Last Sunday, the universal Church celebrated Pentecost, the coming of the Holy Spirit — the “Spirit of truth” (John 16:12).
Today, we commemorate the solemnity and mystery of the Holy Trinity, the Triune Godhead.
And God said,
Let us make man
in our image,
after our likeness:
For there are three
that bear record in Heaven,
the Father, the Word, and the Holy Ghost;
and these three are one.
How can three individual persons be one?
Through the centuries, our brightest and most gifted theologians were unable to plumb the mystery of the Triune Godhead, that —
- There is but one God (“And God said”, not “And the Gods said”)
- With three separate persons: the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit (“For there are three”)
- Who made man in their image
- But the three persons nevertheless are one (“and the three are one”).
Here’s St. Thomas Aquinas on the mystery of the Holy Trinity, in Summa Theologica:
“We cannot come to the knowledge of the Trinity by reason alone, that is, by the natural and unaided efforts of the human mind. By our natural reason, we can know that God exists; that he is the First Cause of all; that he is one, infinite, simple, immutable, etc. But that the one God subsists in three really distinct Persons is a truth that can be known only by supernatural means. That is a truth beyond the reach of human reason to know, to prove, or to disprove. We know this truth by divine revelation, and accept it by supernatural faith; we take it upon the authority of God himself. […] By aid of the light of glory the soul in heaven sees God himself clearly and truly.”
And so, as St. Paul said, though we presently but “see in a mirror dimly” with our limited human intellect, we accept and we trust, with the hope that — striving to be good and loving the Three Persons with our whole heart, our whole soul, our whole mind, and with all our strength — there will come a day when we will know and understand what the Second Person hinted at before He took final leave of His disciples and ascended into Heaven (John 16:12):
“I have much more to tell you, but you cannot bear it now.”
As St. Paul said in 1 Corinthians 13:12:
“For now we see in a mirror dimly,
but then face to face.
Now I know in part;
then I shall understand fully,
even as I have been fully understood.”
And may the love of God the Father, the peace of our Lord Jesus Christ, and the fellowship of the Holy Spirit be with you on this magnificent Sunday!