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June 28, 1963     Catholic Northwest Progress
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June 28, 1963

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6,raTHE PROGRESS . Friday, June 28, 1963 THEOLOGY FOR TH E LAYMAN: (Lesson 20) CHRi THE HOLY TRINITY Chapter XX The Great Mystery of Love A mystery of religion is a truth whose very existence is un- known to us unless revealed by God, and which, even when it has been revealed, cannot be fully understood. Once we seek to penetrate the inner Life of God Himself, we are face to face with the greatest of mysteries, greater than the mystery of human life, of nature, of gravity, electricity or any of the natural mysteries which are so real to us. We study the Mys- tery of the Trinity last of all be- cause it is by far the deepest and most profound of all the revela- tions of God to man. In the mys- tery of the Trinity, God is tryi0g to show us what goes on in the inner life of Almighty God Himself. We have made constant references to the Trinity through- out our study of Sacred History. God Is Father We came to the realization that God is a Father in our study of the Old Testament. The New Testament made it clear that the Father has a Son as well and that the Holy Spirit is the soul of the Catholic Church. Now it is our purpose to examine these truths more closely and try to understand how all three of these Persons can still be but one infinite God. We must not think that be- cause the Trinity is a great Mys- tery it means we can know noth- ing about God's inner Life. No. Mysteries are things we can know a lot about; but they are mysteries because we cannot know everything about them. We will never fully comprehend the mind of God. To do so would demand that we be God Himself. But through reason il- lumined by the gift of faith we can at least scratch the surface ,i ,, LET'S DISCUS IT! Mrs. William J. Paul IAN of infinity. For God has in time gradually revealed to mankind something of what His Life really is. The Trinity A Gradual Revelation: Old Testament Revelation: In our study of the history of the Jewish people in the Old Testa- ment there was no explicit men- tion of the Blessed Trinity. This Mystery of mysteries was only vaguely hinted at; too vaguely to have enabled a reader to ar- rive at the full meaning of it. It was God's oneness that was stressed to the ancient Jewish nation. When you consider the times it comes as no surprise that this was so. After all, the great danger that was continually present in those days was the er- ror of believing there was more than one God -- "polytheism," we call it. The Jews were sur- rounded by pagan nations that were victims of this error and so there was always the great danger that if the Trinity were revealed the Jews would, mis- understand it and take three Persons to be three Gods. In other words, they were not yet ready for the doctrine. Never- theless, they were taught to look upon God as their divine Father. God's oneness, and God's Fatherhood, at least, were clear in the Old Testament. New Testament Revelation: It is with the coming of our Lord that the doctrine of the Holy Trinity is finally revealed in a clear and forceful fashion. The Father Is God Many times during His Life, Our Lord spoke of the Person of God the Father. It was God the Father who sent Him into the world, when He sent His Apostles into the world to bap- tize, it was "in the name of the FATHER, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit..." that they did so. At the Last Supper He told them, "... I go to the FATHER and you will see me no ii more..." (John 16:10). Many times that same night He spoke of the Father: " . . . and raising His eyes to heaven He said, 'FATHER, the hour has come (John 17:1); "Just FATHER, the world has not known thee, but I have known that thou hast sent me' " (John 16:24;25). In the Garden during His agony Jesus prayed: "FATHER, if thou art willing remove this cup from me;... " And on the cross Jesus begged God the Father to for- give His persecutors. "FATHER, forgive them, for they do not know what they are doing" (John 23:24). The Son Is God Jesus Christ, Second Person of the Blessed Trinity, is called God the Son. In all things He is equal to God the Father and to God the Holy Ghost. The Second person of the Trinity is often called the "Word" of God, and to indicate that Our Lord is truly God, St. John is inspired to begin His Gospel with these words: "In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God" (John 1:1) Our Lord Himself told His hearers: "Amen, amen, I say to you, the Son can do nothing of himself, but only what he sees the Father doing. For whatever He does, this the Son also does in like manner . . . " (John 5: 19-20). Later Jesus adds these words: "For as the Father has life in himself, even so has he given to the Son also to have life in himself" (John 5:26). That we must accept the Second Person of the Trinity as God is clear in this passage spoken by Christ: "The Father loves the Son, and has given all things into his hands, He who believes in the Son has life everlasting; he who is unbelieving towards the Son shall not see life, but the Wrath of God rest upon him" On the ACCW's Fifteenth Burse Mrs. William 3. Paul, ACCW President E, THE women of the Seattle Archdiocesan Council, even though we are one of 109 affili- ates of the National Council of Catholic Women and have chosen to work on 11 committees, are unique in one fact. We have been given by our Archbishop one par- ticular work to do, one that is close to His heart and to all of ours. We have the special privilege of raising the burst which we present to our Most Reverend Archbishop at our annual convention. A burst consists of $10,000 and even though we do not always complete a burst each year we should and could if some day we can make all concerned realize that by the promotion of the Pontifical Society for Priestly vocations alone we could find 10,000 women, and men too mfor why should they be deprived of the benefits of the Society- who would join for one dollar thereby sharing in all the graces and prayers. Belonging to the Pontifical Society also places an obligation on its members to pray for vocations and also for the young men in the Seminary that they may have the grace to persevere. We should never forget our priests and pray for them unceasingly as they labor in God's vineyard. The burse monies are used to assist individual young men. who need financial help to complete their studies at the Major Seminary. The Archdiocesan Council is now working on its 15th burse. We have endeavored at our deanery meetings to give special honor to those mothers, so blessed by Almighty God as to have sons and daughters aspiring- to the religious life and those who have already reached their goal. We hope that in so doing we may inspire other mothers to encourage their young people to consider the religious life. SERIES. (John 3:35-36). "... He who sees me sees also the Father" (John 14:9). The Holy Ghost Is God As Jesus sent His disciples on their first missionary journey He reminded them of the role of the Holy Spirit in their work: "For it is not you who are speak- ing, but the Spirit of your Father who speaks through you" (Matt. 10:20). The Third Person of the Blessed Trinity is the Spirit of Truth and of Wisdom. Jesus promised to send the Holy Spirit to His Apostles to enlighten them, to teach them, and to dwell in their hearts. "But when He, the Spirit of Truth, has come, he will teach you all truth." "... when the Advocate (Holy Spirit) has come, whom I will send you from the Father, the Spirit of truth who proceeds from the Father, he will bear witness concerning me" (John 13,16:26). "And I will ask the Father and he will give you an- other Advocate to dwell with you forever, the Spirit of truth ..." (John 14:16). The Trinity: One God and Three Divine Persons By the Blessed Trinity we mean that the Father, Son and Holy Ghost are One God. Just before His 6scension, Our Lord speaks of all Three Persons of the Trinity. "Go therefore, and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit ..." (Matt. 29:19). Notice that Our Lord uses the word "name" (Singular, not plural) to indi- cate that there is but One God. Then He identifies the Father, the Son, and the Holy Ghost as three distinct Persons equally God. How Three Divine really distinct Persons can be at the same time one and the same God is precisely the mystery of the Trinity. The three divine Persons are really distinct from one another. Although the Father, the Son, and the Holy Ghost are distinct Persons, they are not distinct in nature. The nature of the Father .is entirely the nature of the Holy Ghost. Yet the three divine Per- sons are perfectly equal to one another, because all are one and the same God. No one of the three P e r s o n s precedes the others in time or in power, but all are equally eternal and all- powerful because they have the same divine nature. The Inner Life of The Trinity God is a being who lives an infinitely perfect life of Know- ing and Loving. God is Three Infinite Persons Knowing and Loving Themselves eternally in a never ceasing outpouring of Good. This is the definition of God that Theologians after studying long and carefully the mysteri- ous truths of revelation, have decided best describes the inner life shared by the Three Persons of the Blessed Trinity. Let us now study these ideas m o r e closely. God the Father knows and loves perfectly. What does He Know? He knows Himself. And this knowledge in God results in a Divine Person: His Son. This Son possesses all that the Father has and is. For the Son is a perfect expression of the Father's mind; and this, from all eternity. If we have an idea or image in our minds and wish to express that idea or image by a picture or statue, these expres- sions are best weak and feeble likenesses. But God expresses Himself and all that He is per- fectly, And this perfect expres- sion realized in a Person is His only begotten Son. The Son is the Word of God, the perfect expression of Infinite Intelli- gence and this uttered by God the Father from all eternity. The Father sees His Son and because the Son possesses all the Goodness that the Father is, the Father loves his Son immensely. The Son, on the other hand, see- ing the Father as the One from whom He has received all, loves His Father perfectly in return. And, this mutual action is itself a Third Person: the Holy Spirit of Love. Infinite Love and Q out the use of appropriation it would have b6en almost impos- sible to see clearly God's plan for the salvation of mankind. Why Did God Reveal The Trinity? God revealed His inner nature to mankind for one great tea-" son: that man might come to love God more. We cannot love what we do not know. God, in making [Himself more notable, was trying to draw men into closer intimacy, into deeper love and union with Himself. Every time we make the sign of the cross we ought to thank God _= I. Should it be a cause of concern to us that there are religious truths which we do not fully understand? Should it be expected that we have a full knowledge of all religious truths? 2. Why did God keep the knowledge of His Triune Nature from the people of the Old Testament? 3. Would it be true to say that the Holy Ghost created us, the Father redeemed us, and the Son preserves the fruits of Redemp- tion in the Church? 4. Why did God reveal the Trinity to us? What practical applica- tion should our belief in the Trinity have in our lives? 5. Explain how the History of our Salvation is traced throughout = the year in the Church's feasts and liturgical asoas.  II11111[11 HI n IIIIllllllI111111!llltlll[llrllH ill n IIIIIlllllllllltlllllll;lllIIIllllTIIIllllllllllllfl IIlllllll[lllllllllllIIlll n llllllllll fflllIiiiiillllff H lIIIlllllllllIlllllllllllllTiliiiiiiiFfl illlllllrlllrlllllllllllllllllllIiiiiiiiill Knowledge alone can explain something of the mystery of the Trinity. All Possess The Godhead Now all three Persons possess the Godhead, all three are Per- fect and Divine. The difference between the three persons lies not in the fact that each one pos- sesses infinite perfection, no, it is in this that they are all alike. The difference lies in the way that each possesses that Perfec- tion. The Father possesses infi- nite perfection in such a way as to bestow it upon the Son, the Son possesses infinite perfection in such a way as to have re- ceived it from the Father, and the Holy Spirit possesses that same-infinite perfection which is God's nature in such a way as to constitute the bond of love between both Father and Son. This in a brief and incomplete way is something of whist goes on in the depths of the Life of God. From this explanation, brief and patchy as it is, one thing is certain. God's life is not static or inactive or dull or un- interesting; God's life is rather a tremendously dynamic Divine Love Affair of which we and all creation are a result! Appropriation One final point on the inner life of the Trinity remains to be discussed. It is called the prin- ciple of "Appropriation". We say that because each of the Three Persons possesses the same divine nature completely, they therefore all have the same perfections and they all perform the same actions. How is it, then, that we can speak of the Father as concerned with crea- tion, the Son with Redemption, and the Holy Spirit with preser- vation of the fruits of Redemp- tion within the Church? This is a manner of speaking, which we call "appropriation". It is a way of helping us better know the Blessed Trinity. For instance, whatever is appropriated or ap- plied especially to the Father implies in some way that He is the source or principle which proceeds from none, but from which all else is derived. What- ever is appropriated or applied to the Holy Spirit refers to His having proceeded from the Fa- ther and Son by their mutual love. We have used this principle of appropriation throughout o u r Study of Sacred History. With- for His revelation to us of the wonderful mystery: The Blessed Trinity. The Trinity's Great Love For Us A study of the inner life of God has shown us that God is Love, and Love has a tendency to diffuse itself, to give of itself, to want to share its goodness with others. It was this tremen- dous Love that caused God create the universe and all that is in it. This was the Love that prompted God to make man to His own image that he might in a created way come to know and to love and experience of God Himself. This was the Love tha made God go even farther through Sanctifying Grace give man a share in His very own Life in His very own way of Knowing and Loving. This was the Love that prompted the Father, once man had sinned, to be merciful, to promise a re- deemer who would win back for man the wonderful gifts had lost in paradise. It was di- vine love behind the care and infinite patience shown toward the Jewish race God's chosen people during the years and years of infidelity and ingrati- tude they showed to the Father for all He had done and wa,. constantly doing for them. It was love that prompted the establishment of that first primi- tive religious society and kept it substantially intact. throughout the precarious history of the Old Testament Times. A Work of Love And was it not Love that prompted the Father to send His only begotten Son to redeem fallen man? Was it not Love that caused the Son to willingly and joyfully fulfill the Father's wishes? The perfection of the Jewish Society in the form of the Church with all that this en- tailed was certainly a work of Love. Why else would the Son of God assume human nature, suffer and die on the cross for an unworthy and undeserving people save out of immense, un- fathomable Love? What about the role of the Holy Spirit? His constant and careful guidance of the Church despite weak and ungrateful leaders, lazy and thankless laity and all the other disappoint- ments that come from dealing, with fallen man, all this proves (Continued on Page 7) * Sponsors of the Christian Culture Series Knights of Columbus Newman Club of the Prudential Mutual ,Sunny Jim Religious Information Bureau Univers'ity of Wash. Savings Bank Food Products Seattle University McDonald & McGarry Providence Heights St. Vincent dePaul Rosellini's Restaurants Insurance Brokers Sister Formation Salvage Bureau of Renown Victor's 610 Pine Catholic Gifts and Schulmerich Ballard Rosellini's Four-10 Church Goods, Inc. Carillons, Inc. Blossom Shop Archdiocesan Union Bill Thomas L.G. Massart Catholic Holy Name Societies Select Used Cars PIcj. & Hfcj. Co. Information Center Mechanical Contractors Bonney-Watson The Christian Brothers Archdiocesan Council Funeral Directors Wine KXA Radio Station of Catholic Women