The Mystery of the Trinity
One of the first things we learn as Catholics is how to make the Sign of the Cross. We put our hand on our forehead, on the breast, then on the left and then the right shoulder while saying, “In the name of the Father, and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, Amen.” This is the Blessed Trinity and today is Trinity Sunday. We were all baptised in the name of the Trinity, and Our Lord before He ascended into Heaven spoke of it when He said, “Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptising them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit” (Matthew 28:19). We should notice He didn’t say names of but name of (singular) because there is only one nature in God – that is the Divine nature, but there are three Persons, Father, Son and Holy Spirit. The Creed of St Athanasius which contains a detailed meditation on the Trinity and which all priests once recited every Sunday says this:
“So the Father is God, the Son is God, and the Holy Ghost is God. And yet they are not Three Gods, but One God. So likewise the Father is Lord, the Son Lord, and the Holy Ghost Lord. And yet not Three Lords but One Lord.”
If this confuses you slightly – that’s great, because it is a mystery – a divinely revealed one but a mystery all the same. The teaching on the Trinity, while not contrary to reason does transcend it and it is beyond our human understanding. Human reason alone would never have come up with the idea of Three Persons in One God. Anyone, even a pagan, can work out through reason alone that a Supreme Being who created everything must exist, but we could never imagine that this God would be a Trinity of Three Divine Persons. God the Father created us; God the Son redeems us; God the Holy Spirit sanctifies us. This can only be known to us because God has made this revelation about Himself, and it is what makes Christianity absolutely unique, as it should be because it is the True Faith. All the other mysteries of our Faith tell us what God has done for us; the Crucifixion, the Resurrection, the Holy Eucharist, but the Trinity tells us Who God is from all time and for all eternity. God wants to draw us into this mystery because the Trinity is our ultimate destination.
So when you pray this week, try always to begin with the Sign of the Cross, invoking the Holy Trinity. This will remind us we should be doing everything in His Name Who loves us so much. You may be surprised as to how it changes your perspective on the day.
Fr Paul Gillham, IC