The Beauty of the Blessed Trinity: A Mystery to be Lived and Celebrated
During my early years of learning on some of the basic catechism of the Catholic Church, particularly on the Blessed Trinity (incidentally its solemnity is celebrated today, the 4th of June), I developed a somewhat incomplete or inaccurate understanding of its nature. Some of you may have experienced this as well as the concept of three distinct persons in one God can be challenging to comprehend fully especially for young children, which is not unusual. Have you experienced this kind of notion when you were young? With the little knowledge acquired from my mother about the Holy Trinity (she used to call it “Santisima Trinidad”), that we believe in one God in three Divine Persons (the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit), I had this habit however (unknowingly) of praying to each of the three persons (as if there were 3 Gods) during my childhood days. However, it was initially my religion classes in high school that provided me with a correct understanding of the Holy Trinity.
As explained by some theologians, while the 3 persons in the Holy Trinity are distinct and separate but yet fully God, we cannot deny from the fact based on Scriptures that there is only one God and that He exists as 3 persons with the same divine nature, substance and being. The Father is God, the Son is God, the Holy Spirit is God, however, we do not regard them as three Gods, but only one God. It is crucial to understand the oneness of God: that they are not separate gods but rather different expressions or manifestations of the same God. There are some biblical quotes that can attest to this, one of which is as follows: “There is no other God besides me, a righteous God and a Savior; there is none besides me. Turn to me and be saved, all the ends of the earth! For I am God, and there is no other”.
Throughout my professional career, I have had the privilege of engaging with marginalized communities, particularly informal dwellers, and providing them with essential catechism education. This experience has been incredibly valuable and has highlighted the astonishing fact that many individuals are unfamiliar with even the most fundamental aspects of their faith, such as making the sign of the Cross and comprehending its significance. Additionally, during my time abroad, I was fortunate to be entrusted with the responsibility of teaching religion classes and serving as a catechist. When instructing students in the 4th and 5th grades, I approached the concept of the Holy Trinity with utmost care and attention. Recognizing the difficulty and complexity of the subject matter even for adults, I understood the challenge of conveying the concept to young children. The mystery of the Holy Trinity is not akin to the mysteries found in detective stories, where the solution is revealed by the end. It is a profound and incomprehensible mystery, unlike anything that can be easily explained.
With this in mind, I opted for a simple and concise approach when presenting the topic to the young pupils. The primary objective was to convey the message that God is Father, Son, and Holy Spirit—three persons in one God—without delving into detailed explanations of the mystery itself. The focus of the discussion was on nurturing their Catholic faith and understanding the significance of the Holy Trinity. Metaphors and analogies were intentionally avoided, as they could potentially confuse the young minds. Instead, I aimed to instill in them the importance of faith in and love for God, emphasizing the act of making the sign of the cross as a tangible expression of their belief in the Holy Trinity. Explaining the Trinity to children posed a unique challenge due to its mysterious nature, leading me to conclude that leaving it as a mystery was the most suitable approach to prevent any confusion in their innocent minds.
The dogma of the Blessed Trinity stands as the most enigmatic and unfathomable among the numerous teachings of the Church. Thus, without profound faith and trust in God, it becomes challenging to accept the doctrine of the Blessed Trinity. They often say that the mystery of the Trinity can be experienced and felt, even if it eludes our ability to explain it.
Throughout history, the Doctors and Fathers of the Church extensively explored this matter. Rather than attempting to fully comprehend the mystery of the Trinity through intellectual means, they chose to embrace and live it with unwavering faith in their own lives. Consequently, we are called to place our trust and confidence in the Catholic beliefs that have been passed down to us from generation to generation, without succumbing to doubts or grievances. Otherwise, we may find ourselves akin to other factions that have protested against the Catholic Church due to disagreements regarding certain teachings.
Undoubtedly, the Blessed Trinity is the most crucial and profound doctrine of our Catholic faith. It is one of the mysteries of our faith that is beyond human comprehension and there could be a reason for this. The Catechism of the Catholic Church (#234) states that “The mystery of the Most Holy Trinity is the central mystery of Christian faith and life. It is the mystery of God in himself. It is therefore the source of all the other mysteries of faith, the light that enlightens them. It is the most fundamental and essential teaching in the “hierarchy of the truths of faith”. Jesus Christ Himself revealed the truth about the Holy Trinity to us when He said: “Go teach all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit” (Matthew 28:19).
So, how does the Trinity practically relate to our daily lives? It appears that God desires us to embrace the Holy Trinity as the focal point of our everyday relationship with Him. Through daily prayer and the act of making the sign of the cross, where we invoke the names of the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit, we commemorate the Trinity in our daily lives. Additionally, the concise prayer of glorifying God, such as the Glory Be to the Father, and to the Son, and to the Holy Spirit, also honors the Holy Trinity. Likewise, when we are baptized in the name of the Holy Trinity, we are formally embraced as God’s children and officially recognized as followers of Christ and members of the Church. The Trinity serves as a reminder for us to be receptive and obedient to God’s commandments, knowing that God is always ready to welcome us back when we stumble and fail. The Trinity further reminds us of God’s love for us and encourages us to reciprocate that love, spreading it to our neighbors, especially those in need.
Pope Francis in one of his previous addresses stated that the Trinity “makes us contemplate the mystery of a God who incessantly creates, redeems and sanctifies, always with love and for love, and to every creature that welcomes him, he gives the gift of reflecting a ray of his beauty, goodness and truth.” He mentioned that “everything, in Christian life, revolves around the mystery of the Trinity and is fulfilled in this infinite mystery”. Further, the Holy Father stressed that the Holy Trinity is not only an invitation to contemplate and praise Jesus Christ, but it is also an opportunity to celebrate “with ever-new wonder the God of love, who freely offers his life to us and asks us to spread it in the world.” In one of his previous tweets, Pope Francis mentioned that the mystery of the Blessed Trinity invites us to live in communion with one another, in love and in sharing: certain that wherever there is love, there is God. And that’s the beauty of the Holy Trinity.
May our dear Lord God, the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit grant us humility, patience, kindness and love towards our neighbors as well as the 7 gifts of the Holy Spirit to be able to fully embrace the beauty of God’s Blessed Trinity and comprehend the mystery behind it. May the Blessed Mother help us to live and celebrate the Trinity by faith, loving God more, and walking with Him towards the eternal goal of the Blessed Trinity, which is a beautiful mission and a joyful reward in God’s heavenly kingdom for all of us. Amen.
O Holy Mary, our hope, handmaid of the Lord, pray for us.
Jesus, King of mercy, we trust in You. Amen.
ctto: Thanks for the featured photo.