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Today’s host(s): Scot Landry
Today’s guest(s): Allison Gingras
Links from today’s show:
- Allison’s website
- Buy Allison’s Book, Three Persons, One God: Growing in Relationship with Father, Son and Holy Spirit
Scot welcomed everyone to the show and wished everyone a happy beginning of Advent, even though it will certainly seem like a short season again this year. Allison Gingras joined Scot for the second time, noting that last time she was on the show it was our Producer, Rick Heil’s birthday and the studio looked much more festive. Scot noted it was photographer George Martell’s 6 year anniversary of working with the Archdiocese on Saturday, and that will do for today’s celebration! Scot explained that Allison’s book is titled Three Persons, One God: Growing in Relationship with Father, Son and Holy Spirit, and said he was surprised that she wrote her first book on the Trinity – many theologians won’t even tackle the subject until their later works. Allison said that she prayed and let God lead her to the book, and it came about as she found out who God really was through a Bible study with Fr Mitch Pacwa. Scot said that Allison took a Scriptural approach to the topic to offer group discussion opportunities for the book. Allison agreed, and said she attended some Protestant Bible studies several years ago, which grew her love for the Bible but made her miss the Catechism very much to give the fullness of truth.
Scot noted that the book has six chapters, one each on the persons of the Trinity, and three on our relationship with God, totaling a short but manageable sixty pages. Allison talked about the Biblical image of “fertile soil” and how we need to be ready to accept and hold on to the seed of God into our life. Scot asked what advice she would give to people who have had spiritual “highs” and then come down into normal life. Allison replied that having a small group to hold her to the practice of the faith was very helpful for her. Scot added that asking God for “fertile soil” and to deepen your faith can help too.
2nd segment: Scot asked Allison why she was so happy that the book was being published now, in the Year of Faith. Allison said the book has been a five year long project – even though it is only 60 pages, Allison said that she had the first real copy in her hand two days after the Year of Faith started. Part of Pope Benedict’s message, Allison said, was to discover the Trinity more through the Word of God, something that she has tried to do with the book. Many people think the Year of Faith and the New Evangelization is all about getting fallen away Catholics first, Scot added, but Pope Benedict also stresses that we must enhance our relationship with God before we go give testimony and witness to those who have fallen away.
Scot noted that Allison’s book emphasizes that our impression of God the Father comes strongly from our relationship with our father in our life. Scot said he was blessed to have a loving father in his life – Allison said that not everyone is blessed to have that experience, and that in talking to people about the book it was interesting to see how differently everyone perceives the Father. Some people, Scot and Allison discussed, are afraid that God is only a harsh judge, and viewing yourself as loved is a difficult thing when you consider all your human faults. Allison said her favorite image of God the Father is from John’s Gospel as “God is love.” Scot added that his favorite image is that of the father of the prodigal son. Allison continued and said that sometimes we can be the son who stayed with his father in that parable – grumbling that we were never lost and don’t get a big party from God, even though we have been loyal and have our own inheritance.
Scot asked Allison what portion of Jesus’ life she likes the most – Allison said His humanity was an aspect that she has come to appreciate more and more. Scot agreed, and said it was important for him to see Jesus experience human emotions and problems throughout his life as as model of what a human Christian looks like. Scot noted that one part of Allison’s book discusses the struggle between “my will” and “thy will.” Allison said she struggles sometimes to pray those extra words seriously without trying to negotiate with God and trust His will, which is always best for us even if we don’t realize it at the time.
Scot noted the book asks readers to do some reflection on what they’ve just read, and to do a scripture search. Allison explained that she always gives the citation of chapter and verse instead of copying the passage – sometimes, God wants us to read something before or after. Opening the Bible and seeing it isn’t intimidating as we think is a good thing, she said – with the help of the Holy Spirit we can discern what Scripture is telling us.
3rd segment: Allison opened by saying that the Holy Spirit is like the forgotten stepchild of the Trinity. We have good images for God the Father and the Son, but the Spirit is very ephemeral and hard to touch. Scot noted that the chapter on the Holy Spirit talks about the gifts and fruits of the Spirit, which are an essential guide and resource to know the other two persons of the Trinity. Allison agreed, and said that she sometimes thinks about the Apostles on the first Pentecost cowering in the room, afraid, and not knowing what to do next. But after getting the gifts of the Spirit, they were able to step out and evangelize the world, an example we should all learn from.
4th segment: Scot said that the 4th, 5th, and 6th chapters of Allison’s book focus on the topics that God is Loving, that He is a Trusting God and we should trust ourselves to him, and that God is a Forgiving God. From knowing that God is loving and wants us to love Him through our free will to trusting that God’s will is best, the second half of the book focuses more on our relationship with God than who God is. Allison said she sees how it can be easy to accept God’s plan when it involves things like her and her husband adopting a child from China, but how it can be difficult when the plan includes difficult problems like sickness or death. It really takes knowing God’s loving character to understand that His plan is best for us to get us through those situations.