A Shamrock. An egg. A simple musical chord. A tricycle.
All three in one. All ways of trying to understand the mystery we Catholics know as the Blessed Trinity. I often use the following example: My parishioners know me as Fr. Mike. My parents know me as their son, Mike. And my sister knows me as the Holy Terror, MIke! But praise God, there is only one of me.
The triune nature of our God far exceeds any example we can conjure up. These examples give us just a small insight into how 3 can be one.
The Blessed Trinity refers to the fact that God has revealed Himself to us as Father, Son and Holy Spirit, three persons, one God.
Some people like to think of the Trinity as Creator, Redeemer and Sanctifier. This distinction is insufficient, however. While it partially describes the functions God has in our lives, it misses the wonderful relational aspect of God's nature.
Our Catholic understanding is that God chooses to relate to His people. That we can know anything about God at all is because He chose to relate to us through Divine Revelation. The Old Testament is a chronicle of this ongoing revelation. Even in the Old Testament there are many references to what we now call the Trinity. God the Father of Abraham promised to send the Messiah who would reign with Power and Love.
When the Word became Flesh in Jesus Christ the Old Testament promise of a Messiah was fulfilled. When the Holy Spirit descended on the disciples, the Trinity was complete. All that was foretold about the nature of God was now fully revealed.
Much has been far more eloquently written about the Blessed Trintity than I could ever hope to write. Much of the writing is very inspirational. Some of it is rather technical. All of it is mystery. But I dare to say that this doctrine of the triune God is even more than has been written or will ever be written. It is far beyond our capcity to understand, yet is it so simple that a child with a shamrock can grasp it as deeply as St. Augustine or any modern theologian.
When the reading, studying, defining, and writing are all complete, this I know:
When we suffer, God our Father lovingly takes us in His strong, protecting and healing arms.
When we are abandoned, lost, mired in sin or friendless, God the Son, Jesus is there for us.
When hope is gone and life overwhelms, God, the Holy Spirit is there to empower and inspire us.
When we understand Scripture, experience Joy or grasp one of God's eternal truths, God the Holy Spirit has once again been a part of our lives.
When we abandon sinful ways, turn our lives around, or help someone in need, thank God the Son, Jesus because He is the One who has befriended you.
When you breathe, create something of beauty, or love another person unconditionally, be assured that it is God the Father who breathes, creates and loves, uniting Himself in your life and actions.
The Blessed Trinity~~ 3 for the price of one ~~ one for the Salvation of All.