May 26, 2013
The Most Holy Trinity
As little children, most of us learned a definition of the Trinity but were cautioned that “It’s a mystery that you cannot understand.” Indeed, the doctrine of the Trinity is a mystery. It is the central mystery of our Christian faith…the most essential teaching in the hierarchy of the truths of faith. (Catechism of the Catholic Church, 234). It is inaccessible to our minds but not to our experience. It is an object of faith because Jesus Christ revealed it.
A mystery is not a secret. It is not totally beyond our comprehension. As a matter of fact, most of us have a greater insight into mystery than into science. A mystery is sometimes a reality that we “stand-under” rather than something we understand. We have--all of us—an echo of the Trinity in our human experience if we have any experience of relationship at all. We know the wonder of two people coming together in marriage, for instance, and producing a new spirit--a child that is neither of them but both. We know that when my thought meets your thought there is a new thought. We know a spirit is generated whenever a group gathers in love and we know that when this is the spirit of faith, it evokes the Holy Spirit. This experience is the dimmest echo of the Trinity. This is a mystery that defies our language. The love we show creates more love and continually forms the spirit that opens us to the special coming of the Holy Spirit.
As the Spirit continues to send us the truth, we uncover the riches of the Trinity again and anew. The First Reading reminds us that the Father has loved us from all eternity. With us in mind, he created the world and delighted in us as part of his creation. Saint Paul reminds us that the Father's love is intensified through the gift of faith nourished by the Holy Spirit.
Our faith rests on the Trinity. We are baptized in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit. The Catechism of the Catholic Church tells us that the Trinity is one, that the divine persons are really distinct from one another and that they are relative to one another. In learning about one person of the Trinity, truths about the others are revealed. God’s works tell us who he is. Jesus revealed that God is Father—not simply creator. The sending of the Spirit reveals the full mystery of the Trinity. More than anything else, the Incarnation of the Son and the gift of the Holy Spirit inform us about the divine persons.
To learn the central truths of our faith is to uncover the centrality of the Trinity.