Trinity Sunday Reflection: Picked by Fr Vic Arellano

Over thirty years ago, Karl Rahner, one of the finest Theologians of this century, lamented the fact that most Christians are “mere monotheists.” By that he meant this if the doctrine of the trinity were eliminated from the faith, then the bulk of popular Christian thinking, preaching, writing, and singing, and the mind set it reflects, would not have to be changed much at all. That’s still true. We do not pay much attention to the Trinity – to what it says or to what it means. We know we believe in God – the same God everybody believes in – and that, pretty much, is that. But it’s not that simple. We Christians do have a different and distinctive way of understanding God, one that sets us apart from everybody else. And even though the prayers, the Creeds, and most of the symbols we use in worship are thoroughly Trinitarian, the bulk of our thinking about God is not. So, since today is Trinity Sunday, the day we are called upon to pay special attention to the way God has been revealed in the Christian faith, we should consider the Trinity. Of course, God is a whole lot bigger than anything we can say or imagine, so all references to God will be both metaphorical and incomplete. At the same time, this vision of the Trinity of God is true, and it matters, and it makes a difference. There are two fundamental perspectives we can bring to the Trinity, to the doctrine that one God exists in three persons: the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit. On the one hand, the Trinity describes the way that we, as Christians, experience God. We know God as God is revealed in the person and life of Jesus – and this revelation happens by and through the Holy Spirit. That is, the Trinity speaks to how we discover and experience who God is. This is the perspective usually offered when preaching or talking about the Trinity. But there is more. The doctrine of the Trinity also talks about who God is, it talks about what God is really like inside.This is where the mystics and the Theologians sort of run together, and perhaps speak with more precision than poetry and awe. But let’s look for just a minute at what they say about God, borrowing some language from the third century. Once upon a time, way before the beginning of everything – not at the beginning, but before the beginning – God the Father, who is love and who must love Therefore, God the Father speaks his own name He says his own word . And God the Son is begotten – true God from true God, begotten not made, of one Being with the Father. The Son is the third person of the Trinity. Later, after the beginning, the Son will become incarnate from the Virgin Mary, and will be born as Jesus of Nazareth. The Son is what happens when the Father Expressed Himself, when the Father reaches out in His love. Now, the Son loves the Father, for the Son is the Father’s word, the Father’s self. And the Father loves the Son, totally and without reservation, and so the Father and the Son are bound together in love. This love, Which binds together the Father and the Son, is also real.This love is God the Holy Spirit – the Lord, the giver of life, who proceeds from the Father the Son. And the Son and the Spirit are of the same substance, the same stuff, as the Father, that’s the only stuff there is. In this way the Godhead is complete. Three persons, each distinct, each real, each from before the beginning, each and all are one God. The one-ness of God is discovered precisely in the free act of love by Which the three persons of the Trinity choose to give all to each other. This relationship is what makes God who God is. Put another way, what happens when God is the Father loves the Son in the Spirit. St. Augustine says this about the Trinity: “Now, love is of someone who loves, and something is loved with love. So then there are three: the lover, the beloved, and the love. “This relationship of love, God the Holy Trinity is the foundation, the bedrock of the universe, it is the heartbeat of all creation.