February 3, 2010

A Story of the Trinity

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Welcome to 101 Wednesday. To find out more about it click here or click on the image to go to Dawn Farias' blog. This week I would like to share a story about the Trinity. The Most Holy Trinity, yes, the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit, three in One God. God is a Trinity and is also a Mystery. I have also heard that the Trinity can be described like where you see one picture coming out of the other?

A story of the Trinity

The story is told in Christian lore of how the brilliant theologian and Doctor of the Church, St. Augustine of Hippo, used to ponder long and hard on the greatest mystery of the Christian faith: the Holy Trinity, as he tried to understand it.

Strolling along the seashore one day while pondering how there could be three Persons in one God, he noticed a small child seemingly at play on the beach. He watched how the child repeatedly scooped up water from the sea in a shell and carried it to a hole in the sand into which he emptied the water. Then returning to the water's edge, the child refilled the tank and repeated the process over and over. Curious, Augustine walked over and asked the boy what he was doing. Smiling up at him the son said, "I am emptying the sea into this hole." Amused at the child's naivete, Augustine replied, "Why, even if you spent your whole life at this task, child, you could never complete it. The sea is far too vast and profound to be contained in so small a hole!" The boy looked up solemnly at Augustine and said: "Yet I will complete this task before you can ever understand the Mystery on which you ponder" -and with that, the child vanished.


Augustine then realized that he was a messenger sent to him by God to point out the futility of his efforts to understand this Mystery. Trying to explain God's mysteries is a laughing matter no doubt about it. In Basil Krivoscheine's book on St Symeon, it says: "God is beyond names. He is Trinity, yet the One and its Unity cannot be expressed" (p. 284). And from St. Symeon himself:
Whatever multifarious names we call You, You are one being? This one being is a nature in three hypostases, one Godhead, one God is a single Trinity, not three beings. And yet the One is three according to hypostases. They are connatural, the one to the other according to nature, entirely of the same power, the same essence, united without confusion in a manner that surpasses our understanding. In turn, they are distinct, separated without separation, three in one and one in three (Hymn 45. 7-21).
The mystery of the Most Holy Trinity, its oneness combined with the distinct traits of each of the three persons and the relationship between them, is one of the greatest mysteries of the Christian Faith. However, the fact that the Trinity is such an unfathomable mystery should not make us shrink back from praising its marvels and avoid talking about it, although human language never will be able to express the beauty and immensity of the One but Triune. For the mystery of the Most Holy Trinity is so central to our faith that it stands above and sheds light upon all the other mysteries of faith. This has been pointed out again most clearly in The Catechism of the Catholic Church:
The mystery of the Most Holy Trinity is the central mystery of the Christian faith and life. It is the mystery of God in himself. It is therefore the source of all the other mysteries of faith, the light that enlightens them. It is the most fundamental and essential teaching in the "hierarchy of the truths of faith." The whole history of salvation is identical with the history of the way and the means by which the one true God, Father, Son, and Holy Spirit, reveals himself to men "and reconciles and unites with himself those who turn away from sin" 16 (CCC 234).

1 comment:

  1. I like that story! Thanks for sharing and playing along! I like your new template!

    ReplyDelete

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