The Holy Trinity
I like the Baltimore Catechism because it raises a lot of questions about the Catholic Church and God. For every question it raised, there was an answer given. As a kid, this was heaven. Where else could you find text books which gave both questions and answers? Not to mention, all the answers were short. The easiest part of those questions was the Trinity.
#27. Q. What is the Blessed Trinity?
A. The Blessed Trinity is one God in three Divine Persons.
#23. Q. How many Persons are there in God?
A. In God there are three Divine Persons, really distinct,
and equal in all things-the Father, the Son, and the Holy Ghost.
During the catechism class, I asked the priest to explain to us what it meant to be distinct and equal? He drew a triangle on the blackboard describing there are three angles in one triangle. If we asked more questions, he would say the Trinity was a mystery and we couldn’t understand it. Later on, I learned the story about St. Augustine, who came upon a small boy who was carrying a bucket of water from the sea and poured it into a hole in the sand. Augustine laughed, “Can’t be done. The sea is too large and the hole is too small.” The boy replied, “So it is with you and the Trinity. The mystery is too large and your mind is too small. The effect of this explanation and story was comforting. Even though the story does not satisfy my “faith seeks understanding,” it helps to keep quiet those who want to ask more.
Now as a priest myself, I really try to explain the Trinity as clearly as I can to those who want to know more about God. I begin explaining to them if God is love, he wants us to go back to him by following his path and not our own selfish path. Through the prophets from old, he wasn’t very successful in us turning back to him. He had to do it in person. However, God the father had this dilemma; He wanted to save human beings, but without himself getting vanished by it because the whole universe relies on him to survive. If the whole of him became human, who was going to take care of the whole universe? So, through the Holy Spirit, he was able to safely become a human and still have the universe under his care. It is just like a life guard without getting into the water to save a drowning person. He (father) throws the life saver (Jesus) on the water for the drowning person with a string (Holy Spirit) attached to it.
In this Sunday’s gospel, we can see the tight relationship among the Trinity. As St. John said, “He (the Holy Spirit) will guide you into all the truth.” This is why our holy mother Church always relies on the Holy Spirit to guide us by following the words Jesus taught us. In addition, Jesus said, “He will not speak on his own, but will speak whatever he hears (from Jesus), and he will declare to you.” The interesting part is yet to follow and that is what Jesus said, “All that the Father has is mine.” The Holy Spirit really guides us back to the Father which is the salvation plan of the Father. Because the Holy Spirit fully interpreted what he heard from Jesus, there would be no more new revelation of God the father, for he was revealed through Jesus Christ. What we learn now from the Church is the truth even though the words of Jesus were left to us more than two thousand years ago.
Blessings, Fr. Francis