In dogmatic theology we refer to the Trinity as a “procession,” that is to say, something or someone that “proceeds”. In the Creed we speak of the Holy Spirit proceeding from the Father, and this, in fact, refers to John’s Gospel, at the end of Chapter Fifteen: the Spirit of Truth that proceeds from the Father (John 15:26).
What does this procession, this proceeding mean for us? Processions were a noticeable part of the liturgy during my childhood in the 1950’s. Some of them even spilled out of the parish church through the local streets. I grew up in an immigrant ghetto capable of such demonstrations.
A “demonstration” is another good term, if stripped of the connotations of political opposition it’s acquired in the past sixty years. In its root sense, a demonstration unfolds evidence in an illustrative way, just as a procession moves us in a consistent direction to a final goal in a very organic fashion, allowing the movement to express, or demonstrate, piety and faith, for example.
Our first reading from the Book of Proverbs also describes a procession, a demonstration from the mouth of Divine Wisdom. Collaborating with the Eternal One, Holy Wisdom confects the creation of all: creation, intended and willed by God, not a random happenstance that incidentally resulted in the world and life we know. This doesn’t tell us in any detail how God and Divine Wisdom brought this about but that what exists is intimately related to the Divine. And can’t that same creation reflect and lead us back to that Divine intention, that Divine will and life?
It’s not unusual for liturgical processions to return to their starting point. I’m not pretending to explain the Holy Trinity but I can claim, as part of the procession or demonstration, that we members of creation could well illustrate the work, the presence of the Triune God. Didn’t the One who first proceeded from the Father, as God’s Incarnate Son, gathers us as his Body, into a procession animated and oriented by the Spirit, into that great movement back to the Godhead?
If we would just look around us, look deep inside ourselves, reconnect with that great movement, might we not discover, couldn’t we become what we’re really about?