“The faith of all Christians rests on the Trinity” (Catechism of the Catholic Church, para.232)
“This Sunday of the Most Holy Trinity, in a certain sense sums up God’s revelation which was brought about through the Paschal Mysteries; Christ’s Death and Resurrection, His Ascension to the right hand of the Father and the outpouring of the Holy Spirit. The human mind and language are inadequate to explain the relationship that exists between the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit; yet, the Fathers of the Church sought to illustrate the Mystery of the Triune God by living it with deep faith in their lives.” (Pope Benedict XVI)
The central belief of the Catholic Church is that of the Most Holy Trinity, Whose feast we celebrate today. We believe in one God, Who is three Divine Persons – the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit. Each of these distinct Divine Persons is co-equal, co-eternal, uncreated. They are a unity of love. As we profess in the Creed –
“I believe in one God, the Father Almighty, Creator of Heaven and earth; and in Jesus Christ, His only Son, Our Lord, Who was conceived by the Holy Spirit.. I believe in the Holy Spirit, the Lord, the Giver of life, Who proceeds from the Father and the Son; Who, with the Father and the Son, is adored and glorified..”
As well as being the central belief of our Faith, the Most Holy Trinity is a Mystery of our Faith.
“..The Vatican Council has explained the meaning to be attributed to the term Mystery in theology. It lays down that a mystery is a truth which we are not merely incapable of discovering apart from Divine Revelation, but which, even when revealed, remains ‘hidden by the veil of faith and enveloped, so to speak, by a kind of darkness’ (Constitution, ‘De fide. cath.’, iv). In other words, our understanding of it remains only partial, even after we have accepted it as part of the Divine message..”
In the early period of the Church, there was much debate on precisely what this Mystery involved and how to describe it; but from the days of the Apostles, belief in the Most Holy Trinity was fixed. The Catechism reminds us –
“From the beginning, the revealed truth of the Holy Trinity has been at the very root of the Church’s living faith, principally by means of Baptism. It finds its expression in the rule of baptismal faith, formulated in the preaching, catechesis and prayer of the Church. Such formulations are already found in the apostolic writings, such as this salutation taken up in the Eucharistic liturgy: ‘The grace of the Lord Jesus Christ and the love of God and the fellowship of the Holy Spirit be with you all’.” (para.249)
Some heresies arose in those early days, leading the Church to speak with clarity on what She believes, as far as it can be described in human language. After all, how can the indescribable be adequately described? It cannot. That is why it is a Mystery. The Fathers of the Church concur and Saint Jerome tells us – “The true profession of the mystery of the Trinity is to own that we do not comprehend it”.
The Catechism of the Catholic Church echoes this –
“The Trinity is a Mystery of faith in the strict sense, one of the ‘mysteries that are hidden in God, which can never be known unless they are revealed by God’. To be sure, God has left traces of His Trinitarian being in His work of creation and in His Revelation throughout the Old Testament. But His inmost Being as Holy Trinity is a Mystery that is inaccessible to reason alone or even to Israel’s faith before the Incarnation of God’s Son and the sending of the Holy Spirit.” (para.237)
In our own days, there have been times when some light has been given to particular souls on this great Mystery.
For example, prior to the appearances of the Most Blessed Virgin at Fatima in 1917, the Angel of Portugal appeared to the children and taught them Trinitarian prayers and devotions –
“Most Holy Trinity, Father, Son and Holy Spirit, I adore You profoundly, and I offer You the Most Precious Body, Blood, Soul and Divinity of Jesus Christ, present in all the Tabernacles of the world, in reparation for the outrages, sacrileges and indifferences by which He is offended. And by the infinite merits of His Most Sacred Heart and the Immaculate Heart of Mary, I beg the conversion of poor sinners.”.
This reparative prayer, given by an Angel, was explicitly Trinitarian.
Years later, Lucia, the eldest of the three Fatima children, would enter a convent and in the summer of 1929, she was granted a vision of the Most Holy Trinity. Here is how she later described what took place –
” ..Suddenly, the entire convent Chapel was illuminated in a supernatural light, and a Cross of light appeared over the Altar and reached the ceiling. On the superior part, the face of a Man was seen and His body down to the waist. A Dove of light was over His chest and nailed to the Cross was another Man. Suspended in air over His waist I was able to see a Chalice with a large Host. Drops of Blood from the face of Jesus Crucified and His pierced side fell into the the chalice, dripping from the Host. Beneath the right arm on the Cross was Our Lady. It was Our Lady of Fatima, with Her Immaculate Heart in Her left hand, without thorns or roses, but with a crown of thorns and flames. Underneath the left arm on the Cross, big letters, similar to crystal water came down to the Altar forming these words: Grace and Mercy.’ I understood it was the Mystery of the Blessed Trinity that was revealed to me, and I perceived inner light about this Mystery which I am not permitted to reveal..”
Also, in terms of the revelations to Saint Faustina regarding the Divine Mercy devotion, there is a very strong Trinitarian element – not only in the recitation of the Creed near the start of the Chaplet of Divine Mercy, but in the very focus of what this devotion is all about; the offering of the Merciful Lord to the Eternal Father, for the forgiveness of sins. It echoes back to the very foundation of the Gospels. The Chaplet itself is offered to the Father and begs Divine Mercy “for our sins and those of the whole world”.
Faith is Mystery; without mystery, faith would not be necessary, for we would know. This is especially the case with the Most Holy Trinity, the greatest Mystery of all. But as Christians, we do believe in that divine Mystery, in the unity of one God ion three Divine Persons, the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit. Thank God that we have that gift of Faith.
God our Father, Who by sending into the world the Word of Truth and the Spirit of Sanctification made known to the human race Your wondrous mystery, grant us, we pray, that in professing the true Faith, we may acknowledge the Trinity of eternal glory and adore Your unity, powerful in majesty, through Our Lord Jesus Christ, Your Son, Who lives and reigns with You in the unity of the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever, amen. (Collect, Mass for the Feast of the Most Holy Trinity)
Glory be to the Father, to the Son and to the Holy Spirit; as it was in the beginning, is now and ever shall be, world without end, amen.