Just as there is a difference from knowing a person is poor and homeless and knowing a homeless person in the sense of knowing who they are and having a relationship with them, so it is with God. The Church teaches us that one does not need to have the gift of faith to know that God exists. One can look at a beautiful actor or actress, a great athlete, or a beautiful sunset over the beach to know that God exists. However, knowing that God exists and knowing who God is, is something quite different. Knowing who God is and loving God in the relationship of faith is at the heart of our Catholic Faith and at the heart of who we are as human persons, as male and female. This is what today’s Solemnity of the Holy Trinity is about – we as human persons entering into the life and relationship with the Three Divine Persons of the One Godhead and seeing how that relationship is inscribed into the very heart of who we are as human persons.
What is the Holy Trinity? It is at the heart of our Faith and is who the one true God is – a communion of persons in one God. That God, Father, Son and Holy Spirit, existed before time as a communion of persons, a relationship of love. We hear in our First Reading, (Prov 8:22-23) “The Lord possessed me, the beginning of his ways, the forerunner of his prodigies of long ago; from of old I was poured forth, at the first, before the earth.” God the Father pours out Himself in love before time began begetting God the Son, and God the Son, delighting in the Gift of love given to him by the Father, returns that same Gift of Love back to Him, from which the Holy Spirit proceeds forth.” Thus what’s at the Heart of God is a communion of persons, rooted in exchange of love that is free, total, faithful and fruitful. We see in the communion of persons of the Holy Trinity a mutual giving of self in love, a relationship of reciprocal gift. Saint John Paul II reminds us in the Theology of the Body that God the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit created the world out of love as gift, which is “an act of giving in which the gift comes into being precisely from nothing.” (TOB 13:3)
Jesus also speaks of this reality of “the gift” when he states (Jn16:13-15) “[the Holy Spirit] will take from what is mine and declare it to you. Everything that the Father has is mine; for this reason I told you that he will take from what is mine and declare it to you.” Jesus has told us has given us this same language of love at the Heart of the Trinity and bestowed it upon us twice, both in grace and in our bodies. Every human person, both male and female, is made in the image and likeness of God not only individually, but in the communion of persons. (cf. TOB 9:3) Our human nature, as “embodied spirits” serves as a window into the inner life of the Holy Trinity, which is love. This points to the simple truth that Jesus came into the world to reveal to us in His Passion, Death, and Resurrection and that His Church has proclaimed throughout the ages: God wants to espouse every aspect of us to His divinity including our bodies.
Where do we see this great mystery of the Holy Trinity most visibly in our world today? In Marriage and the Family. Married love between a man and a woman is a window into the inner life of the exchange of Divine Love that is the Trinity. From that married love between a man and a woman children are brought into the world. When that same married love is lived out in fidelity and grace, a husband and wife show their children, the rest of the church and the entire world the face of God – who is Father, Son and Holy Spirit.
We also see this same mystery in the Church, God’s family and bride, who weds our individual human nature, body and soul, to grace – the divine life of the Trinity in the Sacraments. This grace makes us Children of God in Baptism, setting us free from original sin. It restores that identity to us again in Holy Confession and points us to the ultimate consummation of that love in Heaven at the Wedding Feast of the Lamb, every time we receive the Holy Eucharist, the Body and Blood of Jesus. The fruit of this union is holiness, healing, and eternal life in Heaven.
God just does not want us to know about Him, He wants us to know Him, love Him in this life, and be eternally espoused to Him in the life of the world to come. He longs for us to be both Sons and Daughters of God the Father in Christ the Son through the grace of the Holy Spirit. He longs to be espoused to us in grace both in His Church in our lives in this world and eternally in the life of the world to come. He does not care where I have been or what I have done; all God asks is that I let Him into my heart. God the Father, the Son, and The Holy Spirit says “Behold, I stand at the door and knock. If anyone hears my voice and opens the door, [then] I will enter his house and dine with him, and he with me.” (Rev 3:20) So we pray that Jesus, in the Holy Eucharist we are about to receive, may draw us more deeply into the Divine Life and Love that is the Holy Trinity and that this divine love may bear fruit that leads to eternal life in all that we are as human persons, in our bodies and souls.
Father Matthew MacDonald was ordained a priest on May 24, 2014 for the Archdiocese of New York. He is currently serving as Parochial Vicar at the Church of Saint James the Apostle in Carmel, New York. Father MacDonald has a Bachelors of Arts in Philosophy from Franciscan University of Steubenville (May 2006), a Bachelors in Sacred Theology Magna Cum Laude from the Pontifical University of Saint Thomas (Angelicum) in Rome, and a Masters of Divinity and Masters of Arts in Theology from Saint Joseph’s Seminary (Dunwoodie), Yonkers, New York (May 2014).