As Christians, everything we do, everything we are, is in the Name of the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit. As Christians we are Trinitarians, we believe in the Triune God, we live and move and have our being in the Triune God. And contrary to what one may hear on news broadcasts or history and religious programming, the God of Christians is not the God of Judaism or Islam. The Jews have chosen to reject the self-revelation of God in Jesus Christ and Muslims have chosen to ignore it. To say we worship the same God is to take the stance that God’s revealing of the true nature of the Godhead in the New Covenant is irrelevant. That we humans have the right to decide how God is to be worshipped, how God’s Being is to be described.
The reality of God as Three Persons in One divine nature, is a Mystery – it cannot be arrived at by reason alone. Only in relationship with God and God’s people do we come to knowledge of the Persons of God. It is not with the mind but with the heart that we know God. And it is in our hearts, as we live our Christian life, that the Trinity is revealed. We cannot expect to understand how God can be Three distinct Persons, but One undivided God, but we don’t need to. As Taoiseach Ivan likes to say, “A God I can understand won’t do me much good.” Which does not mean that God is irrational, or demands that we be blindly obedient. We are, however, to trust what God has revealed, and what Christ’s Holy Church has always and everywhere taught about the Nature of God. I say “always and everywhere taught” because that is Sacred Tradition. Sacred Tradition is the true mind and heart of the Church, and the Church’s teaching on the Trinity is summed up in the Nicene Creed. Outside of this, there has been a lot of heretical nonsense taught and believed and is still taught and believed. People who are trying to reduce a living Mystery of love to a formula, an equation, or a semantic trick.
In our Gospel lesson, Our Lord says to Nicodemus, “Whoever believes in the Son avoids condemnation, but whoever does not believe is already condemned for not believing in the Name of God’s only Son.” We can, I believe, in truth, extend this statement to the Holy Spirit as well. Since we cannot call Jesus Lord unless the Holy Spirit inspires us, if we reject the Son, we also reject the grace of the Spirit’s presence. We are condemned, not by God, but by our rejection of God’s self-revelation, God’s self-giving. If we reject what God has taught us about himself, then we reject any possibility of a relationship with God that is based on Truth, rather than on our fantasies about God.
To live in the Truth of the Trinity requires humility, an open-hearted trust and willingness to believe what can be known, but not defined or proven. The definition and proof of the Most Holy Trinity is love – the love that brought the universe into being and continues to hold it there. The love that was born, lived, died and rose for our healing and freedom. The love that pours out upon us constantly; leading, guiding, comforting and filling us with the fire of Truth.
As Christians our life in the Trinity is everything – and it is this life of love, freedom, wholeness and communion that we offer to the world. It is this life that is the hope, light and Salvation of the world. This life is the “Caim” – the Celtic idea of the encompassing, protecting presence of the Trinity which is our true home. Our journey of faith is a journey home, we are strangers and pilgrims in this world, lost until we are found and believe – “In the Name of the Sending Father, in the Name of the Pilgrim Son, in the Name of the Flowing Spirit, in the Name of the Three in One.”
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