Sunday, June 7, 2020

Feast of the Holy Trinity

Today's Trinity Sunday, so it's time to tear our gaze away from the two-bit Maoists  waging war on statues and everything else, and onto the nature of God. The true God who reveals himself to us as a trinity of persons in unity of substance.

I liked this excerpt from EL Mascall's Whatever Happened to the Human Mind?, via Domini Res Gestas:

 . . . the Trinity is not primarily a doctrine, any more than the incarnation is primarily a doctrine. There is a doctrine about the Trinity, as there are doctrines about many other facts of existence, but, if Christianity is true, the Trinity is not a doctrine; the Trinity is God. And the fact that God is Trinity—that in a profound and mysterious way there are three divine Persons, eternally united in one life of complete perfection and beatitude - is not a piece of gratuitous mystification, thrust by dictatorial clergymen down the throats of an unwilling, but helpless laity,  and therefore to be accepted, if at all, with reluctance and discontent. It is the secret of God’s most intimate life and being, into which in in his infinite love and generosity, he has admitted us, and it is therefore to be accepted with amazed and exultant gratitude.
The God whom the Christian Church proclaims is the fundamentally triune God, Father, Son, and Spirit, not a unitarian God to whom the trinitarian character is attached as a kind of secondary, or even optional and purely symbolical, appendage.
It is significant that the great ecumenical creed of Christendom cannot profess its belief in the One God without immediately identifying him with the Person of the Almighty Father, and going on from this to speak of the Son and the Spirit, who, while distinct as Persons, are consubstantial with him and derive their being from him.
If, then, the great tradition of Christendom is true, the personal God of unimaginable splendor, bliss, and love, upon whom the world and human beings depend for their existence from moment to moment, is not one solitary monad, but three Persons, united in one life of perfect mutual giving and receiving, a giving and receiving that is so complete that there is nothing to distinguish one from another except the ways in which each gives and receives; a life of sharing so perfect and intense that the most intimate of human unions bears only a remote and analogical comparison to it. And if we wish to acquire some faint understanding of the wonder and glory of the Christian God—who, we must remind ourselves, is the only God there is—we may well find the poets more helpful than the theologians. I have specially in mind Dante, in the final canto of the Divine Comedy, striving to put into words his vision of the triune Godhead, as it smote him in all its dazzling splendor, gathering into its one embrace all conceivable perfections and in its threefold mystery eternally flooding itself with love and satisfying in its mysterious unity every human desire:
That light doth so transform a man's whole bent
 That never to another sight or thought
Would he surrender, with his own consent:
For everything the will has ever sought
 Is gathered there, and there is every quest
Made perfect, which apart from it falls short.

Well said, Fr. Mascall!

In nomine,



Well Seasoned Fool said...

A better explanation than most I've heard. While not deeply into the subject, I was married to a first generation Norwegian Lutheran. Sat as an observer in several spirited arguments on the subject. Coward that I am, my contribution was, "Yes dear, you are right and they are wrong".

LL said...

Thank you for the sermon and as to the feast, there was no "cooking with LSP" here at the White Wolf Mine, so thanks for nothing ;^)

Now back to the riots and keeping family safe.

Adrienne said...

I really like that graphic you used. I admit to never giving the Trinity a lot of thought because it, in my mind, just is. Always was and always will be.

Unfortunately, I had to miss Mass since I injured my hamstring. Makes one grateful for the times when everything was in working order. I think you can understand that...

Dad of Six said...

Thank you for this LSP! It is so good to be back at Holy Mass again.

LSP said...

WSF, we must pick our battles wisely! I'm not always good at that but...

LSP said...

LL, is that a call for more cooking posts!?!

OK, I accept the challenge.

LSP said...

I definitely can, Adrienne, and hope you're better. My hip thing's pretty much worked out by now but it sure took a while. Moral -- don't get kicked off a horse and bust your femur. I tell you, gave me a lot more respect for people who "break their hip."

And I know, the Trinity "just is" -- God himself. But we do ourselves a disservice by not meditating on the mystery.An act of prayer, when you think of it. I think Sheed's chapter(s) are very helpful:

Have a look if you can.

LSP said...

Glad you're back, DOS!

We started up at Easter and no one's the worse for it, thank God. Perhaps stronger.

Adrienne said...

I've read some Sheed, but not this book. A copy is winging its way to me as we speak. I prefer actual books for this type of reading vs Kindle.