May 25, 2018

Christ the Cornerstone

The Trinity is the central mystery of Christian belief

Archbishop Charles C. Thompson

“We firmly believe and confess without reservation that there is only one true God, eternal, infinite and unchangeable, incomprehensible, almighty, and ineffable, the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit; three persons indeed, but one essence, substance or nature entirely simple”
(Catechism of the Catholic Church, #202).

Christians are baptized “in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit.” This is an ancient formula of the baptismal creed. It affirms that the Most Holy Trinity, one God in three persons, is the central mystery of Christian life and belief. Baptism immerses us into the mystery of God’s inner life; it marks us indelibly with what St. Augustine called “the seal of the Lord,” a permanent sign that we belong to God alone as children of the Father, members of Christ’s body, and temples of the Holy Spirit.

Pope Francis has urged us not to focus on abstract doctrinal formulas as we seek to better understand, and share with others, the Good News that is our baptismal faith.

Too often, discussion of the Trinity takes on the appearance of obscure theologizing. This is a serious mistake. The mystery of God’s inner life is something dynamic, powerful and life-giving (literally).

The God who is love shares himself generously both within his divine nature and in his relationship to all creation. God’s inner life, the relationship that exists among the three persons of the Blessed Trinity, flows outward with great creative force. The result is life itself, and the great miracles of creation, redemption and sanctification that we Christians profess in the creed all proceed from the Most Holy Trinity as gifts of God’s grace that are intended to unite us with him forever.

When we accept God as our loving Father, we open ourselves to the gift of his endless mercy and forgiveness. No one is denied God’s love no matter what sins he or she has committed. All of us are invited to repent, seek God’s mercy and live freely without sin, as daughters and sons of our heavenly Father.

When we encounter Jesus and accept him as our Lord and Savior, we become brothers and sisters to him and to one another. All the things that divide us are brushed aside as we acknowledge with

St. Paul that “there is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither slave nor free person, there is not male or female; for you are all one in Christ Jesus” (Gal 3:28).

When we receive the Holy Spirit in baptism and in confirmation, the mission of Christ and his Church becomes our mission. In the words of Pope Francis, we become missionary disciples and spirit-filled evangelizers who have the courage to proclaim the joy of the Gospel to those who are closest to us and those who are far away.

We Christians are baptized into the mystery of God’s inner life, the Most Holy Trinity. We are immersed into the ocean of unconditional love that is who God is, and through baptism and all the sacraments of the Church, we are invited to participate in God’s love and share his love generously with others.

The Catechism of the Catholic Church teaches that “God’s works reveal who he is in himself” (#236).

Similarly, “the mystery of God’s inmost being enlightens our understanding of all his works” (cf. CCC, #236). This means that there is an important connection between what we can see with our own eyes (the marvelous works of creation) and what can only be seen with the eyes of faith (the mystery that is at the center of everything that exists). By the grace of God, we can see that there is more to life than what science and human reason alone can disclose to us.

This is the source of our hope and, ultimately, our joy. We are not bound by the limits of material reality or by our own sins or the sins of the world. A loving God—Father, Son and Holy Spirit—has reached out to us, embraced us and rejoiced over us. He has welcomed us into his inner circle, the mystery of his inmost being. He has set us free and adopted us as sons and daughters, as members of his body and as temples of his Spirit.

What a gift the Blessed Trinity is! May we truly be grateful, responsible and generous stewards of this divine mystery! †

Local site Links: