Notes on the Feast of The Most Holy Trinity

 “ I believe in God  , the Father Almighty “ .

The very first thing we learn  about God is that He is a Father and Almighty.  The false gods of the pagans needed to be placated and worshipped —no hint of fatherhood  or caring about them.

“ Maker of all things , visible  and invisible “

This is not a deduction from the world we can see,  though we should be able to   perceive  a creator from creation.  It is an act of faith, based on God’s Word.  It has been revealed to us by His Word. Without the Word we would still be looking at creation and wondering what it is all about.

“I believe  in one Lord……consubstantial with the Father”

The great heresy of Arianism denied the divinity of Christ, saying that he was created by the Father. That belief,  popular  and wide-spread, would have destroyed the nature of the Christian religion.  Some heretics as a kind of compromise  used the phrase “ of like substance to the Father “   The Catholic Church would have none of it,  and these phrases in the Creed make it abundantly clear.  The phrase “ consubstantial with the Father “  tells us he is of the same substance as the Father i.e.  divine from all eternity.   “ Begotten, not made “ Begotten from  all eternity, not made,  not a creature.

“By the Holy Spirit was incarnate of the Virgin Mary and became man  “

Another, later , heresy led by Nestor, bishop of Constantinople, taught that there were two persons in Christ, a divine person and a human person–2 persons, and 2 natures.  This also would change the nature of the Christian religion   Poor church having to ward off these heresies, all of them  contradicting each other.   The heretics refer to Our Lady as the Mother of Christ, not the Mother of God.  Once again, the Church  had to call on what had been handed down from the time of the Apostles, the only criterion of divine truth,  that she was  the Mother of God.

It is a person that acts, not a nature.  The divine person of the Word took flesh in the Virgin Mary. This was the tradition.  So she is the “God-Bearer “  or Mother.    It meant that the divine person, the Word, had two natures : a divine nature from all eternity, and a human nature from  the time of the Annunciation–each nature perfect and complete in its own right , not half and half  ( Council of Chalcedon 451– Pope  Leo 1 who wrote a letter to the council with this teaching) .   The Council of Ephesus  ( 431 )  ruled that  Our Lady is rightly called, as she always had been called,  the  Theotokos or  God- Bearer.  A mother  does not give birth to a nature–she gives birth to a person, and in this case a divine person;  a nature does not die on a  cross , a person  does, and in this case a divine person.   Hence the unequivocal phrase : was incarnate of the Virgin Mary.   We have the councils of Ephesus ( 431 ) and of Chalcedon ( 451 ),  to thank for this clarification .You may recall  the episode in the Acts of the Apostles when the Ephesians went around singing “ great is Diana of the Ephesians  “   After the Council of  Ephesus the Catholics processed round singing “ great is the Theotokos or Mother of God” .

“ I believe in the Holy Spirit, the Lord ….”

The word  ” Lord  “  is a divine title. He is the third person of the Blessed Trinity–of the same substance as the Father and the Son–otherwise He would not be God. The Fathers say  in the Old Testament when  there was a ”theophany “–i.e. a manifestation of God e.g . as with Moses, that the cloud was the Holy Spirit who was a sign of the presence of the Second Person, and yet hid him   from human  view. So when He became Incarnate, the Second Person was visible but it was the Spirit, himself hidden,  who made him known.  Today, in the Sacraments and in the  Word  we encounter the Second Person but it is  the Spirit who reveals him to us   The Spirit is the witness.

We pray to the Father : The Giver, source of everything and its goal.
To the Son, through whom the Father gives us everything earned by His obedience
To the Holy Spirit, the Gift, who includes everything.

The Catechism teaches:

“ The ultimate end of the divine economy is the entry of God’s creatures into  the perfect unity of the Blessed Trinity.

Even now we are called to be an indwelling for the Holy Spirit: “ If  a man loves me, says the Lord,  he will keep my word and my Father will love him, and we will come to him and make our abode with him. “

CCC .260

Now we know what it is all about, your destiny, and the destiny of all of us.

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