"You see the revolving circle of the glory moving from Like to Like. The Son is glorified by the Spirit; the Father is glorified by the Son; again the Son has His glory from the Father; and the Only-begotten thus becomes the glory of the Spirit. For with what shall the Father be glorified, but with the true glory of the Son: and with what again shall the Son be glorified, but with the majesty of the Spirit? In like manner, again, Faith completes the circle, and glorifies the Son by means of the Spirit, and the Father by means of the Son" (St. Gregory of Nyssa).
Solemnity of the Holy Trinity, or “Trinity Sunday”—a day in which we contemplate and celebrate the most profound mystery of our faith: the Blessed threefold unity of our Lord. God the Father, God the Son, and God the Holy Spirit are one God, albeit in three persons.
She replied, “I am trying to empty the sea into this hole.”
“How do you think,” Augustine asked her, “that you can empty this immense sea into this tiny hole and with this tiny cup?”
She answered back, “And you, how do you suppose that with your small head you can comprehend the immensity of God?” With that the child disappeared.
Dear Brothers and Sisters,
1. "O superessential Trinity, infinitely divine and good, guardian of the divine wisdom of Christians, lead us beyond all light and everything unknown to the highest summit of the mystical Scriptures, where the simple, absolute and imperishable mysteries of theology are revealed in the luminous darkness of silence". With this prayer of Dionysius the Areopagite, an Eastern theologian (Theologia mystica, I, 1), we begin a difficult but fascinating journey of contemplating the mystery of God. After having reflected in the past few years on each of the three divine persons — the Son, the Spirit and the Father — in this Jubilee Year we intend to take a comprehensive look at the glory common to the Three who are one God "not in the unity of a single person but in the Trinity of one substance" (Preface for the Solemnity of the Holy Trinity). This choice corresponds to what was suggested in the Apostolic Letter Tertio millennio adveniente, which said that during the celebration phase of the Great Jubilee the aim would be "to give glory to the Trinity, from whom everything in the world and in history comes and to whom everything returns" (n. 55).
2. Taking our inspiration from an image offered by the Book of Revelation (cf. 22: 1), we could compare this journey to a pilgrimage along the banks of God's river, that is, of his presence and revelation in human history.
As a brief sketch of this journey, today we will dwell on the two extremities of that river: its source and its mouth, joining them in a single horizon. The divine Trinity, in fact, is at the very origins of existence and history and is present in their final goal. It constitutes the beginning and the end of salvation history. Between the two extremities, the garden of Eden (cf. Gn 2) and the tree of life in the heavenly Jerusalem (cf. Rv 22), flows a long history marked by darkness and light, by sin and grace. Sin has separated us from the splendour of God's paradise; redemption brings us back to the glory of a new heaven and a new earth, where "death shall be no more, neither shall there be mourning nor crying nor pain any more" (ibid., 21: 4).
3. An initial view of this horizon is offered by the first page of Sacred Scripture, which indicates the moment when God's creative power makes the world out of nothing: "In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth" (Gn 1: 1). This view is deepened in the New Testament, going back to the very heart of the divine life, when John proclaims at the beginning of his Gospel: "In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God" (Jn 1: 1). Before creation and as its foundation, revelation has us contemplate the mystery of the one God in the trinity of persons: the Father and his Word united in the Spirit.
The biblical author who wrote the creation text could not have suspected the depths of this mystery. Even less could mere philosophical reflection have attained it, since the Trinity is beyond the capacities of our understanding and can only be known through revelation.
Nevertheless, this mystery which infinitely transcends us is also the reality closest to us, because it is the very source of our being. For in God we "live and move and have our being" (Acts 17: 28), and what St Augustine says of God must be applied to all three divine persons: he is "intimior intimo meo" (Conf., 3, 6, 11). In the depths of our being, where not even our gaze can penetrate, the Father, Son and Holy Spirit, one God in three persons, are present through grace. Far from being a dry intellectual truth, the mystery of the Trinity is the life that dwells in us and sustains us.
4. Our reflection in this Jubilee Year will take its themes from this Trinitarian life, which precedes and grounds creation. The mystery of the origins from which all things flow, God appears to us as the One who is the fullness of being and communicates being, as the light that "enlightens every man" (cf. Jn 1: 9), as the Living One and giver of life. He appears to us above all as Love, according to the beautiful definition in the First Letter of John (cf. 1 Jn 4: 8). He is love in his inner life, where the Trinitarian dynamism is the very expression of the eternal love with which the Father begets the Son and both give themselves to each other in the Holy Spirit. He is love in his relationship to the world, since the free decision to make it out of nothing is the fruit of this infinite love which radiates into the sphere of creation. If the eyes of our heart, enlightened by revelation, become pure and penetrating enough, they can by faith encounter this mystery in which everything that exists has its root and foundation.
5. But as we mentioned at the beginning, the mystery of the Trinity also lies before us as the goal to which history is directed, as the homeland for which we long. Our reflection on the Trinity, in the various realms of creation and history, will look at this goal, which the Book of Revelation very powerfully points to as the seal of history.
This is the second and final part of God's river, which we referred to a few moments ago. In the heavenly Jerusalem the beginning and the end reconverge. For God the Father, who sits on the throne, appears and says: "Behold, I make all things new" (Rv 21: 5). At his side is the Lamb, i.e., Christ, on his throne, with his light, with the book of life containing the names of the redeemed (cf. ibid., 21: 23, 27; 22: 1, 3). And see: at the end, in a gentle and intense dialogue, the Spirit who prays in us and with the Church, the Bride of the Lamb, says: "Come, Lord Jesus" (cf. ibid., 22: 17, 20).
At the end of this first sketch of our long pilgrimage into the mystery of God, let us return then to the prayer of Dionysius the Areopagite, who reminds us of the need for contemplation: "It is really in silence that we learn the secrets of this darkness ... which shines with dazzling light.... While remaining completely intangible and invisible, it fills minds that know how to close their eyes with the most beautiful splendours" (Theologia mystica, I, 1).
Saint John Damascene wrote of the Holy Trinity:
We believe in Father and Son and Holy Ghost;
one Godhead in three hypostases;
one will, one operation, alike in three persons;
wisdom incorporeal, uncreated, immortal, incomprehensible,
without beginning, unmoved, unaffected, without quantity,
without quality, ineffable, immutable, unchangeable, uncontained,
equal in glory, equal in power, equal in majesty, equal in might, equal in nature,
exceedingly substantial, exceedingly good,
thrice radiant, thrice bright, thrice brilliant.
Light is the Father, Light the Son, Light the Holy Ghost;
Wisdom the Father, Wisdom the Son, Wisdom the Holy Ghost;
one God and not three Gods;
one Lord the Holy Trinity discovered in three hypostases.
Father is the Father, and unbegotten;
Son is the Son, begotten and not unbegotten, for He is from the Father;
Holy Ghost, not begotten but proceeding, for He is from the Father.
There is nothing created, nothing of the first and second order, nothing lord and servant;
but there is unity and trinity
- there was, there is, and there shall be forever -
which is perceived and adored by faith -
by faith, not by inquiry, nor by searching out, nor by visible manifestation;
for the more He is sought out, the more He is unknown, and the more He is investigated, the more He is hidden.
And so, let the faithful adore God with a mind that is not overcurious. And believe that He is God in three hypostases, although the manner in which He is so is beyond manner, for God is incomprehensible. Do not ask how the Trinity is Trinity, for the Trinity is inscrutable.
But, if you are curious about God, first tell me of yourself and the things that pertain to you. How does your soul have existence? How is your mind set in motion? How do you produce your mental concepts? How is it that you are both mortal and immortal? But, if you are ignorant of these things which are within you, then why do you not shudder at the thought of investigating the sublime things of heaven?
Think of the Father as a spring of life begetting the Son like a river and the Holy Ghost like a sea, for the spring and the river and sea are all one nature.
Think of the Father as a root, and of the Son as a branch, and the Spirit as a fruit, for the substance in these three is one.
The Father is a sun with the Son as rays and the Holy Ghost as heat.
The Holy Trinity transcends by far every similitude and figure. So, when you hear of an offspring of the Father, do not think of a corporeal offspring. And when you hear that there is a Word, do not suppose Him to be a corporeal word. And when you hear of the Spirit of God, do not think of wind and breath. Rather, hold you persuasion with a simple faith alone. For the concept of the Creator is arrived at by analogy from His creatures.
Be persuaded, moreover, that the incarnate dispensation of the Son of God was begotten ineffably without seed of the blessed Virgin, believing Him to be without confusion and without change both God and man, who for your sake worked all the dispensation. And to Him by good works give worship and adoration, and venerate and revere the most holy Mother of God and ever-virgin Mary as true Mother of God, and all the saints as His attendants.
Doing thus, you will be a right worshiper of the holy and undivided Trinity, Father and Son and Holy Ghost, of the one Godhead, to whom be glory and honor and adoration forever and ever. Amen.
Glory be to the Father,
Who by His almighty power and love created me,
making me in the image and likeness of God.
Glory be to the Son,
Who by His Precious Blood delivered me from hell,
and opened for me the gates of heaven.
Glory be to the Holy Spirit,
Who has sanctified me in the sacrament of Baptism,
and continues to sanctify me
by the graces I receive daily from His bounty.
Glory be to the Three adorable Persons of the Holy Trinity,
now and forever.
Why pray the Rosary every day for a year?
Each time the Blessed Virgin has appeared-- whether it be to Saint Bernadette Soubirous at Lourdes; to Lucia, Jacinta, and Francisco at Fatima; or to Mariette Beco at Banneux-- she has asserted the importance, saving grace, and power of praying the Holy Rosary on a daily basis. Based upon her words, the Rosary is penance and conversion for sinners, a pathway to peace, an end to war, and a powerful act of faith in Jesus Christ. Pope Paul VI presented the Rosary as a powerful means to reach Christ "not merely with Mary but indeed, insofar as this is possible to us, in the same way as Mary, who is certainly the one who thought about Him more than anyone else has ever done."
To show us how this is done, perhaps no one has been more eloquent than the great Cardinal Newman, who wrote: "The great power of the Rosary consists in the fact that it translates the Creed into Prayer. Of course, the Creed is already in a certain sense a prayer and a great act of homage towards God, but the Rosary brings us to meditate again on the great truth of His life and death, and brings this truth close to our hearts. Even Christians, although they know God, usually fear rather than love Him. The strength of the Rosary lies in the particular manner in which it considers these mysteries, since all our thinking about Christ is intertwined with the thought of His Mother, in the relations between Mother and Son; the Holy Family is presented to us, the home in which God lived His infinite love."
As Mary said at Fatima, "Jesus wants to use you to make Me known and loved. He wishes to establish the devotion to My Immaculate Heart throughout the world. I promise salvation to whoever embraces it; these souls will be dear to God, like flowers put by Me to adorn his throne."