WITH ST. MARY'S
SOLEMNITY OF THE MOST HOLY TRINITY
The doctrine of the Trinity is a defining part of the Faith that we will come to understand only in Heaven.
As we celebrate the Solemnity of the Most Holy Trinity today, we should probably ask ourselves if we truly understand this fundamental doctrine of the Church. What does it mean that there are three Persons in one God? How did we come to this knowledge of three Persons? Can we ever fully understand this doctrine? For the moment, we must not focus on trying to fully understand the doctrine, but instead focus on what God is trying to tell us by revealing the Trinity to us: that the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit all desire to be acknowledged individually and worshipped together.
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Our inability to fully comprehend the Trinity is appropriate to who we are in the ontological hierarchy. God has given us human reason, but that can only take us so far in our understanding of all things, especially when it relates to the one doctrine that encompasses the very nature of the Divine. We can compare our understanding (or lack thereof) of the Trinity to the way a child might understand their parents. In their infancy, the child will understand very little about who their parents are, but they will trust, obey, and follow them regardless. As the child grows and their reason begins to develop, they understand their parents a little more. They can begin to understand that their parents have emotions and thoughts in ways that they do, too. When the child is older and believes that their reason is fully formed, they will understand that their parents are not perfectly rational. This might give rise to disobedience, or it could give the child an understanding that all humans, even their parents, are constantly on a path towards refining their intellect. But it is only when a child becomes a parent when they fully understand who their parents were for them. In that moment, all the issues we might have once had with our own parents are contextualized and understood out of parental love. We are not meant to understand the Trinity yet because we have not perfected ourselves in the way that the Trinity desires for us. But we must remember that, like a child trusts their parents, we can trust that the Trinity has been guiding us in our formation, with each Divine Person having an intimate and special place in our lives.
Family activity to do at home: We may not understand the Trinity completely, but there are many ways that we can begin teaching our children how to comprehend the Trinity according to the reason that was given to us by God. Our children also have the ability to remind us of the simplicity and innocence that can sometimes lead us to understand God more fully. Teaching children about the Trinity early, using examples such as St. Patrick’s three-leaf clover, will serve them to acknowledge the Trinity when they encounter it in the Mass. The following activity shows how we can begin to teach children that we encounter all three Persons of the Trinity every time we go to Mass.