Archive for the ‘Holy Trinity’ Category

Homily on the Solemnity of the Most Holy Trinity

June 21, 2011

Today we celebrate the central mystery of our Faith: today is the Solemnity of the Most Holy Trinity.  When we use the word “mystery” in the context of our Faith, we are not talking about something that needs to be solved; this type of mystery is a reality that is beyond our capacity to comprehend.  We can know things about the mysteries of our Faith, but we will never be able to fully understand them because these mysteries are beyond us.  The mystery of the Trinity is a reality that we are incapable of fully grasping: it is the reality of Who God IS in Himself.  From all eternity God exists as a community of Persons: Father, Son and Holy Spirit.  God has revealed Himself to us through Sacred Scripture and through Sacred Tradition.  God has revealed Himself to us as a Trinity of Persons, and because God has revealed it, we can be sure that it is true.  Our finite minds cannot fully encompass this truth, because this truth is concerned with the Who God IS.  God is infinite and therefore cannot be “figured out” by His finite creatures.  Our limited minds do not have the capacity to contain God Who IS beyond all limits.

If we study our Faith, if we study Scripture and theology, we can deepen our understanding of the mystery of the Trinity.  We can grow in our understanding of God’s self-revelation, but we will go on growing in our comprehension of Who God IS throughout all of eternity in Heaven.  The best way for us to grow in our knowledge of the Trinity is not through study, although studying our Faith is certainly important; the best way to deepen our appreciation of Who God IS in Himself is through prayer.  Through prayer we come in contact with the Most Holy Trinity; through prayer, God reveals Himself more fully to us.  In fact, studying our Faith and prayer should go hand in hand: all good theology is done on one’s knees.  That is why the Saints are the best theologians: they don’t just know things about God: they know Him.

In order for us to come to know God more deeply, we need to meet Him in prayer.  Our prayer is shaped by our beliefs and our beliefs are to influence the way that we pray.  When we pray as individuals, we oftentimes tend to focus on one Person of the Trinity or another.  We may turn to the Father seeking His forgiveness; we might address the Son asking Him to help us to bear our daily crosses; we probably turn to the Holy Spirit when we are seeking guidance on a particular matter.  The reality, of course, is that all three Persons of the Trinity are not separate from one another.  We separate Them in our minds, but the Three Persons are really inseparable.  They are three distinct Persons: the Father is not the Son and the Son is not the Father.  Yet the Father is God and the Son is God and the Holy Spirit is God.  The Son is not less than the Father; the Father is not greater than the Son.  The Holy Spirit is not greater than nor less than the other two Persons.  All three Persons are God and yet God is perfectly One.

It is fine for us to relate to the different Persons of the Trinity at different times, yet we ought to remember that our God is Three Persons.  We can learn from the example given to us by our Mother, the Church.  Whenever the Church prays in the liturgy, she almost always prays to the Father, with the Son and in the Holy Spirit.  Most of our opening and closing prayers at Mass begin by addressing the Father and then conclude with “through Our Lord Jesus Christ Your Son, Who lives and reigns with You in the unity of the Holy Spirit, one God forever and ever.”  The Church is continually pointing us to the Trinity: we begin our prayers, both at Mass and in private with the Sign of the Cross: in which we call upon the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit.  Many of the prayers that we say at Mass are done three times: “Lord have mercy, Christ have mercy, Lord have mercy”; “Holy, Holy, Holy.”  This is reminiscent of the Three Persons in One God.  The entire Eucharistic prayer is directed to the Father.  Listen to the prayers that the priest prays at the altar: you will hear that the prayers are addressed to the Father and usually conclude with “Through Christ our Lord.”  Just before the bread and the wine are transformed into the Body and Blood of Jesus Christ, the Holy Spirit is called down upon the gifts.  The Persons of the Trinity are invoked and referred to again and again throughout the Mass.  Through the prayers of the Mass the Church teaches and reminds us of Who God IS.  If we are attentive to the prayers, we will see very clearly how Trinitarian they are.  The prayers of the Mass help us to meditate more deeply upon this central mystery of our Faith that we celebrate in a special way today: that God is Father, Son and Holy Spirit in One God.  Let us ask God for the grace to come to know Him more fully as He truly IS: O Most Holy Trinity: Father, Son and Holy Spirit, we adore You and we thank You for revealing Yourself to us: lead us into an ever deeper relationship with You.  Help us to know You, to love You and to serve You faithfully in this life, so that we can behold You Face-to-face in Heaven and there be happy with You forever and ever.  Amen.

Trinity Sunday

June 9, 2010

Today we celebrate the Solemnity of the Most Holy Trinity.  The Trinity is the central mystery of our Faith.  It is the most important mystery of our Faith because it is the mystery of Who God IS in Himself.  From all eternity, God exists as Three Persons in One God.  That is what we mean when we use the word Trinity.  We believe that God is Three Divine Persons in One God because that is how He has revealed Himself to us.

In the Gospel today, Jesus says that everything that the Father has belongs to Him.  By this statement, Our Lord’s is clearly claiming total equality with God.  Everything that the Father has, the Son has.  The Father possesses the fullness of divinity; therefore the Son also possesses the fullness of divinity.  In the Gospels, Jesus clearly claimed to be God and His hearers understood that that is what He was telling them when He made statements like the one we heard in today’s Gospel.  Jesus made many clear claims in the Gospel that He IS God.  If those claims were not true, then Jesus would be guilty of blasphemy, and according to Jewish law blasphemy was punishable by death.  That is why the Jewish leaders who heard Jesus’ teachings sometimes took up stones with which to kill Him because they understood that He was claiming that He was God and they did not believe in Him and they wanted to stone Him to death for blasphemy.  We, of course, know that Jesus Christ IS God.  He claimed to be God and He proved that claim by the many signs and miracles that He performed.  He proved His divinity by rising from the dead.

We profess our belief in the fact that Jesus Christ is truly God every Sunday in the Creed.  Every week we reaffirm our belief that Jesus Christ is the Eternal Son of God: “God from God, Light from Light, True God from True God, one in being with the Father.”  Jesus and the Father are one and yet they are not the same Person.  The Father is not the Son, the Son is not the Father and yet the Father and the Son are both one God: totally and perfectly one.  The same is true of the Holy Spirit.  The Spirit is not the Father or the Son, but nonetheless He is really and truly one God with the Father and with the Son.  This reality can be difficult to grasp; it is a mystery that we will go on contemplating for all eternity in Heaven.  God has revealed Himself to us as a Trinity, and we accept His revelation in humility, realizing that we will contemplate God for all eternity and never fully comprehend Him because He is Infinite, and we are limited creatures.  We believe and accept God as Three Persons in One God, because God has revealed this Truth to us.

God has revealed Himself as Three Persons in one God because He wants us to know Him as He is.  This is not merely an abstract fact that we learn in Catechism and then ignore it because it has no impact on our lives.  Knowing that God is a Trinity also reveals something to us about ourselves because we are made in God’s image and likeness.  The Truth that God is Three Persons in one God reveals to us that God is love.  If God were only one person, He could not be love; He could only be a lover: because love is a relationship between persons.  There has to be more than one person in order for there to be love.  If God were only one Person, He could only love Himself: He could only have selfish love.  But we know that God existed from all eternity as Three Persons: from all eternity the Trinity exists as a community of love.  From all eternity the Father loves the Son and the Son loves the Father.  From all eternity the Holy Spirit proceeds from them both as the love of the Father and the Son for each other.  The Truth that “God is love” depends on the Truth that “God is a Trinity.”

Because our God exists as a community of love, and we are made in His image and likeness, we know that love is the highest meaning of life.  We are made in the image of God and God is love: therefore we are made in the image of love.  That is why Jesus Christ taught us that the greatest commandment is to love God above all things and to love others as we love ourselves.  Jesus is not imposing some law upon us: He is trying to get us to live the way that we were created to live.  The whole purpose of our lives is to be in relationship with God.  Why did God create us?  He created us to know Him, to love Him and to serve Him.  Loving God is the whole point of our existence.  The purpose of life is to know, love and serve God.  God loves each one of us more than we can ever imagine.  God loves each and every one of us, and He wants us to love Him in return with our whole heart.  If we do not put God first in our lives, we are not fulfilling the purpose for which we were created.  If God is not first in our lives, we will always feel empty inside.  Nothing in this world will ever make us content; we will always want more: our hearts are restless until they rest in God.  Nothing can satisfy our hearts except God alone.

The perfect model of putting God first is the Blessed Virgin Mary.  Mary is the obedient daughter of God the Father; she is the perfect Mother of God the Son; she is the spotless spouse of the Holy Spirit.  Her heart was completely open to all that God wanted to do in her life and as a result she had true happiness: she is the most blessed among all women.  Let us all imitate Our Blessed Mother and have hearts that are open to all that God wants to do in us and through us.  Mother Mary, help us to love God above all things and others as ourselves out of love for Him.  O Mary Queen of all hearts, pray for us!  Amen.