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Splendid Sundays

Spendid Sundays – Solemnity of the Most Holy Trinity

Ninth Week of Ordinary Time

You can find today’s readings here.

1st Reading: Deuteronomy 4: 32-34, 39-40
Psalm: Psalm 33
2nd Reading: Romans 8:14-17
Gospel: Matthew 28:16-20

Today we celebrate our Lord’s existence in the Most Holy Trinity. The Truth of the Trinity is one of the most difficult mysteries of our faith to understand. Some non-Catholic Bible believing faiths argue that the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit are three distinct and separate persons, which is much easier for our human brains to grab a hold of. However, to understand how three persons can be distinct, yet the same One Holy God… well, we have nothing on Earth that quite replicates this Truth, so we accept it on faith. We take this Truth on faith so much, that it’s not explicitly spelled out in the pages of Sacred Scripture, but we can see where it is referenced in both the Old and New Testaments. The doctrine of the Holy Trinity is clearest in Holy Mother Church’s Sacred Tradition.

The Catechism of the Catholic Church defines the Trinity as, “The mystery of one God in three Persons: Father, Son and Holy Spirit. The revealed truth of the Holy Trinity is at the very root of the Church’s living faith as expressed in the Creed. The mystery of the Trinity in itself is inaccessible to the human mind and is the object of faith only because it was revealed by Jesus Christ, the divine Son of the eternal Father.”

It is by this Holy Trinity we are saved and can delight in life eternal in Heaven. God, the Father created us, created our souls and bodies. The Son, died for our sins and reopened the gates of Heaven so that we can gain salvation. We receive the Holy Spirit at baptism, and are sanctified through uniting our suffering to Christ’s suffering and through keeping our Lord’s commandments.

It is simply wondrous that after 2,000 years, the truth of the Trinity has been protected and handed down, generation by generation, such that so many Christians today can properly believe in God. The doctrine of the Trinity is a testament to the Holy Spirit protected truths taught by Holy Mother Church.

 

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Doctrine Emily Faith Formation Ink Slingers

It’s a MYSTERY…

Think back to when we were kids – waaayyy back for some of us {{cough, cough… ahem}} – and try to remember what the word “mystery” used to mean to you.  The word conjures up feelings of secret passwords and dark hallways, hidden images and underlying meanings… oooooh and those who were clever enough to figure things out felt like we were transported into a new dimension of knowledge!

Now as adults the word “mystery” just doesn’t feel the same.  So many of our childhood mysteries have been solved.  The hidden images are blatant and the underlying meanings that once brought us to tears now feel pedantic to discuss.  We wash away the thoughts and feelings that made our hearts and minds swoon only to fill them with the answers, as if we were filling in a scan-tron on a standardized test.  We’ve turned the pursuit of knowledge into a race to the finish line – and now that we’ve all earned our medals we can’t quite figure out what all the fuss was about.

But mysteries are a huge part of our Catholic Faith.   How do we view these mysteries as Catholic adults?  Do we look on them with childlike wonder?… Or do our eyes glaze over with boredom?  When people ask us questions about our faith do we try to have all the answers?

One of the central mysteries of our faith is the Trinity

In the Name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit

 In fact, the Catechism speaks beautifully on this mystery of our faith:

The mystery of the Most Holy Trinity is the central mystery of Christian faith and life. It is the mystery of God in himself. It is therefore the source of all the other mysteries of faith, the light that enlightens them. It is the most fundamental and essential teaching in the “hierarchy of the truths of faith.” The whole history of salvation is identical with the history of the way and the means by which the one true God, Father, Son, and Holy Spirit, reveals himself to men “and reconciles and unites with himself those who turn away from sin.”

Wow… that’s pretty intense.

In my free time (HAAAAHAHAHA!) I participate in a small faith group at my parish.  We are using a program called “Why Catholic?”, which, like many other great programs that are out there, helps guide us through different discussions in the faith.  This particular program goes through the Catechism in different sections.

Our group is made up of several moms with kids at the Catholic school, as well as our principal and vice principal… about 10 of us in all. We’re pretty diverse – wide age range, kids in various grades, very different backgrounds, and I find it really interesting to hear everyone’s perspectives and individual thoughts on each topic.

Lately we’ve been discussing the Trinity and how we address God in prayer.  We were surprised at our unique views.  The principal, who is the eldest in our group, said she mostly invokes the Holy Spirit in prayer.  One mother in the group was raised in France and was taught by nuns – she, on the other hand, was never comfortable addressing God as the Holy Spirit – this side of the Trinity was just not familiar to her, so she mostly called upon God the father.  Another mother in the group was raised protestant and was most comfortable speaking to Jesus in plain language – formal prayers are more challenging for her to truly connect to God through.  And there were also those of us (including myself) who rarely saw God as a single one of His Persons… to me, they are always the three-in-one.

Really, there’s no “right” answer.  Of course, God is always His Triune Self, no matter how we, as individuals, tend to encounter Him.

And the Catechism goes on to discuss…

The Trinity is One.

The divine persons are really distinct from one another.

The divine persons are relative to one another.

… all of which should completely negate each other… and yet, simply are.  What a BEAUTIFUL mystery to ponder!!

The MYSTERY of the Trinity is just so extremely beautiful.  As we wait in hope to encounter the Incarnation of Christ during this season of Advent, it’s always nice to take some time to meditate on some of the rich mysteries of our beautiful faith.

Categories
Amelia Baptism Faith Formation Ink Slingers Sacraments

The Gift of Baptism

I was raised by a mother who understood love best in giving and receiving gifts.  Each treasure was meticulously chosen, prepared, and, at the perfect time, presented as a satin ribbon-crowned objet d’art.  She did this to demonstrate to that person that they were prized above any sacrifice it took to bring the gift to them.  Indeed, to receive a gift from my mother was a special thing, and I still remember the radiant look on her face as she waited for me to unwrap that which she had given so generously.  To her, giving a gift meant you had thought about that person and what would really make them happy.  She was just as joyful in receiving, exclaiming how lovely and thoughtful the giver was after carefully unwrapping their gift so as not to tear the paper even the slightest bit.

Now that I am grown and a mother myself, I appreciate my mother’s generosity even more.  I take every opportunity to bless my children with gifts, not because they have earned them, but because I love them and it makes me happy to see them smile.  I want to share every good and wonderful thing with my little ones.  If human parents in their fallen state derive such pleasure from giving to their children, how much more does our Heavenly Father delight in the gifts He offers to us?

Recently, I received a beautiful gift in God’s perfect timing – a son.  My fourth child was born at home on a quiet Saturday afternoon after an intense two-and-a-half hour labor.  He was immediately welcomed by three awestruck siblings who rejoiced over the arrival of their new playmate.  This little man was showered with gifts from the beginning – he had his own bed, his own blankets and toys, and his own clothes neatly hung and folded in the room he would share with his brother.  Every person in the family had sacrificed and contributed in preparing a place for him.  I had endured the discomforts of pregnancy and the pain of childbirth in order to give this child the best birth possible and the most peaceful start in life.  All of this we did because we loved him.  It was our gift to him.  For two blissful hours, we all basked in the joy of this new life, this blessed gift from God.

And then, he got sick.

He was not breathing right.  As we rushed to the hospital, the midwife in the back seat holding oxygen to my baby’s face, I did the only three things I could think of: I prayed for God to heal my son, I asked my friends to storm Heaven on his behalf, and I called a priest. If you are a person of faith, you will understand why I did the first two, but perhaps not the third, unless, of course, you are Catholic. My son was ill, and as his mother, I wanted him to have everything that is good.  I wanted him to have the best, and the best that I could give was a share in the promise of eternal life with God.

When God established the covenant with Abraham, He created a family.  For two thousand years, circumcision served as the sign of their familial bond.  The promises given to faithful Abraham were extended to his children.  So it was in the early Church, which took Jesus at His word and “let the little children come”  and did not hinder them.  It was understood that the Kingdom belonged to them as well as to adults, not because of their faith, but because of their parents’ faith.  Entire households were baptized based on the faith of one member. My husband and I are Christians.  We know this because we know we were baptized.  Our parents stood up for us and vowed to reject Satan and all his works and empty promises.  To be a Christian means to have faith in Christ, to believe His promises.  Jesus’ promises are not empty, but full of life.  He is the one who baptizes through the minister of baptism.  Baptism is not about what we do for Christ, but what He does for us.  It is His gift to us, given freely.  It cannot be earned, only accepted.  I accepted it for my child.

I have friends and even family who do not understand my pain in those hours I waited for my child to be baptized.  Yes, the hospital staff had to make sure he was “stable” and I wanted that, but I was desperate for my son to receive the Holy Spirit.  I could not rest until he was claimed for Christ and given our family name.  Just as earthly fathers bestow their names upon their children, so Our Heavenly Father gives us His name as we are claimed for Him.  Once the water was poured over his head, grace poured into his soul, and the Name spoken over him, “I baptize you in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit,” God gave me another lovely gift: peace.  My child was in God’s hands and I would praise Him no matter the outcome.

My son survived.  We brought him home almost one week from the day he joined our family and God’s family, the Church.  The graces he received at his baptism flowed not only into him, but into his parents and godparents, turning all of our hearts even more toward Our Heavenly Father.  God really is a loving Father.  He delights in the gifts He gives us.  What a beautiful gift we have in His Church and in the Sacraments, those “outward signs of inward grace.”  A sign points beyond itself, and so do the sacraments point beyond us, beyond this life to the next.  They help us not only to glimpse Heaven, but to have a piece of it here on Earth.  My mother taught me how to receive a gift joyfully. I will teach my children to accept God’s gifts in the same manner: with happy hearts.