All things were created through him and for him. He is before all things, and in him all things hold together. (Colossians 1:16-17)
Just before he ascended into heaven, Jesus gave his disciples the following instruction: “Go, therefore, and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, andof the holy Spirit.” To Catholics of the 21st century the doctrine of the Trinity may seem to be elementary theology. Yet, it took the church over 300 years to formulate this central doctrine, and it has faced its share of challenges over the centuries.
Today the Trinity is once more under attack, but perhaps less overtly than in other ages. Today’s attacks are more covert and subtle, which makes them all the more dangerous.
Scripture reveals to us and the church teaches that there is companionship within the one Divine nature. The Father, Son and Holy Spirit are distinct from one another in title and function, but they are not separate. Each person of the Holy Trinity knows with the same intellect and loves with the same will. The Trinity is perfect unity in perfect love with perfect knowledge.
The really revolutionary aspect of this teaching is that by being baptized into Christ the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, we are invited to participate fully in this eternal companionship. To paraphrase St. Paul, this is possible now only partially, dimly as in a mirror, but if we die united to Christ we too will experience forever perfect unity in perfect love with perfect knowledge. This is an amazing gift of grace.
The Catechism of the Catholic Church, section 260 says:
“The ultimate end of the whole divine economy is the entry of God’s creatures into the perfect unity of the Blessed Trinity. (Cf. Jn 17:21-23) But even now we are called to be a dwelling for the Most Holy Trinity: “If a man loves me”, says the Lord, ‘he will keep my word, and my Father will love him, and we will come to him, and make our home with him'”. (Jn 14:23)
St. Paul wrote in his letter to the Ephesians (4: 1-6):
“I, then, a prisoner for the Lord, urge you to live in a manner worthy of the call you have received, with all humility and gentleness, with patience, bearing with one another through love, striving to preserve the unity of the spirit through the bond of peace: one body and one Spirit, as you were also called to the one hope of your call; one Lord, one faith, one baptism; one God and Father of all, who is over all and through all and in all.”
While we cannot in this life fully understand or fully live the perfect unity of the Trinity, we are instructed to live in a manner worthy of the call we have received. Unity in this life matters. Community in this life matters. We are called to love as God loves. That is the very meaning of life. God is a community, a communion. Knowing this truth, do we have the right to say, “I don’t need organized religion to worship God”? Does God leave us this option? It does not make sense that he would say, “I live in perfect community and companionship, knowing as I am known and loving as I am loved, but it’s really not that important. Just do your own thing.” No, if you believe in the Trinity, you are called to live in community.
Colossians 1:15-20 tells us that Jesus is our access point to life in community. He it is in whom “all things hold together.” He came to offer us “Communion” so that we would not “fall apart”. This call to union and communion bears pondering, especially in our time.
The Trinity is under serious attack in the world today. Families are falling apart, societies and economies are crumbling, wars abound, individual rights are placed before the common good. The Body of Christ is being scourged as never before, often by those who bear the very name of Christ. As Brothers and Sisters in the community of the BSP, we must be vigilant about identifying the ways that we sin against the Trinity by sinning against unity. We must set a guard on our tongues and on our thoughts. The devil chortles with glee when someone within a community sins in this way. The inner life of hell is isolation and misery, his goal for all of us.
St. Thomas Aquinas said: “Where each one seeks his rights, there is chaos.” That was spoken in the 13th century! He goes on to say: “For the secret of the divine community is infinite giving.” That is what the inner life of the Trinity consists of—infinite giving. That is what we are called to in family, in community, in church, in the BSP. We should ask ourselves how we are living out this call to union and communion in every aspect of our lives.
Jesus says in John 17:26 “I made known to them your name and I will make it known, (so) that the love with which you loved me may be in them and I in them.”
This love that gives eternally is the love he wants us to have and to share. We are called to love as God loves. Believing in the Trinity should be life-changing. Living this unity through Jesus, our access point, is the only thing that can keep the world from falling apart. “In HIM all things hold together.”
This doctrine of the Trinity is not an optional teaching, but the Divine plan of God for us from all eternity, a sharing in his internal life now in a limited way, but perfectly for all eternity.
“O my God, Trinity whom I adore, help me forget myself entirely so to establish myself in you, unmovable and peaceful as if my soul were already in eternity. May nothing be able to trouble my peace or make me leave you, O my unchanging God, but may each minute bring me more deeply into your mystery! Grant my soul peace. Make it your heaven, your beloved dwelling and the place of your rest. May I never abandon you there, but may I be there, whole and entire, completely vigilant in my faith, entirely adoring, and wholly given over to your creative action.” —Bl. Elizabeth of the Trinity
The grace of our Lord Jesus Christ, the love of God and the fellowship of the Holy Spirit be with you all.