Just a thought.
Welcome to the first of my thoughts on the Sunday Gospels. First of all let me thank Father Gerard for all his wise words over the past few months, they’ve been both comforting and inspiring.Today we celebrate the deepest and dearest of all the mysteries of our faith. The mystery of God Almighty Himself. And if there is one thing I would like you to take from these words it’s God is Love.
We celebrate today as a people who have been given a privileged look into the depths of God. God has disclosed His most precious secret to us through Christian revelation. He has revealed to us His inner life and made us His most intimate friends. He has told us in no uncertain terms: That He is God, and that He is a Trinity of Divine Persons, each really distinct and equal in all things. In His one Divine Nature, these three divine Persons are — Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. Each totally possessed by love, one by the other — an infinite love which God shares with us His creatures.
In his Trinitarian communion of Father, Son and Holy Spirit —This Oneness, the true distinction of each Divine Person remains. Their mutual indwelling is a supremely intense and blissful mutual presence. A reciprocal co-inherence and participation in each other. And somehow, this union stops just short of the three Persons being swallowed up by each other—disappearing into each other.
It is this inexplicable love that is mentioned in the Gospel today when the apostles are ordered to “Go, make disciples of all the nations; baptise them” they are told “In the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit” In the name of the Trinity! A baptism of infinite love where we are transformed by God and restored to our original dignity. For it is through baptism, we are to be immersed into this totality of infinite love. We become children of the Father, brothers and sisters of the Son, in the loving union of the Spirit. In this new intimate friendship the Trinity comes to us and they live within us; they communicate their love to us and we in turn are called to share and communicate that love with our neighbour. We are washed clean of original sin and eternal life is restored to us once more.
For centuries, the Church, has been trying to fathom this, the greatest mystery of our faith, the Trinity. Theologians and Scholars throughout the ages have spent lifetimes studying it and yet, a mystery it still remains. The closer we think we have come to solving the mystery, so, the deeper the mystery becomes. Why? Because man has no right to expect to know the answer to everything connected with God. We should though be eternally thankful for the revelations we have received concerning the Trinity, where our minds are brought into loving contact with the complexity and
wonder of God. Logically man with his finite knowledge should expect only to come up against many questions concerning the Holy Trinity which he will never be able to resolve totally and which will only lead him to greater investigation; and as he investigates so the mystery will deepen more and more. It soon becomes obvious that when dealing with the infinite, even the greatest intellect in this life – the greatest of human minds is finite and eventually exhausts its own powers of reasoning. That is not to say he can’t know something. The Holy Scriptures abound with revelation of the Blessed Trinity. Our Blessed Lord Himself, gives us many insights and revelations into this awesome mystery: He tells us of His own baptism in the Jordan; where the Spirit of God descended on Him [the Son] in the form of a dove. The voice of a third Person was heard from heaven saying “This is my Son the Beloved, my favour rests on Him.” This of course was the Father. In John’s Gospel, Christ would also make it very clear that as well as the Father, He and the Spirit were Divine too…”The Father and I are one.” He said—“Anyone who has seen me has seen the Father.” Of the Spirit He would say “When the Paraclete comes, whom I shall send to you from the Father, the Spirit of Truth who issues from the Father, he will be my witness.”
So what’s all this saying? Are we saying we’ll never know more about this mystery of faith—never know more about God? No! Of course not. We know more now for instance than we knew 1,000 years ago — 100 years ago. Or rather we understand more. God’s revelations are so wonderful, so deep, so awesome, that man can spend lifetimes —has spent lifetimes, contemplating them, learning from them, trying to understand them better. A mystery of faith is not a truth about which we can know nothing. It is more a truth, about which we cannot know everything. Christianity is uniquely Trinitarian. As Christians, we begin our day, our prayers, our Mass, in fact most activities, with the sign of the cross, “In the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit”. We’re not all scholars or theologians, yet by doing this, we profess our belief; our simple act of faith; in the doctrine of the Trinity. One true God, Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. This faith of ours tells us— that the three Divine Persons are unimaginably ONE— and we are then left in awe to wonder how that their sharing can be so complete — That the Father is God. The Son is God. The Holy Spirit is God. Their union of love so complete, so infinite, that there are not three Gods but ONLY ONE GOD. An inexplicable Trinity, an incomprehensible communion.
Let us look at the faith we profess every Sunday. That we believe in God the Father maker of heaven and earth. [1st Person] and in Jesus Christ His only begotten Son [2nd Person] Consubstantial with the Father, that is ONE only, God with Him. As we say God from God, Light from Light, True God from True God of one being with the Father. And the Holy Spirit [3rd Person] who proceeds from the Father and the Son and with the Father and the Son is to be adored and glorified. One might mistakenly think that the Holy Spirit was a late addition to the Trinity— The Paraclete whom Jesus sent.— Not so; It is His creative activity that is celebrated in the very first sentences of the bible in the book of Genesis: “In the beginning God created heaven and earth. Now earth was a formless void, there was darkness over the deep with a Divine wind sweeping over the waters (Gen 1:1-2) God’s Spirit has been hovering over the world ever since, only a prayer away.
There have been many analogies used to try to explain the Trinity, and yet none really explain anything at all. One of the most beautiful explanations I think, is one by Saint John Henry Newman; and could almost have come from the first lines of Genesis. He explains the Trinity in this way: “But don’t think that God was idle in that eternity (before the creation of the world) for He was not. He was infinite in His love and activity. For endless ages, God rejoiced in the knowledge of Himself, and knowing Himself, He declared and expressed His knowledge in the infinite Word, His only begotten Son, the second Person of the Blessed Trinity, to whom He communicates His NATURE, His LIFE, His PERFECTIONS, His GODHEAD. These two Persons loved one another with an infinite love, and from their mutual embrace bursts forth the Holy Spirit, the third Person of that adorable Trinity.” What a wondrous mystery of faith. How on earth are we ever expected to possibly understand so great a mystery? We can’t , all we can say is God will take us as far as He want’s us to go, and everything that is revealed to us will be out of love, that perfect love that each Person of the Trinity has one for the other. Todays feast is one of pure unadulterated love— God is Trinity— God is love— Infinite love. And if we love greatly; with all our hearts, with all our minds; and with all our strength; we may just get a glimmer of an understanding, of the Trinity, however imperfect.
What do we know about the Blessed Trinity? Enough to worship and adore to love and to serve. Why do we believe in the Blessed Trinity? Because God has told us, it’s as simple as that. And though the content of the doctrine is infinitely mysterious, and not at all simple, through the gift of faith, and our mutual love the soul within us longs to sing out, that most beautiful of prayers; ALL 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. AMEN.