The Trinity and the Trumpet

I was about to go downstairs when I heard a beautiful noise from my son’s room. I stopped at the top of the landing to listen more closely. While I was muffled because his door was closed, I noticed my son practicing scales on his trumpet in preparation for his audition for the high school band. I enjoyed the muffled sound for a few minutes. The scales became songs, and then the songs faded back into the basic repetition of scales. I knocked lightly on my son’s door and asked if I could come and listen to him play. He greeted me in his room while he continued to practice.

The music was clear, bright and powerful. I watched my son play, fascinated by the way his fingers moved over the three keys of his trumpet, and somehow knew which to press and release. As he went through the scales, I could hear every single note and then those unique notes came together to make wonderful melodic music as he moved on to practice songs. My motherly heart felt joy, joy, and awe that my 14 year old son knew how to use his breath and fingers to create such beautiful music.

Since then, I have enjoyed this moment in prayer many times. One morning, in my prayer, I was reminded of the powerful vision of St. Ignatius of the Trinity that he received at Manresa. After my prayer time was over, I picked up Ignatius’ autobiography, in which he tells the story of his vision. He tells us that one morning he went to a church and thought about the Trinity. Suddenly he understood the characters of the Trinity as three keys on an instrument: “Each key has its own individual sound, but when they are played together, each key contributes itself without losing its own peculiarity and together they form a unit “Harmonic chord.” (Joseph N. Tylenda, SJ, A Pilgrim’s Journey: The Autobiography of Ignatius of Loyola)

Having had this vision and understanding, Ignatius could not speak of the Trinity without shedding tears of joy and comfort.

My own tears joined the tears of Ignatius as I felt the connection between his vision of the Trinity as a musical instrument and my experience with my son playing his trumpet. I understood the musical dance between God the Father, Jesus and the Holy Spirit in a new way when I remembered the moment when I watched my son blow the trumpet and press and release the keys. The different sounds combined to make beautiful harmony and music. How necessary was his strong breath to be part of the co-creative work of music.

Isn’t that what we are called to do in our life of faith to create with the Trinity as my son created music that day? We are invited to take up the trumpet and breathe air into our relationships with each person of the Trinity in order to understand the different sounds of each individual in our lives. We merge our breath with their sounds and together create something more beautiful than we could do on our own.

Photo by Luana Bento from Pexels.

Leave a Comment