The Trinity: Our Defence Against Relativism (Trinity Sunday, Year A, 2023-06-04)

Father Mikael Schink S.J.
Solemnity of the Most Holy Trinity (A), 2023-06-04
St. Eugenia Catholic Church

+ Dear Brothers and Sisters in Christ,

We gather today to celebrate the Solemnity of the Most Blessed Trinity, not just one among many divine mysteries, but in a profound way, the mystery of mysteries. We start every Mass, indeed every prayer, with the Sign of the Cross, calling to mind each of the three divine Persons. Every decade of the Holy Rosary ends with the Glory Be to the Father, and to the Son, and to the Holy Spirit, just as every Psalm in the Divine Office ends with the same doxology. The Most Holy Trinity is therefore a mystery at the very heart of our faith. Saint Irenaeus of Lyon aptly said that all true theology is a theology of the Trinity, for if theology is the science of God, all theology must ultimately be related to God Himself as the Blessed Trinity.

Yet, living in our modern world, we encounter many misunderstandings, errors, and even objections to the doctrine of the Holy Trinity. It is not at all uncommon to hear it reduced to an abstract concept or dismissed as a symbolic construct that can be reshaped to suit individual preferences and perspectives. In this way, contemporary relativism resembles the ancient heresy of modalism, according to which the three divine Persons are merely different modes in which God manifests Himself. One may therefore be tempted to say that the Christian religion is only one among many perspectives on God, none of which are ultimately true.

But such approaches are fundamentally flawed. The Holy Trinity is neither an abstraction nor a subjective construct, but a divine reality that has been revealed to us, and which we are called to worship and unite ourselves with through faith and charity. This is the faith of the Catholic Church, the only true religion. And it is not a faith that is unfounded or without reason. On the contrary, our faith has been corroborated throughout history by many signs and miracles, the greatest of which is the resurrection of our Lord Jesus Christ Himself.

The Most Holy Trinity is not just a doctrine about which there can be theological debates; it is also a subject for profound meditation that shapes our entire spiritual life and informs our actions, attitudes, and relationships. Saint Thomas Aquinas says that through faith in the Holy Trinity, we have a quasi-experimental knowledge of God, because by the revelation of the Trinity, we gain access to the very inner life of God Himself. We can see God not only through creation, but more directly through His self-manifestation. In this way, we have access to that which is most individual and particular in God, not only the universality of the divine nature, but to the divine Persons themselves. It can therefore be said that only through faith in the divine Persons, do we have a truly personal relationship with God.

Furthermore, through grace, the Holy Trinity takes its dwelling in our hearts. In Baptism, we receive the uncreated grace of the indwelling of the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit in our very souls. This indwelling is something more than the presence of God in our lives through creation because it is a participation in divinity itself. We become like a sacred temple, where the Trinity resides, guiding us and gradually transforming us into the image of Christ.

We must therefore approach this divine mystery with awe, reverence, and a deep sense of responsibility. Just as our actions can honour God’s glory, they can also insult him. Mortal sin, committed with full knowledge and deliberate intent, is a grave violation of God’s law that disrupts His divine indwelling in us. It severs us from God and strips our souls of sanctifying grace.

In moments when we yield to temptation and sin mortally, we become like the prodigal son, lost and estranged from his loving Father. But we must remember the infinite mercy of God: Just as the father in the parable eagerly awaited the return of his lost son, our Heavenly Father yearns for our repentance and conversion through Jesus Christ. He stands ready to welcome us back, cleanse us in Sacramental Confession, and restore us to the state of grace.

Let us therefore be mindful of the grace we have received. Let us live in a manner worthy of our calling by guarding ourselves against sin and striving for holiness in thoughts, words, and actions. And if we should fall into sin, let us make use of the Sacrament of Penance so as to be restored to grace once again.

Another great danger in our contemporary society is the spirit of individualism, emphasizing personal autonomy to the detriment of family and tradition. It can lead to a fragmented existence in which we are not only estranged from God and His Church but also from ourselves.

In this context, the Trinity is a model for how we should live our lives. It reminds us that we, who are made in the image and likeness of God, are called to communion and sacrificial self-giving: not only to a natural communion but to a supernatural fellowship with Christ and the members of His Mystical Body, the Church. Just as the three Persons are united in one Godhead, we are called to be one in Christ.

We must remember that this union does not only encompass those now living. Through sanctifying grace, we are united with the saints of all ages, which shows us that the bond that unites us is not a feeling or an ideology, but the Sacred Tradition of the Church, where the true faith in Jesus Christ has been preserved to this day.

A special call to unity goes out to the Christian family, to uphold and strengthen the sanctity of this special community, which God has sanctified through the Sacrament of Matrimony. In a society where many marriages end in divorce, we as Catholics have a special task to cherish the unity of the spouses and transmit the true faith to future generations. The Christian family, as designed by God, is a reflection of the Most Holy Trinity, characterized by mutual love, self-giving, and respect. It is here that we first learn to love, to forgive, and to make sacrifices for the good of others.

Let us therefore turn to God, the Trinity, and pray that we may draw strength by meditating on this mystery of mysteries so that our faith is preserved from errors and doubts. Let us pray for an increase in hope so that we can press forward and advance in union with the Divine Persons. And let us also ask for an increase in charity, so that our lives are marked by mutual love and self-sacrifice for the sake of God. +Amen


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