My Dearest Brothers and Sisters, my Friends.
Today it is time to start again our thoughts based on the Truths of our Faith – now we will consider the THIRD MISTERY of FAITH: One God in Three Persons: God is one in Three Persons: Father, Son, Holy Spirit. I will try, counting on your prayers, to show what is most important in this truth of faith.
Known in many versions, from the Middle Ages, is the image of St. Augustine, who while walking on the seashore, observes how a small child carries water from the sea in scallop shells and pours it into a small hole. The surprised Bishop of Hippo asks him: “Is it possible for you to pour water from the sea into this small hole and fill it”. And the child replied: “I will be able to fill this hole with water sooner than you will be able to explain the mystery of the Holy Trinity.”
It is a legend that was created in the Middle Ages and was given by preachers and painters. This legend shows only one aspect of the mystery of the Holy Trinity and it is the one that clearly was emphasized by Saint Augustine in his great work “The Holy Trinity.” He insists that we talk about the Three Persons of God, not to say a little about them but then keep silent. This means that by touching the mystery of the Holy Trinity, we cannot say much about it, but we must not remain silent about it either. For the whole ocean of the riches of God’s life cannot be poured into the poor crust of human reasoning. Our reason has the capacity of a walnut shell; and no one can fit the boundlessness of the sea into such a small shell. There is only one way out; it is possible to build a boat out of this crust and sail on the sea, not to embrace it but to get to know it, because only this is possible.
St. Augustine wrote his treatise “On the Holy Trinity”, to call everyone to take up this mystery of God. Our reason cannot measure it, it cannot judge it, but it can admire it and get to know it, it can contemplate it. Reason will involve the heart, and the heart, thanks to love, can touch the mystery of God. The most perfect way of using human reason is to make the decision to wander into the world of God’s reality. And this is my invitation for all to reflect on, focusing on the third truth of faith. We will infuse the boundlessness of God’s mystery and let us know the mysteries of this truth as much as Revelation allows us to do so. But it is an invitation not so much mine, it is an invitation of God Himself, because He revealed to us a part of his secret.
In order to explain the mystery of the Holy Trinity, one must say that God is Love. And as Love, he must have qualities worthy of himself. It cannot be anything less than God, because if he loved something smaller than himself, His love would not be full. His love would be imperfect.
Imagine that man loves animals. If he loves only animals, he is spiritually stunted. Famous drama. A father had a horse which broke a leg and had to be taken to the slaughterhouse. Three days after this event, I spoke to the father’s son, who confessed to me: “It’s good, because my father loved that horse more than us and my mother.” After a week the next drama took place. Because the father of this family actually loved the horse more than his family, he committed suicide from the despair he had fallen into because he had lost his beloved animal. This father, was stunted spiritually, because he a loved a horse more than people.
Maturity of love is possible only when we love someone who represents the same dignity that we represent or when we love someone standing above us in this dignity. Of course, in the sense of the dignity of creation – that is, we humans were created in the image and likeness of God, that is, we can truly love, not by attachment, we have reason and free will, not instinct, through intelligence we can co-create this world, we have a creative gift (not from anything, like God, but from the material given to us), and finally it was the man in whom the spirit of God was breathed, that is, we have an immortal soul. God has no one higher than himself. If he was one person, He would have to love himself, but then he would be selfish. It is only in this context that Christ’s unveiling of the mystery of God’s life becomes understandable.
God is one, but there are Three Persons in Him. Who are these persons? The persons capable of true love. That is the Father and the Son, and the Holy Spirit. Each of these three of God’s Persons has all the attributes of God: omniscience, justice, goodness, eternity. Each of these three of God’s Persons has their own will, which, however, is perfectly harmonised in the act of love, so that it constitutes one will. Three Divine Persons live in perfect mutual love. And man created in the image and likeness of God is also a person; He is a person because he can love. We will enter this mystery of man only at the next truth of faith
What is needed to talk about the Holy Trinity?
First, faith is needed. If someone does not have at least a bit of faith, he cannot see anything from the mystery of the Holy Trinity. According to the logic of human reason, one will never equal three; So how is it possible that there is one God in Three Persons? It is only through faith that this mechanism can be discovered that transcends the logic of human reason and elevates God above mathematics.
Second, love is needed. Because God is love, only those who can “set out” on the ocean of God’s perfection, who can “swim”, means those who can love. It may be a mother’s love for a child, a husband for a wife, it may be the love of friends, but there must be in each of these relationships a little bit of true love. If there is no love, if a man did not experience it in his life and he never truly loved someone, he cannot enter into the mystery of the Triune God. I remember meeting a student who came from a broken family. He visited his friend for three days and came back completely different. He came into a house where he experienced love for the first time in his life. He met with reality that was unavailable to him. For the first time he saw a house where the family lived with love. From now on, he reads the Gospel completely differently, and he understands it much more deeply.
Third, the mystery of God is not transferable. Whoever experiences it himself is completely helpless to others, not being able to convey this wealth to them. This is something so great, so exalted and so overgrown by all human experiences, that by presenting this mystery, one can only operate with image or metaphor, and every image is miserable and imperfect;
Therefore, he who has experienced this divine secret is afraid to use it so as not to falsify the truth. Only mystics experience God fully. They come in direct contact with Him. The goal of the Christian religion is to experience the great adventure of meeting God. This is a wonderful experience, because it elevates man above all mundane reality. He does not detach him from it, but allows him to do all his earthly tasks perfectly, for He makes man free. Man becomes a resident of a completely new world.
Luckily, God himself used in the Revelation of the mystery of the Holy Trinity terms which are accessible to us. He reached for the family model. He revealed himself as a Father and as a Son. Based on this approach, we can say something about the mystery of the Holy Trinity.
With love, friendship and prayers – Fr Marcin