THE TRIUNE GOD AND OUR SPIRITUAL LIFE
“Christians are baptized ‘in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit.’ Before receiving the sacrament, they respond to a three-part question when asked to confess the Father, the Son and the Spirit: ‘I do.’ ‘The faith of all Christians rests on the Trinity.’” – Catechism of the Catholic Church, no. 232.
As people under the guidance of the Holy Spirit, there is what and who we believe in (God: Nature and essence), there is how we celebrate what and who we believe in (Liturgy and sacraments), there is also how we live out what and who we believe in (morality) and there is how we sustain relationship with what and who we believe in (prayer). The aforementioned defines the synopsis of the Catholic and Christian faith.
Trinity Sunday affords us the opportunity to reflect on what and who we believe in. It is taken for granted that we believe in a supernatural Being called God in English. You have a name for Him according to your native language. This God of ours has been revealed through the priests, prophets and kings of the Israelites but the summit of such revelation is Jesus Christ. That’s why, Scripture says: “Long ago God spoke to our ancestors in many and various ways by the prophets, but in these last days he has spoken to us by a Son, whom he appointed heir of all things, through whom he also created the worlds” (Heb. 1:1-2).
One of the height of Christian revelation of truth is the Trinity. The Trinity is about what God is (NATURE – ONE) and who He is (PERSONS – THREE DIVINE, Father, Son and Holy Spirit). These expositions express three crucial truths: (1) the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit are distinct divine Persons, inseparably united, equal in majesty, honour, glory and power (2) each Person is fully God (3) there is only one God (1+1+1=1 instead of 3). These three Persons are not three Gods but they are distinct as they make up one God.
Over the years we have grappled with the above understanding of God and it is wonderful and eternally helpful. However, God created us in His image and likeness and we are supposed to be Godlike in identity and mission. Knowledge of God on a serious note ought to make impact on us, but the case is the reverse as we are experiencing not just a physical distancing of ourselves from God but spiritual distancing. Spiritual distancing is obvious in the way we begin and end prayers without the Trinity. Spiritual distancing is so pronounced today as we treat the Blessed Trinity as a punctuation mark. Meaning, we could start and end prayer for instance with the invocation of the Trinity but without consciously remembering the Trinitarian God in the middle of our prayers. That could apply to other activities of the day in which we might begin and end with the Trinity but without mindfully carrying the Trinity along.
Many factors may be responsible: traditional understanding of God that informs us of a God that is too awesome, incomprehensible, eternal and so forth. Yes, the aforementioned attributes are correct about God but they must be embraced with the mind of Jesus who says: “For God so loved the world that He gave His only-begotten Son…” (John 3:16). Here’s why St. Athanasius wrote that “God became man so that men might become gods. …” Other factors are one-way relationship with God, and the slow devotion we give to the doctrine of the Blessed Trinity in our everyday lives.
Therefore, let us revere, celebrate and live out the Trinitarian knowledge about God by beginning formal and informal prayers with the Trinitarian formula and not “In Jesus name.” Let us respect the truth that God is a community and a communion of persons because “It is not good for God to be Alone” (G K Chesterton). Which means that God is a relational Being and He created us in His image and likeness (Gen. 1:26). So, we are persons too because we cannot live on our own. We need others to live and experience fulfilment. Let us aspire for unity or oneness just as the Trinity though of three Divine Persons, but ONE GOD. This is true because Jesus Christ prayed that we should be one: “That they may all be one; even as thou, Father, art in me, and I in thee, that they also may be in us, so that the world may believe that thou hast sent me” (John 17:21). Glory be to the Father, and to the Son and to the Holy Spirit…