Although we do not often think about it, it is something that has become an integral part of our lives as believers. Every time we do the sign of the cross, every time we pray the “Glory be”, we always refer to God as Father, Son and Holy Spirit. Moreover, we were all baptized “in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit”. Why is this dogma so important for us?
I won’t attempt here to give an explanation of this mystery – three persons, one God. Scholars and theologians have written huge books trying to explain the trinity, and I do not think it is our scope here to give a scholarly or a deep theological explanation.
It is said that once, St. Augustine was walking by the seashore contemplating the mystery of the Holy Trinity. There he saw a little child running back and forth from the water to a spot on the seashore. The boy was using a shell to carry water from the large ocean and pour it into a small hole that he had made in the sand.
Augustine came up to him and asked him what he was doing. “I’m going to pour the entire ocean into this hole,” the boy replied.
“What?” said Augustine. “That is impossible, my dear child, the sea is so great and the shell and the hole are so little.” “It is no more impossible than what you are trying to do,” said the boy, “understand the immensity of the mystery of the Holy Trinity with your small mind!”
Still, there is a reason why the Church gives this feast so much importance. Because what I believe about God is going to help me understand who I really am.
In one of the stories of creation which we find in the first book of the bible, there is a verse which I really like. First, when it was time for God to create us humans, God says “Let us create mankind in our own image, in our own likeness”. Then, the book continues: “So God created mankind in his own image, in the image of God he created them; male and female he created hem”.
When we say that we are created in God’s image, it does not mean that God looks physically like me! We are in God’s image in our togetherness, in our communion with each other. That is why today’s feast is so important. Some elements from the feast of the Holy Trinity can help us understand the implications of all this. We believe that the persons of the Trinity are all equal and distinct. Yet, the communion is so strong that it is one God that we speak of, not three.
Being created in God’s likeness, we are all equally important and distinct personalities. We are different to each other, not better than any other. And yet, we are not created for loneliness. We need each other. We are made for relationships, for communion.
Unfortunately, this communion has been broken by our sinfulness. We remember that, again in that very first book of the bible, sin brought division in us. There was division between man and God (Adam and Eve hide, because they are embarrassed), division amongst themselves (Adam blames Eve for his wrongdoing), and division between man and nature (Eve blames the snake, and working in nature now becomes difficult). Having seen this, God immediately promised to remedy this situation. We know that this promise was fulfilled in the coming of Jesus Christ. His death and resurrection reconciled us once more to God, amongst ourselves, and with nature.
When I think about myself as a human being, remembering that I have been created in God’s own image, I remember that I have been created for communion, to build relationships. It is there that I find my fulfilment.