இந்த இணையதளத்திலுள்ள புத்தகங்கள் தங்களின் தனி பயன்பாட்டுக்கு மட்டுமே. வேறு தளங்களில் பகிர்வதற்கும், புத்தகமாக்குவதற்கும் அனுமதி இல்லை.

THE BLESSED TRINITY : THE GOD OF MYSTERY

"There are three who give testimony in heaven, the Father, the Word and the Holy Ghost.. And these Three are One" (1John.5:7).

A bright young boy named Anthony, traveling in a bus, raised his cap as he passed before a church in recognition  of Our Lord's presence in the Blessed Sacrament. Observing this, another passenger said: "I see you go to church. What do you learn there?"

"I have learnt the chief mysteries of religion," the boy replied.

"Mysteries! Don't you know, my boy, that we must never believe unless we understand? That's my principle, at any rate."

"Then," said Anthony, "tell me why your little finger moves when you stir it."

"It moves because I will it, and because the life that is in me makes it move."

"But why does it move?"

"Because I will it."

"Yet your ears won't move, when you will it. How is that?"

This ended the conversation, because Anthony was getting the better of the argument and won the applause of all the passengers.

My friends, every child lives in a world of mysteries. Every child hears and sees things  that he cannot understand. But the child accepts truths and explanations from his elders on faith. And, like little Anthony, we all go to church to learn the chief mysteries of our holy religion which God has revealed to us. There are three such mysteries in religion we call perfect mysteries, because no one could know them unless God Himself revealed them to us. They are the mysteries of the Holy Trinity, the Incarnation and the mystery of the Holy Eucharist. The greatest of all mysteries is that of the Holy Trinity. The reason is because the entire structure of our Christian religion is based upon the Holy Trinity. We shall proceed with the consideration of the mystery of the Holy Trinity today.

(O Jesus, assist us with Thy grace!)

To the human mind, God will always remain the God of mystery. What we know about God, we accept on faith, because of what God has revealed to us. Hence we begin the Apostles' Creed with the words: "I believe in God." In our series of instructions, we paused at these words to consider the essence, the attributes and knowledge of God. Immediately following these words, we find others added, namely: "I believe in God the Father Almighty." A little further on in the creed, we find still other additions such as: "I believe in God the Son. . . . I believe in God the Holy Ghost." "And," continues St. John, "these three are one" (1 John 5:1). Three names, yet one God! The mystery grows deeper. We call it the mystery of the Most Holy Trinity, namely, one God and Three Persons. I believe , because God has told me so. But if you were to ask me to explain this mystery further, I would be obliged to tell you: "It cannot be done." After all the many books I have read and studied on the subject, I arrive at the point where the wisest of men and the greatest of scholars must exclaim with St. Paul: "O the depth of the riches of the wisdom and of the knowledge of God! How incomprehensible are His judgments, and how unsearchable His ways!" (Rom.11:31-32).

St. Augustine, Bishop of Hippo in Africa, was the greatest scholar of his age, among the very greatest of all ages. He wrote a book on the Holy Trinity. Absorbed in deep meditation upon this mystery, he was one day walking along the seashore when he encountered a comely child at the water's edge. The boy had made a little hole in the sand, and was dipping water out of the sea with a small shell, pouring it into the hole.

The saint, pausing for a moment, asked him: "My child, what are you doing here?"

"I am going to empty the sea into that hole which I made in the sand."

"That is quite impossible," said the Saint, "Do you not see that the ocean is so great, and the hole  which you have made is so small?"

"So you think I cannot do it? But it would be easier for me to do this than for you to understand the mystery of the Holy Trinity."

Saying this, the  child disappeared. Apparently an Angel was sent by God to His servant to teach him how impossible it is for the human mind to fathom the infinite. And when we attempt to explain the mystery of the Holy Trinity, we can only say with St. Ambrose: "The voice is silent: nor only mine, but the voice of Angels."

The Trinity in the Old Testament.--However, in the light of divine revelation as we know it now, we can readily see how good God has been in making  known to us by degrees the mystery of the Holy Trinity. It would be a shock, and no doubt, injurious to the optical nerves of the eye, were we brought from a darkened room unto the glowing light of the noon-day sun. So, only by degree did God reveal His heavenly truths about the Trinity, beginning with the creation and ending shortly before Our Lord's Ascension from Mount Olivet.  We, being in possession of the clear and explicit revelations of the New Testament, can now better understand the veiled allusions to the Holy Trinity in the old Law.

When, on the first pages of the Bible, God said: "Let us make man to Our own image and likeness" (Gen.1:26), He already indicated some plurality. Still, the words, "Us" and "Our" do not prove the doctrine of a Triune God. And there was a reason for withholding the revelation of this mystery. God knew how fickle were even His own chosen people, the Jews, and how prone to the idolatry which their pagan neighbors universally practiced. You may recall the adoration of a golden calf by the Jews while Moses was communing with God on Mount Sinai. In their gropings for the supernatural and beguiled by Satan, men fashioned unto themselves many strange gods. Aware of this weakness of the Jewish people, God thundered into the ears of Moses the fact of the one true God by exclaiming: "I am who am," as His voice came forth from the fiery bush. And as a proof of His superiority over all other false gods and idols, God appeared to Moses as a God of mystery with a brilliance that forced to shield his eyes.

The most notable of Old Testament apparitions which prepared the way for a more detailed revelation of the Holy Trinity  upon the arrival of the Savior, was that vouchsafed to Abraham in the valley of Mambre. Here three young men appeared before him, all speaking in one voice. "And when he had lifted up his eyes, there appeared to him three men standing near him; and as soon as he saw them he ran to meet them from the door of his tent, and adored down to the ground. And he said; "Lord, if I have found favor in Thy sight, pass not away from Thy servant" (Gen.18:1-3). Abraham saw three and adored one. Again, the prophet Isaias in a vision saw the Angels adoring God, bowing before Him and unceasingly chanting: "Holy, holy, holy, the Lord God of Hosts" (Is.6:3). Writers and scholars cite this threefold exclamation of "holy, holy, holy," as heralding the sublime mystery of the Trinity in Unity.

The Trinity in the New Testament.--But, since the Old Testament was principally a preparation for the coming of the Messiah, it was but natural that we should expect more references to the Son of God, the Second Person of the Blessed Trinity, than to the Holy Ghost. It was left for Jesus to introduce the Third Person to us. So clearly had the Incarnation been foretold that the Jews were not surprised when Jesus appeared upon earth as the God-Man. Coming then to the New Testament, God is specific in His revelation when He sends the Angel Gabriel at the Annunciation to Mary, saying: "The Holy Ghost shall come upon thee, and the power of the Most High shall overshadow thee, and therefore also the Holy which shall be born of thee shall be called the Son of God" (Luke.1:35). Here, for the first time, God the Father reveals to mankind that there is a God the Son, and a God the Holy Ghost. And, says St. John, "These three are one" (1John.5:7).

After this memorable event, the Holy Trinity is repeatedly mentioned in the New Testament, either singly or collectively. Jesus says of Himself: "I and the Father are one" (John.10:30). St. Peter speaks of the Third Person when he addresses Ananias, the husband of Saphira, saying, "Why hast Satan tempted thy heart, that thou should lie to the Holy Ghost? . . . . Thou hast not lied to me, but to God" (Acts. 5:3-4). The three Persons are mentioned, collectively, for example, when Jesus was baptized, and St. John the Baptist saw "the heavens were opened to him and he saw the Spirit of God descending as a dove and coming upon Him, and behold  a voice from heaven, saying: "This is My Beloved Son in Whom I am well pleased' '' (Matt.3:16). Here we have the voice of God the Father, the apparition of the Holy Ghost in the form of a dove, and God the Son being baptized by John.  St. Thomas points to the Transfiguration on Mount Tabor as another manifestation of the Blessed Trinity. There stood the Son of Man, Jesus, surrounded by the Holy Spirit in the form of a bright light, and the voice of the Father exclaimed: "This is My Beloved Son, in Whom I am well pleased. Hear ye Him" (Matt.17:1). Lest this vision be misunderstood by the others, Jesus commanded His Apostles Peter, James and John: "Tell the vision to no man, till the Son of Man be risen from the dead.

Then, as Jesus was about to take leave of His disciples after the Last supper, He said to them: "I will ask the Father, and He shall send you another Paraclete, that He may abide with you for ever, the Spirit of truth Whom the world cannot receive" (John. 14:16). This Spirit of truth came in the form of fiery  tongues on Pentecost. Again after the Resurrection, having completed His mission as Redeemer, having instructed His disciples fully as to the future mission and teachings, Jesus gave His final command just before His Ascension back into His heavenly home: "going, therefore, teach ye all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost" (Matt.28:19). 

The force of the words, "in the Name of," becomes more clear when we understand the Greek expression, "eis to onoma," which signifies, in the original language of that term, equality of the Three Divine Persons. From these and numerous other texts, there can be no doubt as to the meaning which God wishes to convey. The meaning, as the Church teaches, is this: that there is one God and three Divine Persons, the Father, the Son and the Holy Ghost.  All three are God from all eternity, the Son proceeding from the Father and the Holy Ghost proceeding from the Father and the Son.

Doctrine Not Contrary to Reason.--It is true, says St. Thomas, that man by his reason alone, unaided by divine revelation, could never have come to the knowledge of the Blessed Trinity. But while it is beyond the power of human reason, it is not contrary to reason. We do not hold that there is one God and three Gods at the same time. No, but we say that there is one nature in God and three Divine Persons. Nature and person do not mean the same thing. By the word nature, we mean the essence of a thing which makes it what it is. It is the nature of a fish to swim, of a bird to fly, of a reptile to crawl. The nature of man is made up of a material and a spiritual substance. The Angels are purely spiritual. And God is the Supreme Spirit.  

A person, on the other hand, is a distinct individual substance of a rational nature. The personality in man reposes mainly in the soul. The intellect can think, reason, will and remember without any movement of the body whatsoever. Yet, neither the soul alone, nor the body alone, could be called a person, because by nature, the two are united. The Angels, on the other hand, being pure spirits, have a rational nature, and therefore are also persons. But already the realm of pure spirits, the Angelic realm, brings us into a world superior to that of man. However, God being the Supreme Pure Spirit, must necessarily also have a personality. But to penetrate the veil of the Most Holy Trinity, we shall not even attempt. For, says the Wise Man: "He that is a searcher of majesty shall be overwhelmed by glory" (Prov.25:27).

Revelation in the Blessed Trinity.--Reason, therefore, stops where revelation begins. And God has revealed that God the Father is different from God the Son; and that God the Holy Ghost is different from both the Father and the Son; yet, all three have one and the same divine nature. No one who believes in a God denies that the nature of God the Father is divine. Jesus, the Second Person of the Blessed Trinity, proved that His nature was both human and divine--divine through His prophecies and His miracles, especially through the miracle of His Resurrection which He frequently foretold as a proof of His Divinity. He Himself said: "I and the Father are one" (John.10:30). St. John mentions the Holy Ghost with the Father and the Son, and adds: "These Three are one" (1John. 5:7). The Holy Ghost proved His Divinity on Pentecost when He transformed in an instant the timid Apostles into enlightened and fearless defenders of the Christian religion, amongst whose dogmas was the mystery of the Holy Trinity. And the Holy Spirit continues to prove His Divinity through His divine guidance of the Church through the centuries, and by His constant communication of divine love through grace to the world. 

And while we ascribe the work of creation to God the Father, our redemption to God the Son, and our sanctification to God the Holy Ghost; yet, since all three are one and the same God, we must hold and believe that all three Divine Persons existed from all eternity, and all three concomitantly or together participated alike in the work of creation, redemption and sanctification. But because these three correspond to the peculiarity, or individuality, of the three Divine Persons, we attribute the work of creation to God the Father as the source of all power; the redemption, being especially a work of wisdom, is attributed particularly to God the Son, because He is the fruit of the knowledge and wisdom of the Father; sanctification, being particularly a work of love, is attributed to God the Holy Ghost, because He proceeds from the mutual love of the Father and of the Son.

Still a Mystery.--But just how all this possible, my friends, is beyond our limited intellects to comprehend. It is a mystery that transcends the powers of man. How can we empty the vast ocean into a little pond? How dare we even attempt to fathom the depth of the mysteries of God? Speaking of the Holy Trinity, St. Bonaventure says: "To scrutinize this mystery out of curiosity is temerity; to believe it, is piety; to know it, is eternal life." All we can do then, is to gain some imperfect knowledge of the Blessed Trinity by making comparisons with some visible things in nature we see about us. For example, we say that the Son proceeds from the Father, and the Holy Ghost from the Father and the Son; and yet, all three are coequal and coexistent from all eternity. 

Let us compare these three Divine Persons with an idea we conceive in our mind. Let us call the idea the Father. To express this idea, we need words which proceed from the idea. Compare these words to God the Son, Whom St. John calls the "Word made flesh." To express our words, we need spiration, which naturally proceeds from the idea and the words. Compare our spiration in expressing the word and the idea to God the Holy Ghost, or the Holy Spirit. The idea suggest the Father; the word, the Son (the Word made flesh); the spiration, the Holy Spirit.

Or take the example of ourselves. We are made up of body and soul, spiritual and material substances.  In the soul, we find our intellect--one intellect with a threefold faculty of understanding, memory and will. In every object, we find three dimensions, length, breadth and thickness. Electricity on one wire gives light, heat and power. Take three tapers and light them. Separate them, and you have three; join them, and you have but one light. St. Patrick used the three leafed shamrock to demonstrate the Trinity, one God and three Divine Persons. And so we could go on at length and mention objects like the radio, victrola, player-piano, and numerous others, all of which might be called mysteries in the natural order of things.

Hence, unlike rationalists, simply  because I do not understand everything about God, or the Blessed Trinity, do not say: "I will not believe." No. But rather, just because I do not understand everything about the Blessed Trinity, or for that matter, any other supernatural truth, that is exactly the reason why I do believe. If I could understand everything about my relations between God and myself, which we call religion, I would be tempted to believe that it was a man-made religion, not exceeding the mental powers of man. "A religion without a mystery is no religion."

Conclusion.-- Truly, my friends, to do away with belief in the mystery of the Holy Trinity would be to put to naught all that Jesus Christ came down to earth to save by His Passion, Death and Resurrection. We would rapidly drift back into the same conditions that prevailed before the coming of Christ. when, as St. Paul tells us, man, the noblest of God's creatures, endowed with intellect and free will, debased these God-given faculties and became worse than the beast, worshiping his own passions. Do we not see that the same tendency in our own day?

There are many living today who are just like the infidel who rode in the bus with the little boy. They cry out: "We believe in no mysteries! We believe in nothing that we do not understand!" But they mean to apply these words only to things divine, to things spiritual. yes, many men of influence, many who occupy chairs in our higher institutions of learning, speak in this manner. It means nothing more than a denial of God, a denial of the Holy Trinity, the very foundation of all revealed truths.

And what is the result? Supreme Judge Ole Stolen, in one of the Western States of America, a few years ago openly deplored the lack of all morality and religion in a certain university. The beastly murder  a few years back of a mere boy named Glenn Frank committed in Chicago by two other students. Loeb and Leopold ,is an example of what such schools produce. Dorothy Ellington, a sixteen year old girl of San Francisco, shot her own mother in 1925 because her mother objected to her staying out late at nights with strange men.  All these prove one thing, namely: once we deny the mystery of the Blessed Trinity, morality  declines, the ties of human society weaken, and man rapidly drifts once more towards the sad conditions of early paganism. Destroy the belief in the Holy Trinity, drive God from your hearts through the sin of infidelity and immediately another trinity enters, the trinity of the evil one; the concupiscence of the eye, the concupiscence of the flesh, and the pride of life take possession of the soul.  It is true that many revealed truths, including the mystery of the Holy Trinity, remain obscure in our understanding them. As St. Paul tells us, we see them as through a smoked glass, in a dark manner. But he also assures us that in heaven, we shall see the Triune God face to face, as He really is, with all His glory and beauty. "Neither eye hath seen, nor eye heard, nor hath it entered into the hearts of man what God hath prepared for those that love Him" (1 Cor. 2:9).  Amen.