From the Pastor – May 22, 2016

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.” (Jn 16:12-15)

Today we celebrate the Solemnity of the Most Holy Trinity. In the early days of the Church there was no special day to honor the Holy Trinity, but that changed in the 3rd century when the Church was confronted with one of the first great heresies: Arianism. Although this heresy seems strange to us today, it stated that God the Father was always existing but that He was separate from the lesser Jesus Christ, who was created by Him. Then, the Father, working through the Son, created the Holy Spirit, who was subservient to the Son as the Son was to the Father. This belief was declared to be false by the Council of Nicaea in 325 A.D.

Without going into too much theological detail about the controversy, we simply affirm the Nicene Creed which we recite each Sunday. In the Creed we declare that we believe in one God: “the Father, the Almighty”; his Son Jesus Christ, who is “God from God” and “one in being with the Father”; and the Holy Spirit who “proceeds from the Father and the Son” and who “with the Father and the Son is worshipped and glorified.” But this isn’t the only time we proclaim the Trinity. Each time we make the sign of the Cross we are praying “In the Name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit.” This is our declaration of our belief in the Holy Trinity: One God in Three Divine Persons.

Since it is sometimes hard to wrap our minds around the concept of “One God in Three Persons,” the Holy Trinity is best described as a mystery. But this shouldn’t trouble us, because the infinite grandeur of God is obviously so much greater than our finite minds can comprehend!

In truth, it’s not our minds that need to comprehend but our hearts. As Pope Benedict said several years ago, the Holy Trinity is a communion of love: “Jesus has revealed to us the mystery of God. He, the Son, has made us know the Father who is in heaven, and has given us the Holy Spirit, the Love of the Father and of the Son. Christian theology summarizes the truth about God with this expression: only one substance in three persons. God is not solitude but perfect communion. For this reason, the human person, image of God, is fulfilled in love, which is the sincere gift of oneself.” So the Holy Trinity may not be easily grasped in the mind, but since we’re made in God’s image, it can be experienced through love. Through the self-giving love of husband and wife God generates a child, a fruit of their love. In love we find the Trinity, because God is love.

Rev. Msgr. Christopher H. Nalty