“In the name of the Father, and the Son, and the Holy Spirit.”
“Glory be to the Father, and to the Son, and to the Holy Spirit. As it was in the beginning is now and ever shall be, world without end.”
Today, the Solemnity of the Most Holy Trinity, these two prayers, the sign of the cross, and the doxology, are most appropriate. Though they may be short, simple, and well known the Truth they communicate is profound and foundational to the Christian faith, the Most Holy Trinity. The Catechism of the Catholic Church describes the Mystery of the Trinity as the “central mystery of Christian faith and life.”
Yet, it could be argued that in today’s modern era the significance of this “central” Mystery of Faith may be diminished due to its common acceptance and practice. Unlike the early Church of the 4th century which was embroiled in controversy and persecution in its defense of the doctrine of the Most Holy Trinity. At that time, Holy Mother Church was defending herself from the Arian heretical teaching that Jesus wasn’t God but a higher order of being. Though it took time, and more than just a few martyrs, eventually the church persevered, and the Doctrine of the Trinity was solidified.
In contrast, it could be argued that our modern-day automatic response in crossing ourselves and muttering the words, “In the name of the Father, and the Son, and the Holy Spirit” occurs with very little consideration for the Truth represented by these words and action. It might even be said, that by signing ourselves so absentmindedly, we are committing an injustice to the relationship of perfect love that is our Triune God. Especially, considering that our very existence and our salvation are dependent upon the love shared in, with, and by the Holy Trinity.
At risk of turning this homily into an RCIA teaching lesson, I want to remind everyone that our faith teaches there is one God. One true God. However, the concept of one God is not uniquely Christian. Muslims and Jews also believe in one God… and at risk of inciting a riot, Muslims, Jews, and Christians believe in the same God. Though, and I want to be clear, to attempt and draw further connections beyond that general statement, the waters will definitely get more than a bit muddy, and history has proven a bit bloody.
So… what makes our Christian belief in one God unique? Christianity is the only religion that proclaims, “God is love.” God is love… and the lover must have a beloved. Love requires relationship and God is a perfect love relationship with the Son and with the Holy Spirit. This relationship of perfect love, between love and the beloved, is the Blessed Trinity.
When we cross ourselves, “In the name of the Father, and the Son, and the Holy Spirit” we acknowledge this divine, intimate, and mysterious love. When we pray, “Glory be to the Father, and to the Son, and to the Holy Spirit as it was in the beginning is now and ever shall be, world without end” we pronounce the always and eternal existence of this divine, intimate, and mysterious love. When we profess our faith in the Mystery of the Trinity, we are not doing so blindly, rather we are celebrating the reality that God has revealed his divine, intimate, and mysterious love to us.
The mysteries of faith are not mysterious because they cannot be known. The mysteries of faith are so… because they can only be revealed to us by God.
Therefore, if the Mysteries of Faith can only be revealed by God. If God is love. If God the Father, God the Son, and God the Holy Spirit are in relationship in perfect love… then what are professing when we pray, “In the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit”?
We are professing that God is the creator and the holder of all things. We are professing that the life, passion, death, and resurrection of Jesus Christ grants us the forgiveness of sins and eternal life. We are professing that the gift of the Holy Spirit, given to the church on that glorious Pentecost day, empowers us to continue in the work of Jesus in the building of the Kingdom of God. We are professing that all of this is perfect and holy love.
Holy Mother Church, in her divine wisdom, has not called us together this day, this Solemnity of the Most Holy Trinity, that we may only reflect upon the Mystery of the Trinity. Rather, she has called us together this day so that we may manifest the Mystery of the Trinity in our lives. We are a people called by God to be like himself… a people of love.
So, I ask… how are our relationships? Are we manifesting this perfect and holy love in our marriages? Are we manifesting this perfect and holy love to our children? Are we manifesting this perfect and holy love to our parents, brothers & sisters, and family members? Are we manifesting this perfect and holy love to our friends, neighbors, coworkers, and employers? Are we manifesting this perfect and holy love when we drive down 17th Street at 5 in the afternoon?
When we cross ourselves and say the words, “In the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit” we are confessing our faith in one God, in three persons, in perfect love and we are inviting our God to make this moment… this time… this place… a holy and sacred moment, time, and place in love.
So… I invite you this morning to join together and pray, “In the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit.”
“Glory be to the Father, and to the Son, and to the Holy Spirit as it was in the beginning is now and ever shall be, world without end.”