A Communion of Persons

The great Doctor of the Church St. Augustine of Hippo spent over 30 years working on his treatise De Trinitate that is—on the Holy Trinity—trying to conceive an intelligible explanation for the mystery of the Trinity. Then this happened: St. Augustine was walking by the seashore one day contemplating the mystery of the Holy Trinity when 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 pit 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.” “That is true,” the boy said. “It would be easier and quicker to draw all the water out of the sea and fit it into this hole than for you to fit the mystery of the Trinity and His Divinity into your little intellect.” And then the boy vanished.

A mystery of faith “is a truth that is hidden in God and which can never be known unless it is revealed by God.” And after revelation, the inner essence of a mystery of faith cannot be fully understood by the finite mind. The Catechism of the Catholic Church teaches that “The mystery of the Most Holy Trinity is the central mystery of the Christian faith and of Christian life.” (CCC 261)

In the Gospels and the Acts of Apostles there are traces of the triadic pattern of Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. The clearest expression of this pattern is found in the baptismal formula, also found in St. Matthew’s Gospel, in which the three Divine Persons are presented together as at once a triad and a unity.

We do not confess three Gods in our Creed, but one God in three Persons co-equal, co-eternal, and consubstantial: the Father, and the Son, and the Holy Spirit. (CCC 253). The Blessed Trinity is a Communion of Persons. Now how does this affect us?

We read in the sacred Scriptures that we were created in God’s image. One way we are created in God’s image is in the relational sense.

To be in the image and likeness of God means to be created in the image and likeness of a communion of persons in love. We are made for communion. It is within the communion of persons that we are fulfilled, that we reach our full potential as bearers of God’s image.

The Church, which is constituted by the sacrament of baptism in the name of our Triune God has the duty to reflect God’s nature by becoming a communion of persons who love each other as God loves us. As we celebrate the Solemnity of the Most Holy Trinity this Sunday, let us ask the Blessed Trinity, the source of all communions of persons, to restore harmony, peace, love in our families, communities, and in the world. May the Triune God bring us into communion with Him and with one another.

Fr. Robain