The word “Trinity,” what does it mean? Does it mean that God is a mystery? No! Is the Blessed Trinity another Person of God? No! Then, what is it?
The root of the word “Trinity” originates from the Latin word “trini” which means “three each,” or “threefold.” “The term has been used as early as the days of Tertullian (200 A.D.) to denote the central doctrine of the Christian religion. God, who is one and unique in His infinite substance or nature, or Godhead, is three really distinct Persons, the Father, the Son, and the Holy Ghost. Each of these Persons is truly the same God, and has all His infinite perfections, yet He is really distinct from each of the other Persons. The one and only God is the Father, the Son, and the Holy Ghost; yet God the Father is not God the Son, but begets the Son eternally, as the Son is eternally begotten. The Holy Ghost is neither the Father nor the Son, but a distinct Person having His Divine nature from the Father and the Son by eternal procession.” (The New Catholic Dictionary, Van Rees Press, NY, Copyright 1929)
In other words, in Jesus dwells the Father and the Holy Spirit. And the same can be said about the Father and the Holy Spirit. In each one dwells the other two Persons of God. This truth is supported by a verse in The Letter of Paul to the Colossians. “In Him (Jesus) all the fullness of God was pleased to dwell bodily.” [Col. 1:19; 2:9] “All the fullness of God means the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit.
The next question that some may ask is, “Are there any biblical passages to support that in the fullness of God, there are Three distinct Persons?” The answer to this is “Yes!” We can quote the closing of the Gospel of Matthew where Jesus told His disciples, “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…” [Mt. 28:18] And we can quote the closing words of St. Paul in the Second Letter to the Corinthians where He states, “The grace of the Lord Jesus Christ, the love of God, and the communion of the Holy Spirit be with all of you.” [2 Cor. 13:13] These biblical passages affirm that while there is One God, there are Three distinct Persons in the Godhead.
Accepting these truths as Catholic doctrine, today, I would like to review the richness of our Christian life in which the Holy Trinity is manifested.
1) IN JESUS: As previously stated, in Jesus dwelled the fullness of God bodily. [Col. 1:19, 2:9] Regarding the indwelling of the Father, in the Gospel of John we read, “Go you not believe that I am in the Father and the Father is in me?” [Jn. 14:10] Regarding the indwelling of the Holy Spirit in Jesus, in the Gospel of Luke, we read that at the end of His earthly life, Jesus said, “Father, into your hands I commend my Spirit.” [Lk. 23:46] At that moment, the Holy Ghost departed from Jesus and the Lord died on the Holy Cross. This affirms that “the body without the spirit is dead.” [Jas. 2:26] “It is the spirit that gives life; the flesh is useless.” [Jn. 6:63]
2) THE WOMB OF MARY: Knowing that the Holy Ghost departed from Jesus at the moment of His death, we can now ask, “When did the Holy Ghost make His indwelling in Jesus?” We find that answer in the Gospel of Luke. When the angel Gabriel appeared to the Virgin Mary, he said, “And now, you will conceive in your womb and bear a Son, and you will name Him Jesus…” [Lk. 1:31] “The Holy Spirit will come upon you…” [Lk. 1:25] Based on these passages, it is revealed that the Holy Spirit made His indwelling in Jesus in the womb of the Blessed Virgin Mary at the moment of conception. Within the womb of the Virgin Mary dwelled the fullness of God bodily, the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit. No one else has ever enjoyed such a privileged. For the indwelling of the Blessed Trinity within the saints is spiritual in nature. This indwelling within the Virgin Mary was physical in nature. “Surely, from now on all generations will call Mary blessed; for the Mighty One has done great things for her, and Holy is His Name.” [Lk. 1:48b- 49]
3) THE EUCHARIST: During the institution of the Lord’s Supper, Jesus “took a loaf of bread, and gave it to His disciples, saying, ‘This is My Body, which is given for you. Do this in remembrance of Me.'” [Lk. 22:19] In the mystery of the Consecration of the Bread and Wine, they become the physical Body and Blood of Christ who remains with us today. As Jesus said when departing from this world, “And remember, I am with you always, to the end of the age.” [Mt. 28:20b] In the Holy Eucharist is manifested the fullness of the Blessed Trinity. As the Father and the Holy Spirit dwelled in Jesus while He walked the earth, the Father and the Holy Spirit dwell in Jesus in the Sacrament of the Holy Eucharist, the fullness of the Blessed Trinity being manifested bodily.
4) HOLY MASS: When the priest begins the celebration of the Holy Mass, he states, “In the Name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit.” And when the priest concludes the Holy Mass with a solemn blessing, he says, “May almighty God bless you, the Father, and the Son, and the Holy Spirit.” Here, and throughout many of the liturgical prayers of the Holy Mass, the fullness of the Trinity is mentioned over and over as an affirmation of our belief in the doctrine of the Holy Trinity.
5) BLESSINGS: The Holy Trinity is mentioned in both, the blessing of persons and of objects. The blessing of object may consist of Churches, Schools, homes, hospitals, farmland, animals and even sacramentals.
6) PRAYER: In many prayers, we find a reference to the Holy Trinity. A perfect example is the Church’s frequent mentioning of the prayer, “Glory be to the Father, and to the Son, and to the Holy Ghost.” This same prayer is said millions of times daily by all those who pray the Rosary on a daily basis.
7) MUSIC AND SINGING: The manifestation of the Trinity in the Christian’s life is not limited to prayer. It is also found in the words of countless songs that are sang and accompanied by spiritually uplifting music.
8) BAPTISM: The Holy Trinity is mentioned in the baptismal formula. The child or the adult is baptized in the Name of the Father, and the Son, and the Holy Spirit as commanded by Jesus. [Mt. 28:18]
9) LITURGY: In all of the Catholic liturgy, we find references to the presence of the Blessed Trinity, at Confirmations, during the administration of the Sacrament of Penance, the Anointing of the Sick, the Holy Orders and Matrimony, at funerals, at vigils, at the hours of adoration, and the list continued…
10) TRADITION: When studying the Church Tradition, in the Early and present day Church writings and Council documents, we find endless references to the Trinity.
11) CLERGY: When the priest administers the Sacraments, Jesus is also administering the Sacraments. The priest is but a visible servant of the Lord who is invisible, but present. When you receive the Holy Eucharist, you receive it from Jesus. When you confess you sins to the priest, you are confessing to Jesus. And when your sins are forgiven, it is Jesus who is forgiving your sins. Equally, as Jesus is present in the Sacraments of the Holy Eucharist and Confession, so are the Father and the Holy Spirit. Many of the saints were spiritually enriched by their knowledge of this truth.
12) BELIEVERS: And finally, since the Holy Spirit makes His indwelling in the believers who are in a state of grace, alongside we also find Jesus and the Father. For in the Holy Spirit dwells the fullness of the Godhead. The Father is in each and everyone of you. The Son is in each and everyone of you. And the Holy Spirit is in each and everyone of you.
As can be appreciated from all that has been said, the three Divine Persons of the Blessed Trinity deserve and receive co-equal glory and adoration in all phases of the Christian life.
Before continuing with the celebration of the Holy Mass, I ask that each and everyone of you take a few moments this week to reflect on the Presence of the Holy Trinity within you, in your life, in your home and within all those with who you come in contact. During that moment of reflection, ask yourselves, “How would I behave before ‘so and so’ if I saw before me God the Father, or Jesus, or the Holy Spirit?” And may the Blessed Trinity guide you all to embrace that behaviour, now and forever.