Solemnity of the Holy Trinity
Gospel of John 16:12-15 NAB
Jesus said to his disciples: “I have much more to tell you, but you cannot bear it now. But when he comes, the Spirit of truth, he will guide you to all truth. He will not speak on his own, but he will speak what he hears, and will declare to you the things that are coming. He will glorify me,because he will take from what is mine and declare it to you. Everything that the Father has is mine; for this reason I told you that he will take from what is mine and declare it to you.”
The mystery of the Trinity transcends our comprehension and its reality cannot be rightly conceived in our imagination. At the same time, God desired that we know something of His nature and being. Christ revealed this truth during His public ministry since we could not have known it otherwise. Still, we lack understanding without supernatural help and so Jesus explains to His apostles, “I have much more to tell you, but you cannot bear it now. But when he comes, the Spirit of truth, he will guide you to all truth.” When the Holy Spirit descended on the apostles at Pentecost, He opened their eyes of faith, elevated their understanding, and fortified their courage to believe and proclaim such extraordinary truths.
The Holy Spirit continues His work today in our own hearts as well. We know from Genesis that we image God, but because of sin we struggle to know what that looks like. Through Baptism however, the Trinity comes to dwell in our very souls. His image grows within us and begins to radiate more and more brightly in our minds and in our lives to the extent that we cooperate with His gifts.
So what is the Trinity? What did God reveal about Himself? What are we supposed to image? The Church explains it in this way:
|“The Trinity is One. We do not confess three Gods, but one God in three persons, the “consubstantial Trinity”.83 The divine persons do not share the one divinity among themselves but each of them is God whole and entire…” (CCC 253)
“The divine persons are really distinct from one another. “God is one but not solitary.”86 “Father”, “Son”, “Holy Spirit” are not simply names designating modalities of the divine being, for they are really distinct from one another: “He is not the Father who is the Son, nor is the Son he who is the Father, nor is the Holy Spirit he who is the Father or the Son.”87 They are distinct from one another in their relations of origin: “It is the Father who generates, the Son who is begotten, and the Holy Spirit who proceeds.”88 The divine Unity is Triune.” (CCC 254)
“The divine persons are relative to one another. Because it does not divide the divine unity, the real distinction of the persons from one another resides solely in the relationships which relate them to one another” (CCC 255)
Understand? Great! Just kidding. I can explain…kind of. First, we must accept that we cannot fully comprehend or imagine the Trinity so let go of that goal. However, it does not mean that we can know nothing of the Trinity. God revealed His Trinitarian reality and so we ought to accept and contemplate this mystery with the help of the Holy Spirit.
First, God is one. He has one divine nature. We tend to imagine it divided into three parts but this is where our imagination fails us. Each person of the Trinity is wholly God.
Secondly, God is three. Our imagination tries to reconcile this with His oneness by imagining God as having three different modes or faces but being essentially the same. Not the case. God is three distinct persons.
So how can God be one and three? In heaven you will see the face of God and something of this mystery. This incredible vision will be the source of joy so great that you will have to be supernaturally empowered to take it in without being overcome. Live a holy life so you can one day have this awesome opportunity! From Christ’s teachings we know that God’s oneness and threeness reveal that His essence is one of relationship. God is a relationship of Three Persons. I mentioned in a prior post that when God created us in His image, He created a family. A man and a woman become “one flesh” and a child is born who is both of their nature and yet distinct as well. The union of persons in life-giving love images God who is also a union of persons in life-giving love. Is it no wonder that Satan’s primary attack against God is directed at His image; thus Satan’s efforts to promote a self-centered individualism in contrast to the other-centered gift of self required for an intimate union of persons.
We cannot imagine God’s Triune nature but we can contemplate it and try to live as an image of it with the help of the Holy Spirit and the graces of the Sacraments. Baptism unites us to God and each other, the Eucharist nourishes that unity, and Confession reconciles us when we have separated ourselves through sin. The more we open ourselves to God the more we will see Him. That process begins on earth and the joy that accompanies it begins here as well. We can look forward with hope and anticipation to the day that God enables us to see more of Him in heaven and we will be free to sing endless songs of praise and love.
- Consider your relationship with God the Father.
- What does it mean to be a son or daughter of God?
- Consider your dignity as an heir of heaven where your Christ your brother reigns as king and Mary your mother reigns as queen.
- In a family, each member is irreplaceable. You are an irreplaceable member of God’s family. You matter to God and to every member of the Christian family.
- How does that affect the way you see yourself?
- How does that affect the choices you make?
- What does it mean to be a son or daughter of God?
- Consider your relationship with God the Son.
- God became man so you could encounter Him directly. He shared in the human experience so He could be closer to you. Reflect on times you have encountered Christ.
- Consider the mysteries of His life – how has He experienced similar sufferings to yours?
- He still draws near to you today through the Eucharist and His Mystical Body the Church. Reflect on the immanence of Christ in your daily life.
- Consider your relationship with the Holy Spirit.
- The Holy Spirit opens our eyes to see Christ and enlightens our understanding to appropriate His teachings.
- When was a time the Holy Spirit brought comfort and peace to your soul?
- When was a time He gave you fortitude and perseverance in your Christian walk?
- When was a time He gave you wisdom to discern the right choice to make when faced with a difficult decision? Invite the Holy Spirit to guide your decisions today as well.
Make a Resolution (Practical Application):
- Take a moment today to appreciate God’s creation.
- Visit Christ present in the Eucharist.
- Pray to the Holy Spirit each day to reveal God more to you, and to transform your heart that your life might reveal God more to someone else.
~ Written by Angela Jendro © 2016 edited ©2019
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