our lives. By personal experience we learned the love of the Father, the Son and the Holy Ghost.

On Trinity Sunday we learn the sixth lesson. We praise God with all our mind as well as with all our heart "who with thine only begotten Son, and the Holy Ghost, art one God, one Lord, in Trinity of Persons and in unity of substance. For that which we believe of thy glory, O Father, the same we believe of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost, without any difference of inequality."

A master theologian has written, "it is more important to love the Blessed Trinity than to understand it." If we love now, the understanding will come with the Beatific Vision.

Affectionately in Our Lord,

Project Canterbury