TRINITY SUNDAY - SEPTEMBER 17, 1950
In God there are Three Divine Persons, really distinct, and equal in all things – the Father, the Son and the Holy Ghost.
This is the mystery of the Blessed Trinity. There are three Divine Persons in one God. Each is really distinct, three really separate persons. So, I cannot call the Father Son, or the Son the Holy Ghost or the Holy Ghost the Father or the Son. Each is distinct. Moreover, they are equal in all things. The Father is not older than the Son or the Holy Ghost. But each person existed from all eternity. The Father is not more powerful than the Son or the Holy Ghost, but each person is omnipotent and equal in all things.
The Father is God and the first Person of the Blessed Trinity. – The Father is God because His Son has told that He is. He is the first Person of the Blessed Trinity because the Son was begotten by the Father from all eternity. The Father is first, not in time, but because he begot the Son.
The Son is God and the second Person of the Blessed Trinity. If Jesus Christ is not God, then He is the greatest liar and the greatest impostor that world has ever known. But we know that He is God because He claimed to be God and proved that claim by His life and works. One day, near Caesarea, Jesus asked His disciples saying: "Who do men say that the Son of Man is?" But they said: Some John the Baptist, the others Elias, and others Jeremias or one of the prophets. Jesus said to them: "But whom do you say that I am?" Simon Peter answered and said: "Thou art Christ, the Son of the living God." And Jesus answering said to him: "Blessed art thou, Simon, son of Jona, because flesh and blood hath not revealed it to thee, but My Father Who is in heaven." Further, the Jews understood His claim to be God. On one occasion the Jews said to Him: "Thou are not yet fifty years old, and hast Thou seen Abraham?" Jesus said to them: "Amen, amen, I say to you, before Abraham was made, I am." It was because Jesus claimed to be God that the Jews put Him to death. Before He suffered and died he prayed to His heavenly Father: "Glorify Thou Me, O Father with Thyself, with the glory which I had, before the world, with Thee." Our Blessed Lord by his miracles proved that He was God. Indeed, His entire life was a manifestation of Divinity.
The Holy Ghost is God and the Third Person of the Blessed Trinity. What do we mean by the Blessed Trinity? By the Blessed Trinity I mean one God in Three Divine Persons. The Three Divine Persons are equal in all things. (If they were not equal they would cease to be God.) The Three Divine Persons are one and the same God, having one and the same Divine nature and substance. We cannot fully understand how the Three Divine Persons are one and the same God, because this is a mystery. A mystery is a truth which we cannot fully understand.
We may think about the mystery of the Blessed Trinity until doomsday, and we will never by able to understand it. If you asked me to explain it, I must say that it cannot be done. But while this mystery is beyond the power of human reason, it is not contrary to reason. It is simply completely above our powers of understanding. We do not hold that there is one God and three Gods at the same time. We say that there is one nature in God and Three Divine Persons. Nature and persons do not mean the same thing. It is a part of our human nature to have eyesight. But we do not blame our eyes for looking at something evil. No, we blame ourselves, we blame our person.
We are surrounded by mysteries and we understand nothing perfectly. Take the one of a million mysteries of nature, electricity. If all of the scientists in the world pooled their knowledge of electricity, they could not tell you what it is. Yet, we believe in electricity and we use it every day.
The Trinity is a mystery and truth of the Christian religion. It was unknown to the Jewish people before the time of Christ. Yet, there are traces of the teaching even in the Old Testament. In the first pages of the Bible, God said: "Let us make man to Our own image and likeness." Again, the prophet Isaias in a vision say the Angels adoring God, bowing before Him and unceasingly chanting: "Holy, Holy, Holy, Lord God of hosts." Writers and scholars cite this threefold exclamation of "Holy, Holy, Holy." as heralding the sublime mystery of the Trinity of Unity.
It is, of course taught many times by Our Lord. We hear His saying to the Apostles in His last instruction before ascending in to heaven: "go, therefore, teach ye all nations: baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost."