Wednesday, 27 May 2015


‘I don’t need to bother about the Trinity! It’s enough for me to be a Christian!’ That’s what a friend once said to me. For him the Blessed Trinity was far too great a mystery for him to begin to understand. And he feared that if he tried to explain the Trinity he would get bogged down in abstract metaphysics, which had little to do with his daily life.

The preacher fears –I fear - the congregation would switch off at the prospect of a sermon on the Trinity. He’s tempted to take the escape rout of The Pastoral Letter, which bishops often kindly provide. He might well prefer to talk about something else.

But I’m not going to take the easy way out. The Trinity is far too important for me to do that. I want to try to show that faith in the Blessed Trinity is essential to our understanding of what it means to be Christian. I hope you won’t switch off. Abstract philosophy is not my scene!

Why is the Blessed Trinity so important to us? Well, when we were baptised ‘in the name of the Father, Son and Holy Spirit,’ we began to share in God’s own life.

The Blessed Trinity gives us our identity as God’s children. Our perfection consists in becoming ever more like the Blessed Trinity. Our happiness lies in knowing and loving God as He really is… one God, who is three equal persons, each being fully God, not a part of God.

We’d be right to think that’s taking us way out of our depth, as we realise we’re confronted with a mystery –the greatest of all mysteries. But let’s not panic! We’re used to living with mysteries in our daily lives. We don’t fully understand ourselves, let alone anyone else. We’re constantly being taken by surprise.

But that doesn’t prevent us loving each other. In fact the mystery makes us much more interesting to know and love. We can destroy love by too much analysis –by trying to define and categorise people so as to be able to put them in pigeon holes and stick labels on them.

So we shouldn’t be put off by God being the greatest of all mysteries. Instead, we should welcome, love and praise the mystery of the Trinity, which is God. If we try to force God to fit into our limited understanding of Him we will end up with fashioning our own god. That would be idolatry.

But God has revealed a great deal about Himself by telling us the different ways in which each member of the Trinity is involved in our salvation. In John’s Gospel we’re told that God loved the world so much that he sent His only Son into the world to save us. The Son expressed God’s love for us by becoming one of us and sacrificing His human life so that we could share His divine life. No one could show us greater love than that.

And after ascending to heaven Jesus sent God’s Spirit into the world so that we could gain the divine happiness, which He had won for us on the cross. As we saw in last Sunday’s feast of Pentecost, the Holy Spirit is the great communicator. Through the Spirit we share God’s life and become His children. Through the Holy Spirit we share His saving truth. Without the activity of each member of the Blessed Trinity our lives as Christians would be meaningless.

Obviously there’s much more that could be said about the Blessed Trinity.

But in the end, we have to admit that God can’t be pinned down by intellectual analysis and definitions -nor can we! We will draw far closer to God by welcoming Him with love as He is in Himself –as the mysterious Blessed Trinity.

We will know, love and praise God much, much better in heaven. That will be our eternal happiness.

Isidore Clarke,O.P.

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