The Trinity in its Glory,
Illumination by Jean Fouquet (circa 1420–1481),
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 by the miniature painter Jean Fouquet. It was commissioned by Etienne Chevalier, treasurer to King Charles VII of France. 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, who are seated on a monumental triple throne. All the persons of the Trinity are illustrated as exactly the same, identical. Same importance. The Father, Son, and Holy Spirit are all of the same essence, God, but they are three distinct persons.
We are part of the row of people at the bottom of the illuminated manuscript page, 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 live in the Trinity illustrated so beautifully here. The light is shining brightly on the coloured cloaks of all the people. Today’s feast invites us to live in the awareness of the presence of the Triune God within us: The Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit. Each time we say a prayer and make a sign of the cross (Father, Son and Holy Spirit) at the start and at the end of it, we place ourselves in the presence of the Trinity.
Happy feast day everyone.
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