Thursday, 8 November 2018

The Holy Trinity



One of the great mysteries of our Faith is the Holy Trinity. No matter how much we may scratch our heads, I doubt we’ll be able to understand it. Not that we are meant to, I suppose. This is because over the years we have treated the Holy Trinity as some sort of puzzle which we are meant to resolve, and once we do so, we gain a prize of some kind.

Let’s see if I can shed some light on this mystery.

For years on end in the Old Testament times people believed in one God. Leaders like Abraham, Moses and David believed in one living God; only one Person.

In those days, and thereafter, there were people who believed in many gods of course. The ancient Egyptians, the Romans, the Greeks, all had many gods.

So if God had revealed Himself to the Jews as three Persons in one, and assuming they understood this, (we don’t understand it ourselves now), then the pagans would have thought that the Jews believed in three gods.

Later on, at the times of the New Testament, the apostles, who were Jews, believed from childhood that there was only one Person in God. That’s what they had learnt from the writings of the Old Testament prophets and that’s what they experienced in their lives. They saw God’s hand in everything that happened. He was the God of Abraham, Moses and David. The God written about in history. The God up there in Heaven who gave them the moral law, (Commandments), and who created everything.

Then one day they met a Man named Jesus. For three years they lived with Him.

They saw that He spoke with authority and conviction, and all that He said made sense. They watched how He lived and the way He related to people.

He showed compassion for the sick, the destitute and those forgotten by society. He cared for the hungry and the poor and showed kindness for everybody.

When anyone was rude or insulting to Him, He did not answer back in anger.

He lived His life on a high moral plain but showed sympathy and understanding for those who were stained and scarred by sin.

He taught them about His Father who was God and that He was the Son of God. One day, when He asked them who they thought He was, Peter was quick to answer, “You are the Christ, the Son of the living God.”

They saw Him perform many miracles. They saw Him die and then alive again, and knew He had conquered death and the grave. Time and again they saw Him after the Resurrection, spoke with Him and ate with Him.

It was impossible for them to think or talk about God without thinking and talking about Jesus. They had come to know God their Father through His Son.

When Jesus was taken up to Heaven after the Resurrection the disciples were distraught. What are they to do now? Their Leader whom they saw and trusted all these years had gone. They were afraid, so they hid in houses secretly, wondering what to do next.

As promised, Jesus sent His Holy Spirit, the Comforter, upon them nine days later.

Their eyes were opened and they believed, and understood, that He was the Third Person of God.

To the early disciples, the Holy Spirit was real indeed. They had experienced the power of the Holy Spirit. They received Him at Pentecost in tongues of fire and they were able to speak to the crowds that gathered in different languages. Peter explained to the crowd that the disciples had received God's Holy Spirit.

The disciples, and early Christians, now knew for certain that the one and only living God they believed in, whom Abraham, Moses, and the prophets had spoken of, had sent His only Son Jesus to earth. Because they had met Jesus. They also knew that Jesus had sent His Holy Spirit upon them, because they had experienced the Holy Spirit.

To them this was all a reality. Something they had seen, experienced and understood. Not some sort of puzzle of three in one yet each one separate from the three. 

Because the disciples had experienced the Holy Spirit, He became such a force in their lives, giving them strength to spread the Good News that Jesus had taught them, enabling them to live as Jesus had lived.

It was they who handed on to us this mystery that in one God there are three Persons.

Today, many people don’t understand the Holy Spirit. Somehow, over the years the message has been diluted. Miss-understood. Or perhaps deliberately confused to obfuscate the message of Christianity.
 
But the Holy Spirit still can and does descend on people today. And He does transform their lives. If people believe, and if they ask and invite Him earnestly into their soul.

18 comments:

  1. Hmmm. Might have to read this over.

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    1. Please do, JoeH. Let me know what you think.

      God bless.

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  2. You explained it better than what I remember when I was young. I was confused then and still remember how I felt. At times it seems like a puzzle.
    Thank you, Victor and enjoy your evening.

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    1. It does seem like a puzzle because we like to complicate things, Bill. I remember Catechism lessons and having to learn things by heart and not understand them. It is so because the Church said so. You can imagine how I felt as a boy being told that.

      God bless you, my friend.

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  3. Yes, the Holy Spirit is very much at work in the world today. We need to be open to His presence and His voice.
    Blessings, Victor!

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    1. Indeed, Martha. The problem is that not many either believe in, or understand, the Holy Spirit.

      God bless you.

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  4. You explained the Trinity is such clarity. In teaching students about the Trinity, I compared this as a phone conversation, in which the Holy Spirit "connected" us to God and Son Jesus.

    I really enjoyed this. Will be back.

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    1. Hi Susan,

      It's great to see you visiting us here and taking the time to comment. Thank you. Please call again and soon.

      God bless you.

      Delete
  5. It is hard to explain the Trinity. I think you did a good job.

    "To the early disciples, the Holy Spirit was real indeed. They had experienced the power of the Holy Spirit. They received Him at Pentecost in tongues of fire and they were able to speak to the crowds that gathered in different languages. Peter explained to the crowd that the disciples had received God's Holy Spirit."

    So this is off subject a bit and may be a can of worms... Oh, well, if the Internet isn't for cans of worms, what is it for?

    What do you think of speaking in tongues today? I know you are Catholic and I honestly do not know how Catholics feel about it.

    My church accepts it.

    I have a friend from a quieter denomination who does not.

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    1. Hi Sandi,

      I smiled at your, "from a quieter denomination".

      Some Catholics do believe in speaking in tongues. Years ago I used to attend weekly prayer meetings where we would sit as a group praying together. Sometimes, in silent prayers, one or two individuals would "speak in tongues", including our priest at the time. He has since moved to another town.

      We would all be silent and you would hear him, and one or two others, just babbling incomprehensibly in a low voice for a minute or so. At first I did not know what was happening. It was explained to me that they were speaking in tongues - the Holy Spirit was praying through them. It was never explained in what language the Holy Spirit was praying. This happened several times over several weeks and was accepted by the rest of the group, (some 20 or or so people), as speaking in tongues.

      That particular priest was different from most people I met. He was always calm and serene, and never ever raised his voice. Always talking, and preaching, calmly with some confidence that other priests I knew seemed to lack.

      Although I have not met him for some years now, I still keep in touch by post or e-mail.

      So, to answer your question, some Catholics do believe in the ability of speaking in tongues, and indeed those three or four people "practiced" it.

      I don't think there is a set "Catholic" ruling/teaching on this - at least I don't know of it. But I have seen speaking in tongues practiced although I never did it.

      I believe the Holy Spirit is real. Certainly, the early disciples experienced Him in real life. To them this was not something they read about in a book, or heard speaking of. They experienced His power in real life. Just the same as if you and me met Jesus face to face one day and He spoke to us. We would tell others of our experience, but, would they believe us? And if they did, they would have experienced it second hand, through word of mouth from you and me. Not as real and as dramatic as you and me experiencing meeting Jesus.

      The same with speaking in tongues. The disciples experienced this at Pentecost, and at other times. The priest I speak of also experienced this.

      In summary, some Catholics, (including me), believe in speaking in tongues. Others don't believe.

      I hope I have answered fully. If not, please write again.

      Thanx and God bless you, Sandi.

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    2. Thank you, Victor! That was very good to read. :)

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    3. Thanx Sandi.

      God bless you always.

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  6. Victor, you presented this lesson so well!! Amen!

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