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The Great Mystery of the Trinity
Solemnity of the Most Holy Trinity
The eleven disciples went to Galilee, to the mountain to which Jesus had ordered them. When they saw him, they worshiped, but they doubted. Then Jesus approached and said to them, “All power in heaven and on earth has been given to me. Go, therefore, and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all that I have commanded you. And behold, I am with you always, until the end of the age.”
Opening Prayer: Dear Lord Jesus, open my mind and my heart to hear your word, and in hearing you, may I know and love you, the Father, and the Holy Spirit.
- “The Lord Is Our God”: “Hear, O Israel! The Lord is our God, the Lord alone! Therefore, you shall love the Lord, your God, with your whole heart, and with your whole being, and with your whole strength” (Deuteronomy 6:4-5). This is the beginning of the Jewish profession of faith. It is their declaration in the one God. Surrounded by polytheistic cultures in the ancient world, such as Egypt and Babylon, the Israelites had to reaffirm continuously their belief in the one true God. They had to resist the temptation to assimilate and to blend their beliefs with those of their neighbors. This often came at a great price, such as when Israel suffered persecution under King Antiochus (cf. 1 Maccabees 1). Despite their struggles throughout the centuries, by the time Jesus arrived the Jews stood firmly in their monotheistic belief. God’s grace had sustained them in their mission to preserve their faith and prepare for the Messiah.
- “This Is My Beloved Son”: God is faithful to his promises, but often in ways that far surpass our expectations. Israel received much more than the promised son of David, simply another king. “This is my beloved Son, with whom I am well pleased,” came the voice from heaven at the baptism of Our Lord in the Jordan River (Matthew 3:17). The one true God has a Son! This was not easy for the Jews to grasp, much less believe. Our Lord’s claim to being one with the Father is what ultimately brought about his condemnation as a blasphemer by the Sanhedrin (cf. Matthew 26:63-66). Only with time and the gift of the Holy Spirit did many of the Jews come to grasp and to believe that Jesus was both the Messiah and the very Son of God (cf. Acts 2:14-41). While firm in her faith from the beginning, the Church had to deepen in her understanding of the divinity and humanity of Christ. Fruit of much deliberation and prayer, the Nicene-Constantinopolitan Creed states, “I believe in one Lord, Jesus Christ, the only Son of God, eternally begotten of the Father, God from God, Light from Light, true God from true God, begotten, not made, one in Being with the Father.”
- “And in the Holy Spirit”: Jesus spoke about the Holy Spirit throughout his public ministry, such as his warning not to blaspheme against the Holy Spirit (cf. Matthew 12:32). However, much of what he taught the Apostles about the Holy Spirit is contained in his Last Supper discourse as recorded by John. “If you love me, you will keep my commandments. And I will ask the Father, and he will give you another Advocate to be with you always, the Spirit of truth, which the world cannot accept, because it neither sees nor knows it. But you know it, because it remains with you, and will be in you” (John 14:15-17). The Holy Spirit resides within us and guides us in all truth. Most explicitly, Jesus revealed the Trinity in his great mandate to the Church: “Go… and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit” (Matthew 28:19). Revelation reached its fullness: God remains one in nature but as three distinct but indivisible persons—Father, Son, and Holy Spirit.
Conversing with Christ: Lord Jesus Christ, I remain in awe of the unfathomable truth you have revealed to us: God is one in nature and yet with three divine persons—Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. Help me not simply to grasp a bit better this profound truth with the gift of understanding, but to live with a greater spiritual awareness of the mystery of the Trinity residing in my soul. I am truly your temple, and yet, “Lord, I am not worthy to have you enter under my roof” (Matthew 8:8). May I continue to cultivate an attentiveness to your presence within me through a spirit of recollection, prayer, and gratitude.
Resolution: Lord, today by your grace I will prayerfully take three brief moments throughout the day to remember your presence–Father, Son, and Holy Spirit–in my soul.
For Further Reflection: Tim Staples in Catholic Answers, Explaining the Trinity.
Written by Father John Bullock, LC