St. Michael's Parish - Cobourg

The Most Holy Trinity -Homily May 22, 2016

A taste of the intimate life of God


As you can see, some repairs are taking place at the Church. We take care of this building because it cost so much to our fathers. It is important for us because it was important for them. We try to preserve it and to appreciate it.


Today is the Solemnity of the Most Holy Trinity. The mystery of the Trinity cost so much to our fathers. People like us, lay and priests, gave their lives for the correct interpretation of this mystery. That is why it would be a mistake to set aside this mystery, to ignore it, or to consider it something just for theologians to be busy with. If it was so important for our fathers, why should it be less important for us? Is it not the mystery of our God?


St. Augustine, the author of the Confessions, the turbulent and beautiful story of his own life, who was a very busy Bishop, so loving of his sheep, wrote a great book, thick like this, called: On the Trinity. It was written in the years after 400 AD, without computers. St. Athanasius, in the century before St. Augustine, suffered many hardships and was exiled several times because of his defense of this mystery. He also was a Bishop, but preferred to risk his life and to lose the favour of the powerful, rather than to allow this mystery to be changed or misunderstood. The first four councils, in which we found in writing the doctrine of the Trinity, have been written by saintly doctors with their sweat, with their tears and with their blood. That doctrine cannot be simply taken for granted or even ignored. It should be loved. Or at least, respected.


We will never on earth understand fully this mystery, as we will never be able to drink the lake Ontario. The ocean of the Divinity can be admired, it can be tasted from the beach, but to navigate it in the deepLet us try today at least to enter a little bit into its waters, with the help of the Catechism and St. Thomas. Let me say something about the Son and then about the Holy Spirit.


1. We use two words to refer to the Second Person. We say the Son, for example in the sign of the Cross; and we also say the Word, as when we talk of the incarnate Word, or we say in the Angelus and the Word was made flesh. We say that he is the Son, because a son is like the father, of the same nature of the father. If the father is a human being, the son is a human being. If the father is a horse, the son is also a horse. In this case, if the Father is God, also the Son is God. A son also proceeds, comes from the father. And because in the Trinity the only difference between these two persons is that one proceeds from the other, that is why the second person is called Son, because it proceeds from the Father. The second person proceeds from the Father, and is equal to the Father, that is why it is called Son.


But how, as far as we can see it on earth, how does the Son proceed from the Father? Is there a process, is there a time in which the Son is born, and he was not there before? This is the reason for the Second name of the Son: Word. In order to explain how this procession from the Father is not a process in time, but a spiritual and intellectual procession, we call the Second Person also Word. When we say word we are talking about the interior word, the concept, the image we form in ourselves when we know something. It is interesting that we call our interior word concept, as something we conceive, something that proceeds in ourselves from the intellectual knowing of something. In a similar way, when God knows himself, a concept of himself proceeds. Because he knows himself from eternity, there is no time in which this concept was not there. Because he knows himself perfectly, this concept is a perfect image of his essence. That is why Jesus says today All that the Father has is mine. All the perfection that is in the Father is also in his image, in his Word. All the perfection that is in the Father is also in the Son. The only distinction is that the Son proceeds from the Father. The Son is not the Father, but both are God, equal in everything.


2. How does the Holy Spirit proceed? His second name will tell us more about the secret: his second name is Love. The Holy Spirit proceeds from the Father and the Son because of something related to love in God. The Holy Spirit is the proceeding love of the Father and the Son. It is a love that proceeds from both at once, as if they were only one lover. Love unites Father and Son. The Father is not the Son, the Son is not the Father, but they are one in their Love, in the Love that is the Holy Spirit. The Holy Spirit as Love proceeds from them, but not from Father and Son as distinct from each other, but from Father and Son as only one source of Love. Love is much more difficult to understand than concepts But we need to know that the Holy Spirit, who is neither the Father nor the Son, proceeds from both as a distinct person, by something related to love. All the Persons in the Trinity love, but only one of them is this proceeding love from the Father and the Son, and this is the Holy Spirit.


Dear friends, dont think that I see so clearly what I have just said to you. I have studied very hard about this, and I still dont understand a lot of things. But there is much joy in meditating on these things. They are not science, that can be boring sometimes, but they are the very life of God. God is infinite joy, and when we meditate on these things, as it happened to St. Catherine of Siena, we may be immersed in the ocean of joy that is God himself. Let us meditate upon these mysteries: many times love gets to know more than studies. Let us meditate upon this mystery, so that we may enjoy the life of our God. Fr. Andrew