By Father Rich Tomkosky
At every Mass, we begin with the greeting, “The grace of the Lord Jesus Christ, and the love of God, and the communion of the Holy Spirit be with you all.” That is taken directly from Saint Paul’s letter to the Corinthians. It reminds us that everything we do as Christians is focused on the Blessed Trinity, of the three divine persons in one God, an eternal community of love and life and goodness.
As we hear in the Catechism of the Catholic Church, “The mystery of the Most Holy Trinity is the central mystery of Christian faith and life. …The whole history of salvation is identical with the history of the way and means by which the one true God: Father, Son, and Holy Spirit reveals himself to man and reconciles and unites with himself those who have turned away from sin” (paragraph 234). Our belief in the Blessed Trinity is the foundational teaching of our Catholic faith, meaning that everything else we believe about God and how we are to live is based on this truth. The revelation of the Trinity during the course of salvation history is a gift from God because with our human mind we would never realize that there are three united but distinct persons, Father, Son, and Holy Spirit, in the mystery of the one eternal God who we believe in and love from the depths of our hearts and minds.
Do we realize what a gift this is to come to know the Trinity? One major thing that can hold us back is a false image of the Trinity. What is our image of God? Do we see God as a harsh lawgiver — which is a false understanding of God’s justice — or as a God who is okay with everything that goes on in our world — which is a false understanding of God’s mercy? Or do we see Him for who He is: all just and all merciful — the eternal Holy God of self-giving love, freeing truth, and authentic goodness who we are called to reflect in our own thoughts, words and actions? We know by Revelation that each of the persons of the Trinity is particularly tied to one aspect of salvation history, even though all three are always working together.
God the Father is associated in a particular way with the creation of the universe. God the Son, who became one of us in the person of Jesus Christ, is associated in a particular way with the redemption of the human race that had fallen into sin in the course of time. And finally, God the Holy Spirit is associated with the sanctification of the human race by grace, which we can all share in by our free will.
All of us are called to have a living personal relationship with the Blessed Trinity. This is a divine call to each of us as individuals, a call to responsibility and accountability in our human freedom. How do we practically enter into this living relationship with the Blessed Trinity?
1. By daily prayer – humbly and persistently asking each of the persons of the Trinity to draw us, into their eternal life of self-giving love with the Divine Indwelling.
2. Do we love God in true humility, in our heart, mind and will? We show this by how we live. Are we open to changing our patterns of behavior to better reflect God’s holy teachings made known to us through our Catholic faith?
3. Do we confess our sins on a regular basis in the Sacrament of Confession to receive the blessed Trinity’s forgiveness and healing, for damaging or destroying the love They call us to live and show to others in this world? Remember sin is the only thing that can keep us from the Blessed Trinity’s embrace of true love, which our human hearts need since we were created for it.
4. By always striving to stay in the state of grace, which means to be in God’s friendship by avoiding serious sin, learning what serious sin is, so as to avoid it at all cost.
5. If we are able to receive Holy Communion, which assumes being in the state of grace, then to do it always with great reverence, in a spirit of gratitude, because when we receive the Body and Blood of Jesus, the eternal Son of God made man, we also mysteriously receive the Father and the Holy Spirit, as the three persons of the Trinity can never be separated in their love.
What a gift! Do we realize it? Never fully in this life, but hopefully more profoundly over time since the gift of Communion with the Blessed Trinity, in Sacrament and daily life, in this passing world is to lead to the fullness of life and love in the next world, which is what we call the Beatific Vision.
Father, Son and Holy Spirit, O’ Blessed Trinity, have mercy on us weak sinners, and help us to love You more deeply each day, to see your image in other ppl and to love them as well. May You always lead us on the narrow path that leads to Your Heavenly Dwelling Place to live with You forever in perfect communion, peace, and joy. God bless you.
Father Rich Tomkosky is the Pastor of Saint Thomas the Apostle Parish in Bedford and the Pastor of Seven Dolors of the Blessed Virgin Mary Parish in Beans Cove.