Thursday, November 14, 2013

The Christian Faith Rests On The Trinity

Wherever there is love, there is a trinity: a lover, a beloved, and a fountain of love.
-St. Augustine

The Christian faith rests on the mystery of the Trinity.

The mystery is there in every revelation God has given to man. The mystery is there when we are baptized “in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit” (Mt. 28:19). And the mystery is there in any loving relationship, like in the Holy Family depicted above. 

When we speak of the Trinity, we speak of the Father. “Jesus revealed that God is Father in an unheard-of sense: he is Father not only in being Creator; he is eternally Father in relation to his only Son, who is eternally Son only in relation to his Father…” (Catechism of the Catholic Church, 240).

We also speak of the Son, named by the Nicene Creed as “the only-begotten Son of God, eternally begotten of the Father, light from light, true God from true God, begotten not made, consubstantial with the Father.”

We also speak of the Holy Spirit, who was “sent to the apostles and to the Church both by the Father in the name of the Son, and by the Son in person, once he had returned to the Father” (244). The Holy Spirit proceeds from both the Father and the Son, as that fountain of love between the two that abundantly overflows.

Now the Trinity is One, each person of the Trinity being wholly God. Yet these three persons – Father, Son, and Holy Sprit – are distinct from one another, and these distinctions reside in their relationships with one another.

The Catechism sums up the distinctions this way:

…each divine person performs the common work according to his unique personal property. Thus the Church confesses, following the New Testament, “one God and Father from whom all things are, and one Lord Jesus Christ, through whom all things are, and one Holy Spirit in whom all things are (258).

The dogma of the Trinity is not something the Church discovered through logic. We only know of the Trinity from what Christ taught us during his earthly life. That is why the existence of one God in three Divine Persons will always remain a mystery to us. Still, understanding what little we do helps us to see God as loving relation, and as an image of what our identity is as human persons made for relationship.

Oh Blessed John Paul II, pray for us, that we may embrace the fountain of love that the Trinity is pouring down upon us and so share that love with the rest of the world. 

This is our ninth Year of Faith reflection on the Catechism of the Catholic Church here on Open Wide the Doors. See our first post here

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