“Believe in Order to Understand”
The Doctrine of the Blessed Trinity is a mystery, and therefore something we can never fully understand. A mystery is not something which is totally unknown, but it is something which is only partially revealed by God, and yet much of it is beyond our understanding. As the diagram above explains, the Trinity is three Persons in one God – the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit. There are not three Gods and neither do they share the one divinity among themselves. Rather, each of them is God whole and entire. The Father is God; He’s not one-third of God. Jesus, the Son is God; He’s not one-third of God. And the Holy Spirit is God, He’s not one-third of God. So each of the three Persons possesses fully the one Divine nature.
We might think, “Well, what does it matter?” It matters because as Catholics we believe our Faith is not something we make up as we go along. Christianity is revealed by God. It is not the word of mere human beings. God has revealed to us Who He is, and so we are in error if we think we can believe whatever we like. Notice how in today’s Gospel Our Lord says, “Teach them to observe ALL the commands I gave you.” This means we can never water down the Faith or change it to suit the mood of the day. We might not be able to fully understand the profound depths of the Church’s doctrines, but every Catholic is called to firmly believe them, even when our understanding is lacking. As St Augustine of Hippo (354-430) famously said, “I believe in order to understand.” So it is faith seeking understanding.
This is our Catholic Faith. Though we can never fully understand it, we are proud to profess it, because God Who is the absolute Truth, who can neither deceive nor be deceived, has revealed it to us.
Fr Paul Gillham IC