The first Sunday after Pentecost is Trinity Sunday. It honors the most fundamental of Christian beliefs – a belief in an eternal God, consisting of the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit – the Holy Trinity.
Mystery. In this sense, the mystery presents itself as a supernatural fact revealed by God which, within itself, transcends the natural power of human reasoning. Three persons in one God – not similar but each one different – not identical pieces of the same pie or identical flowers or leaves on the same stem – but each one distinct, and yet all three in one . . . the math just doesn’t add up!
Tradition. Many revered and beloved Catholic traditions are closely associated with the Holy Trinity, including the Sign of the Cross and the prayer of praise – Glory be to the Father, and to the Son, and to the Holy Spirit. Representations of the Holy Trinity are also well-known and wide-spread: the Father and Son shown in human form and the Holy Spirit shown as the figure of a dove.
Understanding. A dear friend (now deceased) once recalled to me how his seminary studies of trying to understand the Holy Trinity almost caused his mental breakdown! The Trinity is a doctrine we affirm but have great difficulty explaining. The idea of one God in Three Persons – three-in-one – is a concept we have difficulty getting our heads around!
While the human mind can never fully understand the mystery of the Trinity, we are able to boldly articulate our belief:
God is three persons in One Nature. There is only one God, and the three Persons of God – the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit – all are equally God, and they cannot be divided.
Faith. As I try to develop my own understanding of the Trinity, I’m encouraged by theologians to stop thinking of the Trinity as a theological concept, but to keep an understanding that, as followers of Jesus, we are loved by the Father, and led by the Spirit. All three persons of the Godhead are at work in our lives, in the life of our Church, and in the life of this world.