Solemnity of the Most Holy Trinity

Today is what we sometimes call “Trinity Sunday,” – the celebration of the Solemnity of the Most Holy Trinity.

The Trinity is one of the doctrines of Christianity it is not very easy to explain. What does it mean to say that “there are three Persons in one God”?  When I memorized that line in Catholic grade school, they showed up a picture of a shamrock.  I confess that in my head, what I heard when I thought of the Trinity was I “Rub-a-dub-dub, three men in a tub.” (OK – my theology was not all that sophisticated in first and second grade.)

Michael Himes, who has a way of explaining difficult ideas very simply, suggests that the best way to understand the Trinity is by the statement in the First Letter of John that God is love. The love in John’s Letter is the Greek agape (as opposed to the other forms of the word love sometimes used in the Gospel – the Greek eros or phileo. Himes writes:

We say that God is the peculiar kind of love known as agape, perfect self-gift. To put this in other words, the First Letter of John claims that if one wants to know how to think about God, God is least wrongly thought of as a particular kind of relationship among persons, specifically the relationship of perfect self-gift. Now, that is a remakable claim: God is least wrongly to be thought of as a relationship, as what happens between and among persons.

St. Augustine speaks of the Trinity in similar terms, speaking of the Trinity in terms of God as Love, Beloved and the Love between them. The Trinity thus conveys the truth that God exists in a relationship of love.

Thus, when God the Trinity says in Genesis, “Let us make man in our image,” the image in which we are created is one of a community of love. We know God most fully, we are most fully who we were created to be, when we live in loving communion. And that, I think, helps explain why Michael Himes suggests that the Trinity “not one doctrine among others,” but “the whole of Christian doctrine.”

Blessings on this Solemnity of the Most Holy Trinity.

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One thought on “Solemnity of the Most Holy Trinity

  1. Is not our relationship with the ‘Holy Trinity’ most intimate within the presence of the Holy Spirit? The Holy Spirit who provides clarity and truth within ‘one doctrine among others,’ and (but) ‘the whole of Christian doctrine.’

    Doe not Susan’s recent post reflecting upon Bartimaeus’ desire to encounter Jesus speak to God as Love, a common thread within the context of the whole of Christian doctrine? It is through His love (and our own love shared) that we are fully alive. . .

    Once again. . .

    Is it possible to be “fully alive” if we encounter Jesus and walk with Him in silence only? With the somber declining trajectory religious affiliation (according to Pew and other studies) continues upon are we not called, more urgently than ever, to proclaim the good news to all nations – awakening within and strengthening the need to answer His question, “what do you want from me?”

    In silence are we clothing ourselves and embracing the mantle of ‘Catholic in name only’ – partaking of and receiving Sacramental grace and blessings while our faith families atrophy and the foundational structure of our faith crumbles before our very eyes?

    Indeed, Jesus’ message of love, and call to serve our brothers and sisters, and our religious ‘freedom’ is constantly besieged by external attacks. If our silence continues, who will lead others to encounter Jesus? Through the Holy Spirit, the call of a ‘New Evangelism’ is not for pastoral leaders only – Is not the entire community of the faithful called? Called to ‘New Life’ – to answer for ourselves today, tomorrow and eventually at the day of reckoning.

    Each year as we renew our Baptismal promises should we not ‘write’ our pledge upon our hearts– and also print and sign a copy to read and reflect upon often?

    Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith
    ________________________________________

    As conforming to Pope John Paul II’s Apostolic Letter Motu Proprio Ad Tuendam Fidem, this Profession of Faith and Oath of Fidelity supercedes the Profession and Oath of 1989.
    – Ewtn.com/library/CURIA/CDFOATH
    ________________________________________
    I. PROFESSION OF FAITH

    I, N., with firm faith believe and profess everything that is contained in the Symbol of faith: namely:

    I believe in one God, the Father, the Almighty, maker of heaven and earth, of all that is seen and unseen. I believe in one Lord, Jesus Christ, the only Son of God, eternally begotten of the Father, God from God, Light from Light, true God from true God, begotten not made, one in Being with the Father. Through him all things were made. For us men and for our salvation, he came down from heaven: by the power of the Holy Spirit he became incarnate of the Virgin Mary, and became man. For our sake he was crucified under Pontius Pilate; he suffered death and was buried. On the third day he rose again in accordance with the Scriptures; he ascended into heaven and is seated at the right hand of the Father. He will come again in glory to judge the living and the dead, and his kingdom will have no end. I believe in the Holy Spirit, the Lord, the giver of life, who proceeds from the Father and the Son. With the Father and the Son he is worshiped and glorified. He has spoken through the Prophets. I believe in one holy catholic and apostolic Church. I acknowledge one baptism for the forgiveness of sins. I look for the resurrection of the dead, and the life of the world to come. Amen.

    With firm faith, I also believe everything contained in the Word of God, whether written or handed down in Tradition, which the Church, either by a solemn judgement or by the ordinary and universal Magisterium, sets forth to be believed as divinely revealed.

    I also firmly accept and hold each and everything definitively proposed by the Church regarding teaching on faith and morals.
    Moreover, I adhere with religious submission of will and intellect to the teachings which either the Roman pontiff or the College of Bishops enunciate when they exercise their authentic Magisterium, even if they do not intend to proclaim these teachings by a definitive act.

    For the branches to bear good fruit, must not the trunk be ever strong and ‘true’? What internal forces are attacking our religious freedom? Through the urgings of the Holy Spirit, how long our silence? . . .

    God calls each by name, “Come! Follow Me”. . .

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