There are aspects of our faith that are easy to define, explain or discuss. But for me, it is always a challenge to elucidate on the Blessed Trinity. It is a mystery, it is hard to talk about it in practical terms. If someone will ask me about it, I will probably pause for a long while, maybe even scratch my head and refer him/her to the writings of St. Augustine 🙂
I mentioned St. Augustine because everytime I think about the Blessed Trinity, I recall the story about St. Augustine and the boy at the beach. The story goes like this:
He went by the sea-side in Africa, studying on the Trinity, he found by the sea-side a little child which had made a little pit in the sand, and in his hand a little spoon. And with the spoon he took out water of the large sea and poured it into the pit.
And when St Augustin beheld him he marvelled, and demanded him what he did. And he answered and said: “I will lade out and bring all this water of the sea into this pit.”
“What?” said he, “it is impossible, how may it be done, sith the sea is so great and large, and thy pit and spoon so little?”
“Yes, forsooth,” said he, “I shall lightlier and sooner draw all the water of the sea and bring it into this pit than thou shalt bring the mystery of the Trinity and His Divinity into thy little understanding as to the regard thereof; for the Mystery of the Trinity is greater and larger to the comparison of thy wit and brain than is this great sea unto this little pit.” (from Golden Legends written by Jacobus Voragine, Archbishop of Genoa in 1275)
So I guess understanding fully the mystery of the Blessed Trinity is beyond our capacity as human beings.
That’s why I was happy to listen to a homily today given by Deacon Tom of Corpus Christi Church where I attend Mass every Sunday and sing with the Joy of the Lord Music Ministry. While we cannot completely comprehend the mystery of the Blessed Trinity, I like the analogy which Deacon Tom gave. He said something about water which made me say to myself, “Yes, he’s right. That makes sense.”
He said water mainly has 3 forms: ice, liquid (water) and steam. Yet, no matter what form it takes, it essentially has the same elements – 2 atoms of hydrogen and 1 atom of oxygen (H2O). In a similar vein, so is the Blessed Trinity. Although there are 3 Divine Persons, they are one and the same God.
The love of our Father is as solid as ice, strong and perfect. Like water, the love of our Lord Jesus Christ, our Gentle Shepherd, refreshes our soul and flows into our hearts. Like steam, God gives us power through His Holy Spirit.
So if someone asks you about the Blessed Trinity, remember Deacon’s Tom analogy. I really think it’s a good one.