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Engaging the Word: Solemnity of the Most Holy Trinity

As we celebrate Trinity Sunday this week, we consider a doctrine so central to our faith that we proclaim it every time we make the Sign of the Cross.
Belief in the Trinity is what defines us as Christians, which is why Mormons or Jehovah’s Witnesses, who reject faith in the Trinity, are not considered Christians. Our faith in the Trinity depends entirely on God revealing Himself to us in Jesus. Because we believe the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit are “consubstantial” (they share one nature or substance), when we grow to know Jesus we also grow to know the Father and the Holy Spirit. The three “persons” of the Trinity, unlike human persons, are never in conflict with each other. Even though we use the term “person” to talk about the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit, we must remember that these three are no separate “personalities.”

In fact, if we use the term “personality” at all, we would have to say that the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit have but one personality, a personality that can be summed up in a single word: love. As the apostle John tells us, “God is love” (1 John 4:8). Real love, unlike the corrupt version we see on television, is self-giving, and we see this most perfectly in Jesus’ self-sacrifice on the cross. When we see Jesus on the cross—and when we celebrate Mass—He is offering Himself to the Father. And it is out of the Father’s own self–giving that we can say the Son is “begotten.” And from this relationship, in turn the Holy Spirit “proceeds”—an explosion of love that has neither beginning nor end.

In fact, one of the best images of the Trinity comes from Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI, who compared the Trinity to an nuclear explosion of love.


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