Saturday, December 3, 2011

Questions on the Most Holy Trinity

A reader has asked some very good questions.  They may seem basic to some, but the more I pondered and began to suggest some reference materials to read for more precise answers, the more I realized the questioner and questions are a gift from the Divine Persons (Father, Son and Holy Spirit) encouraging me to study once again and more in depth.  The spiritual life is like a spiraling double helix, and we grow intertwined and spiraling in a direction with increased awareness and understanding.  This comes from graces at a spiritual level which can in practical means include outstanding writings to read and ponder.

The questions from the reader are as follows: Are you saying that you can approach the Trinity without Jesus? Is not Jesus our portal to the Trinity? How do you conceive of the Trinity? When you pray, who/what are you with?

The initial answer: Perhaps I will write more in depth on this topic, although my other readers understand the Trinity, so it might be redundant for them. If you have a Catechism of the Catholic Church or could borrow one from a parish, please read about the Trinity in sections 232-256 (approx.). You will find that Jesus is the Second Person of the Holy Trinity; the Father is the First Person, and the Holy Spirit is the Third Person. However, they are Three in One. All three Persons would be considered portals of prayer and interaction, yet each have more distinct functions. I can't say that any of the Persons are portals "to the Trinity," for they ARE the Trinity. 

Another good resource that is fairly complete and detailed is Msgr. Adolphe Tanquerey's The Spiritual Life: A Treatise on Ascetical and Mystical Theology. Tan publishes a paperbound copy, but online you may be able to purchase a used hardbound. The Blessed Trinity (Three Divine Persons) is detailed in sections 90-101. Specifically, when we pray, we are within the Trinity, which by grace draws us in by varying degrees dependent upon the state of our souls in any given moment. We are in prayer within the Three Divine Persons of the One Trinity: Father, Son and Holy Spirit. While brief, I hope this helps. I highly recommend the other reading, though. Every now and then I re-read from books I have here, as I feel it helps me always to keep learning. I really like Garrigou-Lagrange's writings. He has a couple volumes just on the Holy Trinity. There's much out there to read by proven theologians and makes learning more about the Faith a joy for us. 

Then, considering that yes, most of the readers with whom I am in contact privately do understand the Most Holy Trinity, some may not.  Indeed, suddenly I realized that His Real Presence is graciously offering me an opportunity here, to pick up again in another level and phase of life a renewed study of the Trinity.  Recently I've been reading the homilies of St. John of Avila, recently proclaimed Doctor of the Church, on the topic of the Holy Ghost.  But this morning I turn to the hermitage library room and pluck off the shelves, Pere Garrigou-Lagrange's The Trinity and God the Creator:  A Commentary on St. Thomas' Theological Summa, Ia, q. 27-119.

I will continue ancillary reading in books on the Holy Spirit, since personally in my own Protestant faith earlier years provided mostly learning about Jesus and God the Father.  I thank the questioner, for this is providing me with the next foci of personal learning and growth as well as perhaps some assistance to readers who may not have easy access to some of the books or time for studying the topicI will share, hopefully, simply and warmly, as between personable seekers of God, rather than in a scholarly tone.  I personally prefer personable!

These few words from The Catechism of the Catholic Church (while there is much more others may read on their own), are what I will ponder this morning while doing some hermitage tasks:

"The Faith of all Christians rests on the Trinity;" and, "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.'"  [232; 234]

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