Monday, May 22, 2023

The Holy Trinity

Dear Parishioners,

Whenever we look at the mystery of the Holy Trinity, we should realize that this is not something that we could figure out on our own without God revealing this to us through Jesus. If our explanation of the Trinity were merely one opinion among many of the inner make-up of God, then God could be just about anything that any one of us thinks or believes. One Person? Four persons? However, as Catholic Christians we believe that Jesus—the Son of God and one of the Persons of the Holy Trinity—revealed to us the mysterious inner-workings of God.

God exists as three Persons in relationship.  Jesus often spoke of God as His Father.  He taught us to pray the prayer we call the “Our Father.” He told us that “whoever has seen (Him) has seen the Father” (Jn. 14:9).  He told us that “the Father and I are one” (Jn. 10:30).  We begin to recognize this unique Father-Son relationship through Jesus.

But Jesus did not stop there.  He also began to speak of another—an “Advocate” (Jn. 15:26), “the Spirit of Truth”, (Jn. 15:26), the “Holy Spirit” (Jn. 14:26).  With time the Church began to understand a little bit more about this third Person as “the Lord, the Giver of Life” who “has spoken through the prophets” (cf. the Nicene Creed).

It must have been very hard for many of the Jewish followers of Jesus who were strict monotheists to try to comprehend how God could be one, yet three at the same time. Why should this be surprising to us since we still fumble at various explanations to try to articulate this profound mystery?

As a teacher, the best analogy that I have used over the years that helps people comprehend this mystery of something being one and three at the same time is the analogy of ice, water and steam.  All three have the same chemical composition (H₂O) and thus have a certain oneness, yet there can be a manifestation in different states (ice, water and steam) depending on temperature. While all analogies ultimately fall short of the reality, this analogy still gives us some insight into this profound mystery.

Then some insight might be given by the example of a human family where a relationship of two people in love with each other (in this case, husband and wife) can produce a third person (baby or child) who is both complete (a person) and entirely distinct from the other two. The family of this world may indeed reflect, in an analogous way, the mystery of the Holy Trinity—three unique and distinct Persons in one Godhead, eternally in love with each other.   

Trying to figure out God’s make-up is one thing. Having a personal relationship with each of the Persons of the Trinity is something else entirely. Jesus put a human face to God for us by taking on a human nature. And he also told us about the unique relationship that He has with the other Persons in the Godhead. Now we need to seek out each of these Persons of Holy Trinity in prayer and grow in our love for each of them—three Persons in one God.

On Trinity Sunday we rejoice in the fact that God (through Jesus) has revealed His inner make-up to us!

Fr. Ed Namiotka

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