The Mystery of the Blessed Trinity
Today is Trinity Sunday, and the Catechism of the Catholic Church teaches us, “The mystery of the Most Holy Trinity is the central mystery of Christian faith and life. It is the mystery of God in Himself. …. It is the most fundamental and essential teaching in the ‘hierarchy of the truths of faith’ ” (#234).
The basic doctrine is this: the Father is God, the Son is God, the Holy Spirit is God, but they are not three gods, but one God. The Trinity is a mystery which doesn’t contradict reason, but is above it, and this in itself is a proof of the Divine origin of the Catholic Faith. If Catholicism were a man-made religion it wouldn’t contain mysteries which humble our reason and intellect. Nobody would make up such a profound and intricate mystery which at the same time is non-contradictory. We do not say that there are three gods in one God, but rather that there are three Persons in the one Divine Nature. We can explain it only by analogy. For example, a triangle which is one shape has three angles which are all equal and which define the other angles. If there is no Father there is no Son. There is no Son if there is no Father, and the Holy Spirit is the love between the two. But we will never be able to fully understand it – at least not in this life. So, we bow before it and adore it because God has said it and His word is true.
This mystery reminds us that God is eternal and that He was always infinitely happy, and would have remained so even without creation. He didn’t create us because He was lonely. He created us simply out of His goodness. So God doesn’t exist for us. We exist for the glory of God, and the mystery of the Trinity tells us Who God is which is why it’s important. Many Christians throughout history have died for this truth because it concerns His glory. JESUS told Pilate, “For this I was born, and for this I have come into the world, to bear witness to the truth” (John 18:37). This truth is reflected in the Sacred Liturgy. The Liturgy must always be oriented towards God. It’s not about us. It’s about giving glory to Him, not celebrating ourselves. And so at the climax of the Mass which is the Consecration, we kneel and we adore in silence at the Triune God present before us. It’s why we genuflect when we come into church and why the red lamp is always alight near the tabernacle. He is there. Glory be to the Father, and to the Son, and to the Holy Spirit, as it was in the beginning, is now, and ever shall be, world without end. Amen.
Fr Paul Gillham, IC