Unity in Trinity and Trinity in Unity
The Catholic Church, founded by Our Lord JESUS Christ, faithfully passes on from generation to generation all the doctrines which are essential for salvation. One of those doctrines is that of the Most Blessed Trinity, and today the Church observes a very special Feast in honour of this most profound mystery of our faith. The doctrine is that there is only one God, and that in this one God there are three distinct Persons who are the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit. All are equal, eternal and uncreated and all are fully God, yet there is only one God. But how can this be? How can God be three distinct Persons and yet only one God? The answer is that we can never fully explain it because it is a mystery beyond our understanding. However, while it is not contrary to reason, it does transcend it.
The Bible, even in the Old Testament gives us clues about the Blessed Trinity. For example, right at the beginning in the book of Genesis, God says, “Let us make man in our image, after our likeness” (1:26). He speaks of Himself here in the plural. On the front of the High Altar in the church right now, there is embroidered on the altar cloth the words, “Sanctus, sanctus, sanctus.” This is a quote from the prophet Isaiah (6:3) “Holy, holy, holy is the Lord God of Hosts.” Some may argue this is just a Jewish way of saying ‘very holy’, but as Christians we see more in it: the angels praising God as a Trinity of Persons.
The truth of God being a Trinity of Persons is fully revealed in the New Testament. Our Lord says, “The Father and I are one” (John 10:30), “To have seen Me is to have seen the Father” (John 14:9), and, “But when the Paraclete comes, whom I shall send to you from the Father, even the Spirit of truth, Who proceeds from the Father, He will bear witness to Me” (John 15:26). There are numerous other indications too, but the most explicit reference is in Matthew’s Gospel when JESUS says, “Baptise them in the name (singular) of the Father, and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit” (28:19).
The Holy Spirit has always ensured that the Church keeps this divine revelation about God’s nature intact, which has not always been easy, as corrupting this truth has been at the top of Satan’s agenda, because he knows how wrong ideas about God can lead to wrong paths and then ultimately to destruction. This is what happened in the Garden of Eden when Satan persuaded Adam and Eve that God’s prohibition of their eating the fruit of the forbidden tree was unreasonable, and that God was being deceitful and unfair. Satan changed their idea of God and so they ended up being disobedient, which was the original sin. Similarly, would Islamic terrorists blow up innocent people if they believed correctly that God was a Trinity who loves the whole of humanity, both believers and unbelievers, saints and sinners alike? I think they would not.
Our whole faith is really summed up in our belief in the Most Blessed Trinity and in Our Lord JESUS Christ Who is the Second Person of the Trinity Who became man. He is our Saviour, and it is through Him that we will enter Heaven. He is the door of the sheepfold (John 10:7). He is the Way, the Truth and the Life (John 14:6), and there is no other name by which we may be saved (Acts 4:12). So let us hold fast to the true faith which God has revealed. We can never accept that there be any compromise in the truth of the doctrine of the Blessed Trinity, in JESUS Christ the God man, and of the uniqueness of the Catholic Church He founded which, guided by the Holy Spirit, teaches infallibly all truth necessary for salvation. We must have courage and strength, despite difficulties and trials, to remain true to what has been given us and to ensure that it is handed on safely to future generations. 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