“For you did not receive a spirit of slavery to fall back into fear,
but you received a Spirit of adoption,
through whom we cry, "Abba, Father!"
The Spirit himself bears witness with our spirit
that we are children of God,
and if children, then heirs,
heirs of God and joint heirs with Christ...”
Each of us was baptized in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit. We remind ourselves of this sacramental reality every time we pray the Sign of the Cross: In the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit. Today, we celebrate the Solemnity of the Most Holy Trinity, liturgically commemorating this great mystery of our faith, that there is one God in three Persons.
The Catechism of the Catholic Church states, “The mystery of the Most Holy Trinity is the central mystery of Christian faith and life. It is the mystery of God in himself. It is therefore the source of all the other mysteries of faith, the light that enlightens them. It is the most fundamental and essential teaching in the ‘hierarchy of the truths of faith.’ The whole history of salvation is identical with the history of the way and the means by which the one true God, Father, Son and Holy Spirit, reveals himself...” (234).
Everything else flows from this revelation. We can not comprehend Jesus’s suffering, death, and resurrection without understanding the relationship of Father and Son; the Eucharist we celebrate, the source and summit of our faith, is only effected by the work of the Holy Spirit, sent by the Father and the Son; the unity of the Church with the Pope in Rome is only constituted as the body of Christ by the Holy Spirit to give glory to the Father. The mystery of the Trinity is the very pinnacle of God’s revelation.
There is one God. Unity exists fundamentally in what has been called substance, essence, or nature. Diversity exists within that unity through persons, eternally distinct in relationship to each other, but fully God in themselves. The Father is eternally the source of the Son, who is eternally begotten. The Father and Son are eternally the source of the Holy Spirit, who is eternally sent. This is the mystery of God in himself, eternally the same, eternally consubstantial. God, Father, Son, and Holy Spirit, is one. And God, Father, Son, and Holy Spirit, is love.
The Fathers of the Church spoke of this reality of God in himself as the subject of “theology.” The work of God in salvation history up to our current day, which reveals the reality of God in himself to us, was called “economy.” God’s inner life was only revealed fully to us through the incarnation of the Son. Who God most fully is was revealed through God’s action, and understanding who God most fully is gives meaning to all God’s actions. Distinct in relationship, Father, Son, and Holy Spirit are one. Distinct in relationship, each action of Father, Son, and Holy Spirit done on our behalf is done by all three Persons, as one. The very inner life of God is love, and every act of God for us is an act of love. Stemming from Trinitarian Love, God’s action for us “unfolds in the work of creation, the whole history of salvation after the fall, and the missions of the Son and the Spirit, which are continued in the mission of the Church” (257). In the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit. Amen.