Exam time at Sophia: study, concentration and tension towards the goal, but also a possibility of making a synthesis, a space for acquired and shared knowledge. A student retells her hours spent in the lesson on Trinitarian Ontology.
“We have come to the Easter break and we are nearing the final sprint, to the conclusion of the biennial and thence the thesis. In the meantime however, I can say with both joy and gratitude that I have done well in all of my exams... the last one being: Trinitarian ontology: a journey which left me...marveling! More than just having studied, I had the impression of traveling: of taking a trip together inside the heart of ‘being’ with the sure guidance of a captain who, in reality, also allowed himself to be guided by that extraordinary relationship that had been building in the classroom.
My luggage became enriched with many concepts, and more so, of fundamental realities. First of all I understood that I needed to take seriously the ‘being’, the variety of forms and of persons surrounding me, even invisible ones, always and everywhere. I have discovered that if I allow the ‘being’ to speak to me, I meet with meaning, a new kind of grammar which says that ‘being’ is not defined in itself, but is contemporaneously, inseparably also being for the other.
At the end, what is Trinitarian Ontology? It is to dare to think of the meaning of being following a revelation. Meaning does not wait on me in order to be affirmed. It would be rash to think it, but the ‘being’ is ineffable, inexhaustible, transcending all of our rational and receptive abilities.
That revelation is in the giving by the Absolute, in precise moments of history, that has expressed itself and made Himself known to humanity: first by revealing Himself to the Jewish people as “I am who I am,” and then to all men and women, as God who became flesh. God Himself entered in the dimension of being in which we find ourselves and in which we move! That being, then, acquires absolute meaning. And we can begin to decipher it.
Whilst reading Augustine of Hippo, in particular, we began to understand that it is not possible to think about ‘being’ outside of a relationship. I am myself in so far as I am in a relationship. It is a grammar that is true for everything. It is after all that which all the sciences are discovering, psychology as well as the other social sciences, biology and even physics.
But Trinitarian Ontology says more. It says that the relationship will never dissolve the ‘being,’ as it happens in the Hegelian system, whereby what remains and has value is only the absolute subject, the Geist, or the state, and the single’s identity is no more. It is not so in God: there is One-God but there is also God the Father, God the Son and God the Holy Spirit. There is ‘absolute’ unity and there is ‘absolute’ diversity. The other is not dissolved in the one.
Thus, God, having taken on the human condition, in recapitulating all of creation in Himself, helps us understand that this dimension is co-original of being and relationship, and it is so for the entire cosmic reality.
Today, the idea that the human being is a ‘social animal’ and that each one owes all to the relationships in which he/she is born, grows and dies in, is transmitted to all through educational programs. The conscience of human relationship has grown in us to such a degree that, oftentimes, we end up asking ourselves: who am I? Are we only knots in a great net, woven throughout history by the generations before us? At this point the Trinitarian dimension opens up to us a new scenario: unity is not brought about by sacrificing diversity. I become who I am when I put myself into relationships, yet I am not a fruit of this! Every single individual has his inherent value. Not only is everyone indispensable for the whole, but in the whole each is everything.
One can understand thence, the greatness, the inexhaustible dignity of each person. It is thus possible to state that the expectation that each and everyone feels to be valued for one self is ontologically founded. Understanding the Trinitarian sense of being can aid us in discovering that truth which, – as post-modernity sees it – is that in a certain way each one of us, is not anarchic or incoherent, but makes sense and is driven to unity, there where the distinct freely give of themselves in a ‘Trinitarian game.’
I can therefore live totally in the reciprocity of giving, without fearing loss of self. In being, from the Trinity to the infinite pluriformity of creation, every particular is loved by love: is himself, but in the giving, he is also the other. For this reason - today I am ever more conscious of it – no one passes me by in vain.
At the time of the exam, I tried to give back to my teacher that which I had received from the course. With simplicity, I told him these things, giving him – not without some emotion – my gratitude. We traveled, and the journey continues onward.”