Holy Trinity: Parish and Universal Church Feast
Throughout the ages of the church’s history, the mystery of the Holy Trinity has baffled some, been understood by many, and completely ignored by those not knowing what to make of it. Saints, theologians and preachers have made noble attempts to explain in such a way the reality of so profound a mystery. I hesitate to even give you the impression that my attempts will come close to theirs.
Our Catechism of the Catholic Church offers some insight by stating:
“The Trinity is One.” We do not confess three Gods, but one God in three persons. The Divine Persons do not share the one divinity among themselves but each of them is God whole and entire.” Translation: God the Father is completely God, Jesus the Son is completely God, and the Holy Spirit is completely God.
“The divine persons are really distinct from one another.” God is one but not solitary. ‘Father,’ ‘Son.’ ‘Holy Spirit’ are not simply names describing individuals but describes the different persons of the Trinity. It is the Father who generates, the Son who is begotten, and the Holy Spirit who proceeds.” Translation: God shows Himself to us in different ways.
“The divine persons are relative to one another.” Indeed ‘everything in them is one where there is no opposition of relationship. Because of that unity the Father is wholly in the Son and wholly in the Holy Spirit; the Son wholly in the Father and wholly in the Holy Spirit; the Holy Spirit is wholly in the Father and wholly in the Son.” Translation: God is one!
The above quotes are from our Catechism and the ‘Translations’ are mine…I hope that they help you and not confuse you. There are three other ways to understand the Trinity: St. Patrick used the image of the Shamrock, three leaves on one stem. Some of the Church Fathers used the image of the sun, saying that the sun itself was like the Father, the Son the light, and the Spirit the heat. I’ve been told that some Portuguese cooks have their own version of the Trinity: carrots, celery, and onions, for a perfect Portuguese Bean Soup, not as a definition of the Holy Trinity.