The Trinity is one of the two central dogmas of our Catholic faith, together with the Incarnation of God in Christ. (Historically, the dogma of the Trinity was developed after, and as an elaboration of, the belief that God took flesh in Christ (Incarnation). These dogmas are central, and have helped to protect the truth of our faith from being lost in various doctrinal disputes through the ages. For those who wish, I encourage you to read my brief essay on “The Trinity and the Magnolia Blossom” posted on our website in 2015. This essay is about as good as I can do at this time in trying to help you appreciate “the Trinity.”
The reality and mystery of God utterly surpasses human understanding. All of our symbols, terms, dogmas, doctrines fall short of the truth of God, and yet we need words, teachings, to communicate something about the One in whom we believe. The Catholic and Orthodox teaching on the Trinity is profound and highly developed, and anyone would be a fool to reject the teaching. Our teaching on the Trinity contains much wisdom, and pulls together centuries of genuine spiritual experiences. To be Catholic is to tap into the spiritual wisdom of human history, revealed by the Spirit, focused on God becoming flesh as Christ. At the same time, the “Trinity” instills humility, for it communicates to the faithful that God is beyond our grasp, even when we may be granted beautiful experiences of divine Presence. God beyond human understanding, and God present in and with Christ Jesus and the Spirit, is named “Father.” We are not literally offspring of God or a god, but the reality of God breathes life into our souls as we respond to God with loving faith. We are in God far more than God is in us. And in the Eucharist, it is not so much that we receive Christ into our bodies, hearts, minds, but that He receives us into the unexplored depths of divinity. In the words of Thomas Aquinas, “The lower is taken up into the higher.” We are being moved into the Divine abyss beyond all understanding. Trust is required, or we will cling to our egos and our various beliefs, rather than allow God the Spirit to draw us out into deeper waters.
Not in movement, but in stillness. Not in words, but in silence. Not in wordy prayers, but in the prayer of the heart longing for God. Not in many, but in One. Not in this or that, but in each, and none. Not in many beliefs, but in simple faith as trust. Not in many loves, but in love itself. Not in me, or in you, but in the eternal I AM.