The Most Holy Trinity (Fr. Francis)
The most Holy Trinity:
The Feast of the Holy Trinity goes back to 12th. Century England and St. Thomas Becket, Archbishop of Canterbury. Some historians say the great Thomas celebrated a liturgy in honour of the Trinity in his cathedral. So was born the observance. In the 14th. Century it came to be observed by the whole Church. Belief in the Holy Trinity goes back, of course, to the New Testament; and try, as we might, we would not be able to keep the Trinity in a closet, any more than we can keep love a secret. We open and close the liturgy by invoking those three most holy names of the Father, the son and the Holy Spirit.
There is a story told of St. Augustine that while he was pondering the teachings of the Church, before he had become a Christian, he was walking along the sea-shore one day, saying over and over to himself: “Three persons in one God, how can that be.” Suddenly he came upon a little boy who had dug a hole in the sand and was going back and forth to the ocean with a shell. He would fill the shell with water and then come back and empty it into the hole. Over and over he did this. Augustine asked him, “What are you doing, little boy?” And the boy answered, “I am emptying the ocean into this hole in the sand.” And very reasonably, Augustine replied, “But that’s impossible.”“ No more impossible,” said the lad, “than your trying to understand how there can be three persons in one God.” Augustine went on, of course, after his baptism to become one of the great Fathers of the Church and he wrote one of the earliest treatises on what else? The Trinity.
A priest was instructing a man for baptism, and taught him the names of the persons of the Trinity. The following week he asked the man to repeat the three names. The man said, “The first is the Father, the 2nd. Is the Son, and…..excuse me, I can’t remember the name of the 3rd. gentleman.” Gentleman, indeed! We may not be able to enumerate the three Persons, but let us be aware that we are in the presence of pure and sweet gentleness.
To comprehend God is out of the question. To worship Him is the need of the heart. A priest was sitting in an airport departure lounge waiting for his flight. A fellow passenger, wanting to kill time, struck up a conversation. Said he, “Father, I believe only what I can understand. So, I can’t buy your Trinity. Maybe you can explain it to me.” The priest out down the New York Times he was reading. “Do you see the sun out there?” “Yes.” Very well it’s 83 million miles away. The rays coming through the window are coming from the sun. It’s a very cold day. And the warmth we are enjoying comes from a combination of sun and rays. Well, the Trinity is like that. God the Father is that blazing sun. His Son is the ray he sends down to us. Then both combine to send us the Holy Spirit who is, in this context, the warmth we feel on our bodies. If you can figure out the workings of the sun, the rays and the heat, it will help you get a faint idea of the Trinity. And as for trying to understand the Trinity, it’s like staring wide-eyed into the noonday sun in order to understand it. All you get for your efforts is a serious headache and blinded eyes, requiring aspirin, eyes drops and a pair of Ray-Ban.” So the priest turned to the fellow passenger and asked, “You get the point?” The man muttered something about catching a flight and took off.
You and I should have no difficulty buying into a God who loves us passionately, a Son who is willing to die for us, and a Holy Spirit who helps us become saints. The Father played creator and was overjoyed that the world turned out so attractively. The Son played redeemer to put everything right again in the wounded world by stretching out his arms on the Cross. The Spirit played sanctifier and joyfully made room in the heart of each of us for the entire Trinity as large as they are. Today the Trinity invites us to keep playing with this delightful game of life and love. And why not? We have nothing to lose but our chains.
There are other ways to explain the Trinity: Egg – you have the egg shell, the egg yolk, and the egg white. They are three distinct parts – but they are all egg.
Water: a glass of water, an ice cube, or steam….it is different but all water! St. Patrick’s shamrock!
Neither St. Augustine, nor St. Thomas Aquinas of Paris University nor Mr. Albert Einstein could comprehend the Trinity. St. Paul mentions the Trinity 30 times in his letter. In chapter 11 of the Book of Job, the old man says, “Can anyone penetrate the deep designs of God?” Who said that God has to tell us everything?
He tells us only on a need-to-know basis. Take it on faith and you’ll muddle through somehow.
Fr. A. Francis HGN