Sunday, June 3, 2012

I Believe In The Trinity

Someone recently asked me, "Why do you believe in the Trinity?" I probably could have given a better answer, but in reflecting upon what I said, I think its not entirely off the mark. This is basically what I said, with a few amplifications and additions.

The Trinity is a mystery of faith, and to adhere fully to the Triune God is the work of grace and the gifts of faith, hope, and charity. I believe because I have been given these gifts by the God who wills to save me and bring me to Himself.

This means that I believe in the Trinity because Jesus has loved me. He has revealed the Father's love. He has poured out into my soul the Holy Spirit who is Love. And still, God is One being. God is One, but not "solitary." God is Love. The revelation of God as Infinite Love corresponds to the deepest needs of my humanity, even as it introduces something new into my life, something that draws me to my true destiny, to the reason for which I was created. It is not something that I made up, or ever could have dreamed. It has been revealed in history, and given to me in my life.

I don't just believe in an "idea" about God, fashioned by any human religious ingenuity. I believe because of the fact that God revealed the mysterious truth about Himself, and because this revelation is handed down in the Scriptures and in the tradition of the Catholic Church. Jesus manifested through His life, His miracles, His teaching, and above all by His death and resurrection that He truly brings the definitive revelation from God. He established the Church to continue His presence among us. These singular events in history have the testimony of credible witnesses and/or those who knew them.

It is true that other religions claim to possess the ultimate revelation from God. But other religious leaders have not given any evidence that the God who transcends all things is truly speaking His definitive and final "word" through them. Some of them are human beings who propose to have found a solution to humanity's ardent questions about life's ultimate meaning. They teach some beautiful and remarkable things, but they still express the human search for God; not the Divine "answer." Others, as in the unique history of the people of Israel, are prophets who are given something of the revelation of God, but not its fullness. They themselves testify that the fulfillment is to come from someone after them.

Then there are others who found new religions, and write new scriptures of their own. But they offer no real evidence that they speak for God. They show no evidence that they or their "revelations" represent the transcendent God's intervention in history. God does not back up their claims with any manifestation of His Divine authority.

Some religious leaders claim that the words they have written prove themselves. Their "holy book" is a "miracle in itself," or else there are no witnesses to testify to its miraculous origins. But why do people believe such claims, which can never be verified in any way by reason? I could write a book and claim that it is God's revelation, and if I built strong armies I could force others to accept it as revelation. Or I could develop a slick marketing strategy that manipulates people's hopes, and thereby con them into believing it. But I cannot raise a man from the dead! I cannot do "the works of the Father." Jesus did the "works of the Father" because He came from the Father.

Jesus showed His "divine" credentials. There has never been a man in history like Him. He manifested in Himself the power, the wisdom, and the love of God. When He says, "I and the Father are one" and "I will send you the Spirit from the Father," I believe Him. He has proven in history that He is the One sent by God. No other religious leader has ever been like Him. No one has ever claimed such a divine identity and also performed divine actions with such spontaneity and mastery over nature and the human heart. No one has possessed such a truly miraculous, "out-of-this-world" stature. Other religious leaders sometimes claim that the Christian story of Jesus is "corrupted" and that they have the "real" story about Jesus. But where is the evidence? They make assertions, but they ignore the fact that the Christian event has solid historical testimony. Jesus Christ was (and is) a real man. And no matter how much skepticism is heaped upon Him by scholars, He remains intact, unimaginable, luminous, and compelling. He does more than simply "bring" God's revelation; He is, in Himself, the revelation of God.

And what does He reveal? He reveals that He is the Only Son of the Father, eternally united with Him in the Holy Spirit. He reveals that God is Love, and that God wants to give Himself to me. What reason could I have to say "no" to Infinite Love?

Praise the Holy Trinity, Father, Son, and Holy Spirit, One God who is Love, now and forever. Amen!