The Trinity in its Glory,
Illumination by Jean Fouquet,
Illustration in the Hours of Etienne Chevalier,
Executed circa 1445,
Painting on vellum,
© Musée Condé, Chantilly, France
Solemnity of the Most Holy Trinity
Jesus said to Nicodemus:
'God loved the world so much that he gave his only Son,
so that everyone who believes in him may not be lost
but may have eternal life.
For God sent his Son into the world
not to condemn the world,
but so that through him the world might be saved.
No one who believes in him will be condemned;
but whoever refuses to believe is condemned already,
because he has refused to believe in the name of God's only Son.'
Reflection on the Illuminated Manuscript Miniature
Today, the first Sunday after Pentecost, we celebrate the Holy Trinity, the three persons of God: the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit.
Our image for today is taken from the Hours of Etienne Chevalier, a Medieval illuminated manuscript, commissioned by Etienne Chevalier, treasurer to King Charles VII of France, by the miniature painter Jean Fouquet. It shows a lavishly decorated palace hall with an orange angel-bordered aureola enclosing a bright yellow light emanating from each Person of the Trinity, seated on a monumental triple throne. Each Person of the Trinity is illustrated exactly the same. Identical. Same importance. Note their hand pose with the three lifted fingers, which we discussed in yesterday's reflection.
We are part of the row of people at the bottom of the illustration, watching the Trinity, Our Lady on her throne, the angels, the saints, the bishops, the kings… To live the message of the Gospel means that we have to move from the shadows of darkness into the light illustrated so beautifully here. It almost looks like a sun. In prayer, we open ourselves to the light of the Trinity, a bit like sunning ourselves in the warmth of the sun… the gentle and bright light which illuminates and warms us completely.
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