My brothers and sisters, I often smile whenever the words from the musical ‘Sweet Charity’ come to mind: “And the rhythm of life is a powerful beat, Puts a tingle in your fingers & a tingle in your feet. “I say this because sometimes I think they can be applied to the rhythm of the life of the Church, the life of prayer & celebration that we follow. This, too, has a powerful beat & can give us renewed energy for life. Today we stand at a wonderful moment in that rhythm of life. Last Sunday we celebrated & sang of the coming of the Holy Spirit. Today we stand in awe before the majesty of God, Father, Son &Holy Spirit. Next Sunday we rejoice in the gift of the Sacred Body & Blood of Christ, the most holy sacrament. I would like to ponder on these three great feasts & the rhythm of life that echoes through them. But it’s hard to know where to start.

Without a doubt the high point of this dance of faith comes at the end, at the climax of our lives. I’m sure you will recall the words of the hymn ‘How great thou art’. Its last verse takes us to the climax of life, when we shall be taken home, into the presence of God & filled with joy. Then come the words: “Then I shall bow in humble adoration & there proclaim ‘My God how great thou art!’ This is the final act of our life, & its true beginning. Only in adoration will we be fulfilled, overflowing with joy, caught up in true rapture before the beauty and majesty of God.

This is what we reach out to celebrate today on this Feast of the Most Holy Trinity, the wonder of God, the constant flow of creative love & mercy, of Father, Son & Holy Spirit. This is, the final chord of our dance, a chord which vibrates & resonates through all eternity. But the rhythm of life is not so simple nor majestic. For in the present moment, we often struggle to find the right steps, to stay with our dance partners, to combine the new & the old, the traditional & the creative. This is where we need another part of the wonder of faith we are celebrating just now: the gift of the Holy Spirit.

Like the best music teacher, or dance tutor, the Holy Spirit, given to each of us & to the Church, opens for us a deeper understanding of our faith & the courage to apply its truths to our daily lives. The Spirit comes to us in prayer, in quietness, often in the slow movements of life, which contain pathos & sadness as well as profound joy and brightness. The Spirit is given to the Church so that we may move in a graceful unity of purpose in a world so fragmented and bewildered.

At times the Holy Spirit has been compared to rain. It goes like this: rain is always the same, whether in Spain or elsewhere. But rain helps to produce a multitude of different flowers, different fruits, different trees – all the richness of the natural world. So too in us. The Holy Spirit helps to bring to fruit all the different gifts that each of us has been given. These gifts are given so that the real richness of the life of the Church can be seen & the gifts of every person become part of the beauty of our mission among people. The gifts each one of you has received are needed for this purpose & treasured in the sight of God. So we pray: ‘Come Holy Spirit, fill the hearts of your faithful, & enkindle in them the fire of your love!’ This wondrous gift of the Holy Spirit is the outpouring of the Blessed Trinity. It is the flow of love between Father & Son, Creator & Word of Truth, now lifting up all things, back to the throne of God, to that ‘humble adoration’ in which we find all fulfilment.

So now I come to the third part of this triple celebration. The rhythm of life, its music and dance, is demanding & at times very tiring. We cannot dance, as it were, on an empty stomach. To sustain us we need to be nourished, to be fed! So, next Sunday we celebrate the Feast of the precious Body & Blood of the Lord. Here is our food of life, our nourishment for the journey. Here we are filled with thanksgiving – the meaning of the word ‘Eucharist’ ,for this banquet of life, the food we eat, makes us part of what we receive, the Body of Christ. Then we can give ourselves to the deepest rhythm of life, the demanding beat of love & self-sacrifice which Christ himself has spelt out for us.

We know the steps of this dance: a daily call to be forgetful of our own pressing needs in order to meet those of others, those who depend on us, those who have so few resources of their own. We know how these steps lead steadily towards a deeper love & a maturity of sight, seeing beyond the moment & just occasionally glimpsing the horizons of eternity that lie before us. Remember the words of the hymn ‘Sweet Sacrament Divine’: In thy far depths doth shine, Thy Godhead’s majesty. Every time we take part in the celebration of the Mass, kneeling in the presence of Christ in this Sacrament, we are anticipating that final act of worship, when we shall bow in humble adoration and there proclaim ‘my God how great thou art!’

In these three great feasts, we can grasp the richness & beauty of our faith: the majesty of God into whose presence we are called, the vitality of the Holy Spirit stirring in us the possibility of holiness, & the strength of Jesus given to us in the most Holy Eucharist. This is a cause of great joy, to be shared by all the people, with your children, with your neighbours, at any time & in any place. For this I give great thanks to God & to you, too, for the witness you give &the constant support of your prayers.
May God bless you all.

Cardinal Vincent Nichols
Archbishop of Westminster