The story is told of St. Augustine, a great philosopher and theologian. He was so preoccupied with the doctrine of the Blessed Trinity. He wanted so much to understand the doctrine of one God in three persons and to be able to explain it logically. One day he was walking along the seashore and reflecting on this matter. Suddenly, he saw a little child all alone on the shore. The child made a hole in the sand, ran to the sea with a little cup, filled her cup with the seawater, ran up and emptied the cup into the hole she made in the sand. Back and forth she went to the sea, filled her cup and came poured it into the hole. Augustine drew up and said to her: “Little child, what are you doing?” She replied, “I am trying to empty the sea into this hole.” Augustine said, “How do you think that you can empty this immense sea into this tiny hole with this tiny cup?” She answered back, “And you, how do you suppose that with your small head you can comprehend the immensity of God?” With that the child disappeared!
The doctrine of the inner relationship of the Father, Son and Holy Spirit in such a way that each of them is fully and equally God, equal in divinity yet distinct in personality, cannot be fully comprehended by the human mind. It is a mystery… truly hard to explain. It is like trying to explain the color green to a person who has been totally blind since birth.
The Holy Trinity is a very abstract concept that one can be lost as he tries to explain the doctrine and concept of the trinity. For how can there be three persons in one God—equal in divinity but distinct in personality. It is not a correct mathematical statement: one plus one plus one equals ONE!
Although at times we can catch a glimpse of how wonderful this doctrine really is, but even so, it still seems abstract— something for theologians to ponder, something not practical for everyday Christians.
In trying to explain the trinity, theologians would say that the Father GENERATES THE SON, and that the FATHER and the SON love each other and their mutual love is the HOLY SPIRIT.
– Quite a complicated theological explanation, but behind the complicated language, the LESSON is ESSENTIALLY the LESSON of UNITY, of GIVING and MUTUAL SHARING!
- in the TRINITY, the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit go beyond their own UNITY and MUTUALITY to share themselves with the world.
- FATHER reached out to all men by creating the world. The SON reached out to men when he came into the world to teach men the WAY, the TRUTH and the LIFE. Jesus spoke about the Father who sent him (the son) and about the Holy Spirit whom he was going to send. He said that the Father had given him all that he has and that he in turn has given the Holy Spirit to all that He has received from the Father. In this we see the unity of purpose among the three persons of the trinity.
- HOLY SPIRIT was sent to be our source of strength.
Now, what does the doctrine of the Blessed Trinity tell us about the kind of God we worship and what does this say about the kind of people we should be? I have two points to share:
- God does not exist in solitary individualism but in a community of love and sharing. God is not a loner. This means that a Christian in search of Godliness must shun every tendency to isolation. The ideal Christian spirituality is not that of flight from the world. It is living in the world but not of the world—involving oneself with people and society.
True love requires three partners.
- In God there is perfect love and union. There is perfect love and union between the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit. The father loves the son, the son loves the father, and their mutual love for each other is the Holy Spirit. Thus in the Blessed Trinity we have ONE God and THREE divine persons.
It is the human family which is supposed to reflect this union of the Trinity. There is one family, but there are three members of the family – the father, the mother and the child. Thus we see in the union, the love that is supposed to be the foundation stone, the dynamo of every happy family. Love when perfected becomes a trinity—an expression of LOVE. Love is something that cannot be kept to yourself selfishly.
Our ultimate goal, and it is the only goal for all, is to achieve perfect union with the Trinitarian God. We do that, above all, by loving as the Trinitarian God loved, by loving unconditionally and continuing to love where no love, and even hate, is returned.
Today, when we once again profess our faith in the Blessed Trinity, and when we make the sign of the cross at the end of this Mass, let’s thank God for showing us what He is really like, and let’s ask Him to help each of us to be just like Him.