Reflections on the nature of the Trinity

Glory be to the Father and to the Son and to the Holy Spirit, as it was in the beginning is now and ever shall be world without end. Amen’

Introduction.

Our plan here is to first to mention the most important message revealed about God and then give a brief explanation of the Trinity in Part 1. In Part 2 we will discuss the concepts of infinity and eternity which are very important aspects about God’s nature and then in Part 3 we will to try to give some scriptural support and more in-depth discussion on the Trinity followed in Part 4 by some ideas on salvation and apologetics.

The primacy of love. Love is the most important message about God and from God.

Venerable Louise Margaret Claret de la Touche (1868-1915, see www.infinitelove.ie) had profound insights about God’s love and she suggested in her book (The Sacred Heart and the Priesthood) that God is the Trinity because ‘God is love’ (1 John 4: 8, 16). Love by its nature seems to flow from one person to another person and in God there is an eternal community of infinite unselfish love.

God is love, and mercy is love put into action and so, over 2,000 years ago God put His infinite love into action when the Son of God came to earth and took on human nature to redeem us. Jesus is God’s love put into action. Jesus is the Divine Mercy of God in Person. It is an act of love to invent, to create and to redeem creatures and this is what God has done for us. The Father loves Jesus with infinite love and vice versa and so one of the most amazing things Jesus ever said is in John (15: 9) 9 ‘Even as the Father has loved me, I also have loved you.’ Divine Mercy is naturally from a superior being to an inferior creature but human mercy should be from one equal to another equal.

God expects us to be merciful, He expects us to put our love into action too (See Matthew 25: 31-46). When Jesus was asked by the Lawyer in Luke (10: 25) what he should do for salvation Jesus asked him what the Law said and so quoting Deuteronomy (6: 5) and Leviticus (19: 18) the Lawyer said, “You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, with all your strength, and with all your mind; and your neighbour as yourself.” He said to him, “You have answered correctly. Do this and you will live.” The Lawyer asked Jesus who is his neighbour and Jesus told him the parable of the Good Samaritan. In the Our Father prayer Jesus showed us that if we want mercy we should be merciful by always forgiving others. We are to love God because loving our Creator is a good thing to do. God isn’t egotistical. He didn’t create us to love or worship Him like slaves but for us to be loved by Him. God’s nature is mercy. We deserve nothing in this life or the next life from God. From our perspective as creatures mercy is His greatest attribute.

Love is more important than faith that can move mountains. In 1 Corinthians (13: 1-3) St Paul showed the importance of love. If we speak in tongues, have prophecy, have understanding and knowledge and even all to move mountains and even give alms to the poor and my body to be martyred but I don’t have love I am nothing. Love should drive everything we do.

Part 1: A brief explanation of the Trinity.

The doctrine of the Trinity is a theological mystery and hopefully we will spend the rest of eternity contemplating them. Jesus reaffirmed the Old Testament teaching of monotheism that there is only one being who is God when He quoted from Deuteronomy (6: 5): Jesus said, “The greatest is, ‘Hear, Israel, the Lord our God, the Lord is one.’” (Mark 12: 29) but in the Gospels He also revealed that the one God is three Persons, which we call the Trinity (from tri-unity). Jesus also revealed that ‘God is spirit’ John (4: 24).

The triune nature of God is not easy for us to understand, it is a mystery and there is no example in Nature that could ever exactly show this situation but human beings resemble God because scripture says: ‘God created man in his own image’ (Genesis 1: 27) so in order to better understand the nature of God we can look at our human nature. The doctrine of the Trinity states that there is one infinite God being but He is three Persons. In God there is an infinite divine will and that divine will is a Person, it is the Father and He is called the first Person of the Trinity. He always wills goodness. The existence of the Father eternally causes or begets the existence of His infinite Fruit of self-knowledge. That divine Fruit (Son) of self-knowledge is a Person; it is the divine Son of God. The Son is the only infinite divine Fruit of the Father. The Son is called the second person of the Trinity. The Father sees the perfect knowledge of His own goodness in the Son and burns with infinite love for the Son, in other words He loves the knowledge of His divine will. The Son sees the infinite goodness of the Father’s will and burns with infinite love for Him and that infinite love proceeding from both the Father for the Son and from the Son for the Father is the Holy Spirit and He is the third Person of the Trinity. Theologians say that the Holy Spirit is the atmosphere of infinite love eternally proceeding from the Father to the Son and from the Son to the Father.

To recap: the existence of God’s infinitely good and almighty divine will (the Father) causes or begets the existence of His infinite self-awareness or His self-knowledge (the Son) and that divine will loves the knowledge and the knowledge loves the divine will with perfectly unselfish infinite love (the Holy Spirit).

Wherever one member of the Trinity is present all three are present. The three Persons of the Trinity exist in each other as one unit. They can never be separated in their divinity because they are one being. When the Son was on earth He was also in heaven in the Father and the Father was in Him as Jesus said: ‘No one has ascended into heaven but he who descended out of heaven, the Son of Man, who is in heaven’ (John 3: 13) and He also said: ‘I and the Father are one’ (John 10: 30). Later on Jesus said to Philip: ‘He who has seen me has seen the Father. How do you say, ‘Show us the Father? Don’t you believe that I am in the Father, and the Father in me? The words that I tell you, I speak not from myself; but the Father who lives in me does his works. Believe me that I am in the Father and the Father in me’ (John 14: 9-11). Even though they are in each other each person of the Trinity has the ability to will, to know and to love. The Father does not beget new knowledge of Himself, He continually and eternally begets His infinite knowledge of Himself. He is constantly in the action of knowing His infinite knowledge of Himself but it is not an act of His will because that would mean that the Father constantly creates the Son which He doesn’t do.

Part 2

The size of Infinity.

God is an infinite being, King David said: ‘Behold, heaven and the heaven of heavens can’t contain you’ (1 Kings 8: 27) but how big is infinity? Infinity is not a number, it is beyond all numbers because numbers are always finite no matter how incredibly big they are. If a number was to keep increasing in size without ever stopping it would still never ever in all eternity become infinite, it would always just be an enormous increasing number and still be tiny in comparison to infinity and so we can conclude that a finite object cannot ever become infinite. Similarly, if our enormous universe is finite then it is not even microscopic when compared to an infinite object or being. If the universe continued increasing in size without ever stopping, it would still never become infinite and would always be tiny when compared to an infinite object or being. For example, if every atom in this whole finite universe suddenly exploded out into a new universe the same size as our one and if that process repeated itself every few minutes without ever stopping then that whole new expanding multiverse would still never even become microscopic when compared to an infinite object or being. Atoms cannot actually do that, it is just an example. Our whole universe is practically nothing to our infinite God. God is an infinite mystery but we can understand His nature to some degree because He has given us the ability to reason and He has revealed a lot about Himself that we can understand.

Eternity

Eternity is an infinite amount of time and so even the ancient age of our universe which is approximately fourteen billion years old is tiny in comparison to eternity. The age of the universe in comparison to eternity is not even like a few milliseconds compared to one billion years. Imagine if every single atom in our whole finite universe represented one billion years, and so the total number of atoms would represent an incredible amount of time but nevertheless that incredible amount of time would not even be a tiny fraction of eternity. An infinite quantity can’t have numerical fractions because fractions are finite. Infinity is not a number and so eternity is incomprehensible.

Part 3

Yahweh - I AM

In Exodus (3: 15) Moses asked God to tell him His name and God replied, ‘Yahweh’ which is generally translated as ‘I am’. God is the only being who really has a right to say ‘I am’ because He alone is the source of His own and all existence. He invented us as unique individuals and it is only because of God’s stupendous goodness and mercy that we exist and can also say, ‘I am’.

The Trinity in Scripture

Old Testament.

Some passages in the Old Testament seem to hint at a plurality in God. In the first story of creation in Genesis (1: 1-2: 4) the term ‘God’ can refer to the Father, ‘God said’ can refer to the Son because He is the ‘Word of God’ (John 1: 1-3) and the Holy Spirit can be referred to in the phrase ‘God’s Spirit was hovering over the surface of the waters’ (Genesis 1: 1). Later on God says ‘Let us make man in our image, after our likeness’ (Genesis 1: 26) which may be a hint to the Trinity. After the story of the fall, ‘Yahweh God said, “Behold, the man has become like one of us, knowing good and evil.” (Genesis 3: 22). Later on again God says “Come, let us go down, and there confuse their language, that they may not understand one another’s speech” (Genesis 11: 7).

Another hint to the Trinity may be when God appeared to Abraham (Genesis 18: 1-2): ‘Yahweh appeared to him (Abraham) by the oaks of Mamre, as he sat in the tent door in the heat of the day. He lifted up his eyes and looked, and saw that three men stood near him’. They speak to Abraham in unison (Genesis 18: 5, 9) which is unusual if two of them are just angels.

The Prophet Isaiah gives us this passage: ‘For a child is born to us. A son is given to us; and the government will be on his shoulders. His name will be called Wonderful Counsellor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace. Of the increase of his government and of peace there shall be no end, on David’s throne, and on his kingdom, to establish it, and to uphold it with justice and with righteousness from that time on, even forever’ (Isaiah 9: 5-7). This suggests to us that the Messiah will be called the Wonderful Counsellor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father and Prince of Peace. This wonderful passage seems to clearly label the Holy Spirit, , the Father and the Son of God and states that the Messiah will have an eternal reign.

New Testament.

Frank Duff, the man who founded the Legion of Mary, wrote that the first mention of the three Persons of the Trinity in scripture was by the Angel Gabriel to Mary in Luke (1: 35): The angel answered her, ‘The Holy Spirit will come on you, and the power of the Most High will overshadow you. Therefore also the holy one who is born from you will be called the Son of God.’ In the doctrine of the Trinity we attribute God’s creative power to the Father. In the Apostles Creed we say: ‘I believe in God the Father Almighty, Creator of heaven and earth.’ The Eternal Father is referred to as the Creator. God’s creative power is in His will, He willed creation into existence.

The first public revelation of the three Persons of the Trinity is to St John the Baptist at the Baptism of Jesus in the river Jordan: ‘Immediately coming up from the water, he saw the heavens parting, and the Spirit descending on Him like a dove. A voice came out of the sky, “You are my beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased.” ’ (Mark 1: 10-11).

After Jesus ascended back to Heaven He named the three Persons of the Trinity when He told His disciples: ‘Go and make disciples of all nations, baptising them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit’ (Matthew 28: 19). By Baptism we ‘receive the Holy Spirit’ (Acts 2: 38) and are born of God. We are adopted as sisters and brothers of Jesus and so we are made members of the family of God.

Jesus and the writers of the New Testament books mentioned the three Persons of the Trinity many times on an individual basis as well.

The Three Persons: Father, Son and Holy Spirit

The Father: Divine Will

God is an infinite being and so He has an infinite will and that divine will has a personality and is known as the Father. He is the source of the existence of the Son and also the Spirit proceeds from both the Father and the Son. In the Trinity the three Persons each have an equal divine free-will. The Father ratifies the decisions of the Trinity. This may seem unfair to us until we reflect on how we ourselves make decisions. We generally use three things when we make deliberate decisions: we use our ability to know good or evil, we use our ability to love good or evil and we use our free-will to make the decision to choose good or evil. Similarly God makes all His decisions using the infinite knowledge of the Son, the infinite love of the Holy Spirit and the infinite will of the Eternal Father. So every decision is really a Trinitarian joint effort. We can say, They know, They love and They decide.

The Our Father prayer tells us that the Father dwells ‘in Heaven’ (Matthew 6: 9) but we know God is infinite and so He is omnipresent and all existence is in Him. Heaven is in Him and it is clear from scripture that the Father is God. God might invent a new creation in His knowledge (His Son) and He would love it in His Holy Spirit and finally He would will it into existence or create it by the power of His divine will in the Father.

Jesus said, ‘I have come down from heaven, not to do my own will, but the will of him who sent me’ (John 6: 38) and this shows us that Jesus has His own will but also that He came to obey the Father’s will. In the Our Father prayer we say ‘Thy will be done’ (Matthew 6: 10) and we ask the Father to make the decision to ‘Forgive us our trespasses’ (Matthew 6: 12). For Jesus the Father’s will was God’s will and in the Garden of Gethsemane He prayed to the Father for the chalice of suffering to be removed from Him but He resigned Himself to accepting the Father’s will (Luke 22: 42).

The Father of Mercy

He is the Father of Mercy, He agreed to give us everything we have and none of which we deserve. Our obedience to the Father should be based on trust in His goodness and belief in His burning love for us. God the Father forgives us through the merits of His Son’s passion and death. The Father’s will for us is always motivated by His infinite love for us and so we please Him greatly when we use our free-will to do and accept His will. God has so much respect for us that He gave us the gift of our free-will which makes us capable of making good and evil decisions. That gift gives us a greater sense of our own individuality but in a sense it is a terrifying gift because it gives us eternal power over the destiny of our immortal souls. The decisions we make in life can decide our eternal destiny.

A Father Christmas God

Our Heavenly Father is like an incredible Father-Christmas because through His Son He wants to give us the stupendous gift of eternal life in His heavenly Wonderland. The evergreen Christmas tree symbolises the Tree of Life but the real Tree of Life is the Cross of Jesus on Calvary because by His death on the Cross He bought our eternal life. The Father sent His Son down to earth to be born in Bethlehem and later allowed Him to be martyred by hanging on the Tree or the Cross on Calvary. Our heavenly Father-Christmas wants to give us presents every day of our lives, especially the gift of His Son in the sacrament of Holy Communion. In the Santa Claus story Father Christmas picks Rudolf to lead his sleigh and God often picks the outcasts of this world to be important people for Him. Our Heavenly Father has created an incredible Wonderland for us in heaven.

The Son of God: God the Son

The Son of God is God. Jesus promised to raise Himself from the dead (John 2:19, 10: 18) and after He rose from the dead He appeared to the disciples and showed St Thomas that He truly had risen from the dead and Thomas exclaimed, ‘My Lord and my God!’ (John 20: 28). St John’s gospel (John 1: 1-3) begins by stating that the divinity of Jesus as the Word of God, ‘In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God’. Later on in the same gospel we see that the Son is to be honoured just like the Father: ‘For the Father judges no one, but he has given all judgement to the Son, that all may honour the Son, even as they honour the Father. He who doesn’t honour the Son doesn’t honour the Father who sent him’ (John 5: 22-23).

Jesus claimed to be divine. Jesus said in John (16: 15) ‘All things that the Father has are mine; therefore I said that He (Holy Spirit) takes of mine and will declare it to you.’ and this shows that the three persons of the Trinity are equal to each other.

Eternal Wisdom

Saint Paul says ‘but to those who are called, both Jews and Greeks, Christ is the power of God and the wisdom of God’ (1 Corinthians 1: 24). Wisdom can be defined as knowledge of good from evil. When we want to make an important decision we sometimes ask a wise person to help us choose the good decision and reject the evil one. The Son of God is called the Wisdom of God because He is the Father’s Eternal Knowledge of Himself and since God is the infinite ‘Goodness’ then the Son is called the ‘Eternal Wisdom of God’.

If one person had perfect knowledge of another person they could become a copy of that person. Psychiatrists and Counsellors try to get to know their patients as much as possible in order to try in a sense to be their patient so that they are better able to see their patient’s problems from their point of view. So, knowledge of another person can help us to become like a copy or image of that person. The Father has always had perfect infinite knowledge of Himself and that Knowledge is His Son. Saint Paul says in Colossians (1: 15) ‘He is the image of the invisible God’ and that is because He is the Father’s perfect infinite knowledge of Himself. In Matthew (11: 27) Jesus said, ‘No one knows the Son, except the Father; neither does anyone know the Father, except the Son’. The Son is the Father’s only begotten Fruit (Son) of knowledge.

Calvary helps to support the doctrine of the Trinity.

In the inspired story of Adam and Eve two trees are mentioned: the tree of the knowledge of good and evil and the tree of eternal life. When we look at Jesus on the Tree or the Cross on Calvary we can see a Tree of the Knowledge of Good and Evil, we can see the goodness of God in redeeming us and the evil of mankind in committing sins. It is also the Tree of Eternal Life because by His death on the Tree/Cross He bought our eternal life.

Jesus on the Tree on Calvary is not just the Tree of Knowledge in that visual way but also because in the doctrine of the Trinity the Son of God is God the Father’s divine Fruit of knowledge and so when we look at Jesus on the Cross we see God the Father’s Fruit of knowledge hanging on the Tree. The Son is begotten of the Father as His Word of knowledge and He was nailed to the Tree on Calvary. Apples are on apple trees and God’s divine Fruit of Knowledge (Jesus) was nailed to the Tree on Calvary. On Calvary Jesus the New Adam or ‘Last Adam’, was tempted in vain by Satan again to commit His first sin by trying to take Himself (God’s divine Fruit of Knowledge) down from the Tree but He did not attempt to do that. He remained obedient unto death. Mary, the New Eve, must have been tempted also to try to take down her innocent divine Son but she obeyed God’s will too and did not attempt to try and take down God’s Fruit of knowledge her Son, from the Tree.

Barabbas, the Son of the Father

Nearly 2000 years ago on Good Friday two people got what they did not deserve from Pontius Pilate. Pilate gave Jesus the only Son of the Heavenly Father the greatest injustice of all time by condemning Him to torture and death, and to Barabbas, who was a notorious criminal, and whose name ironically means ‘Son of the father’ Pilate gave a great act of mercy, he set him free. Jesus, by allowing Himself to be unjustly condemned has given every human being that would ever exist the chance of eternal life, the chance of becoming an eternal child of God. Jesus offered His suffering in reparation to Divine Justice for us and so He became our source of Divine Mercy. He is the Divine Mercy of God. He took our punishment so that we could be adopted as children of God.

Son of God, the Messiah (Christ)

In Matthew (16: 16) Jesus asked His disciples who they thought He was, Simon Peter answered, “You are the Christ, the Son of the living God.” and in Matthew (22: 41-46) Jesus questioned the Pharisees about who is the father of the Messiah, and they replied that the Messiah is the ‘Son of David’ but Jesus asked them why then does David call the Messiah ‘Lord’? They could not answer. Jesus was implying and showing that the Messiah is indeed Lord and so He is greater than King David and that His Father is greater than King David. They knew in John (5: 18) that Jesus claimed that God was His Father and they correctly saw that He was showing that the Messiah is the divine Son of God, but that would be blasphemy to the Jews because for the Jews God does not have a divine Son. They nearly attempted to stone Him to death on that accusation of blasphemy. Later at His interrogation in Mark (14: 61-64) the high priest asked Him if He was the Messiah and the divine Son of God and Jesus replied ‘I am’ and then He referenced two scripture passages which will in the future prove His divinity and so they accused Him of blasphemy and condemned Him to death for it. This passage seems to show us that Jesus was executed for claiming to be the Messiah and the divine Son of God.

Mark 14: 61 Again the high priest asked him, “Are you the Christ, the Son of the Blessed?”
62 Jesus said, “I am. You will see the Son of Man sitting at the right hand of Power, (Psalm 110: 1) and coming with the clouds of the sky (Daniel 7: 14).”
63 The high priest tore his clothes, and said, “What further need have we of witnesses?
64 You have heard the blasphemy! What do you think?” They all condemned him to be worthy of death.

The Incarnation and our Redemption by the Son of God our Priest

The Son of God became the man Jesus of Nazareth over 2,000 years ago. The name Jesus is derived from the name ‘Joshua’ which means ‘God saves’ and in the Old Testament it was Joshua who led the Israelites across the River Jordan into the Promised Land but Jesus redeemed us and He leads us into the promised land of eternal salvation in heaven. When we sin we are actually rejecting God, so if we reject God by sin it would be fair for God to reject us which ultimately would mean our extermination. Sin is an infinite offence against the God of infinite love and majesty and therefore only God could atone to His justice for our sins. Offences are measured not just by the action but also by our relationship to the person who is offended. So for example, it is a greater offence to steal from our parents than from a stranger because our parents have done more for us and love us more. God gave us everything we have and He loves us with infinite love and so sin is an infinite offence. A priest is someone who offers a sacrifice. The Son of God is our High Priest who came to earth and allowed Himself to be martyred and He offered up that infinite sacrifice in atonement for our sins and the sins of the whole world.

God in His mercy created Hell because Hell is still eternal life but with fair punishment received. The fear of being exterminated would be terrifying. Jesus is the hero who suffered the experience of feeling rejected or forsaken by the Father for our sake but He rose from the dead to help us believe in eternal life. On the Cross in Matthew (27: 46) He felt rejected when He cried out, ‘My God, My God, why have you forsaken me?’ His suffering atoned to the Father for our repented sins.

Logos - Word of God

In John (1: 1) referring to Jesus as the Word of God it says, ‘In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God.’ The term ‘Word’ here comes from the Greek word ‘Logos’ which means ‘saying’ or ‘word’ but it is connected to knowledge because for us a word is a fragment of knowledge. The term ‘logy’ in words like Theology, Geology etc means the ‘knowledge of’ God etc. We use words in our mind to label objects, ideas etc. If God wanted to invent and create something new He would first imagine or know the idea of that object and then if He loved it He could will the object into existence. In order for anything to exist it has to be known first by God. This is why in John (1: 3) it says ‘All things were made through Him.’ All of Creation must be invented in the knowledge of God before it can come into existence. The Word of God is the Father’s infinite knowledge of Himself. All of creation is a figment of God’s imagination.

The Mystical Body of Christ

Jesus came to unite mankind to Himself forever and so in baptism we ‘put on Christ’ (Galatians 3: 27) and in this way He gave greater value to our prayers and our suffering in life. St Paul’s first experience of Jesus was of Him in His Mystical Body in which he was persecuting Jesus (Acts 9: 4-5). We can see in Colossians (1: 24) that St Paul understood that his own suffering was filling up on his part what ‘is lacking of the afflictions of Christ in his flesh for His body’s sake which is the’ Church, and that is because Christ was in him. Jesus said that He ‘is the vine and’ we ‘are the branches’ (John 15: 5). By joining us to Himself He made our prayers and suffering in life more valuable to obtain graces through His merits.

Mass

Jesus instituted the Last Supper and commanded the Apostles to repeat it in remembrance of Him, we now call it the Mass. At the Mass from the time of the Consecration of the bread and wine into the Body and Blood of Jesus at Calvary (by the power of the Holy Spirit through the words of the ordained priest) we can unite our sufferings, prayers and good deeds through Jesus, with Jesus and in Jesus ‘in atonement for our sins and the sins of the whole world’ (quote from the prayers of the ‘Divine Mercy’ Chaplet - St Faustina). Christians are a ‘Royal Priesthood’ (1 Peter 2: 9) because of our union with Jesus. The Mass is the greatest prayer for mercy and graces in the world. Jesus then makes Himself present risen from the dead in Holy Communion so that we can receive Him into our heart and become more and more united to Him in our lives. He is God’s Manna from Heaven and God’s new Fruit of Eternal Life and Fruit of Knowledge for us. In the story, Adam and Eve were not allowed to eat the fruit of eternal life because of their sin but because of the redemption we can now receive Jesus the Fruit of Eternal Life. Jesus said in John (6: 54) that ‘He who eats my flesh and drinks my blood has eternal life’.

God the Holy Spirit

Scripture in a few passages shows that the Holy Spirit is God as in Acts (5: 3-4), But Peter said, “Ananias, why has Satan filled your heart to lie to the Holy Spirit and to keep back part of the price of the land? ......You haven’t lied to men, but to God.” St Paul in 2 Corinthians (3: 17) referred to the Holy Spirit as Lord and Jesus referred to Him as a Person. On Pentecost Sunday He descended and appeared as a large flame of fire which then divided and rested on the heads of all present. The Holy Spirit is the bond of love and unity between the Father and the Son. Love unites and hatred divides and the Holy Spirit wants to unite us all in love in this life and eternally in the next.

The Holy Spirit proceeds from the Father and the Son

The Holy Spirit is the Spirit of the Father and the Spirit of Christ too: Romans (8: 9-10) But you are not in the flesh; you are in the Spirit, since the Spirit of God dwells in you. Anyone who does not have the Spirit of Christ does not belong to him. 10 But if Christ is in you, though the body is dead because of sin, the Spirit is life because of righteousness. Also, Galatians (4: 6), ‘Because you are sons, God has sent forth the Spirit of His Son into our hearts, crying, “Abba! Father!” The Son is the image of the Father and the Spirit proceeds from both of them for each other.

At Pentecost He was equally sent by both the Father and the Son, John (14: 16) ‘I will pray to the Father, and he will give you another Counsellor, that He may be with you forever’ and John (15: 26) ‘When the Counsellor has come, whom I will send to you from the Father, the Spirit of truth, who proceeds from the Father, He will testify about me.’ Jesus is showing that both the Father and the Son would send the Holy Spirit.

The Holy Spirit, Baptism and Confirmation

We receive the gift of the Holy Spirit in Baptism, Acts (2: 38) Peter said to them, “Repent, and be baptised, every one of you, in the name of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of sins, and you will receive the gift of the Holy Spirit”. In the sacrament of baptism our sins are washed away and we receive the gift of the Holy Spirit and are initiated into the Church which is the Body of Christ. Infant baptism is perfectly alright because Gabriel speaking about the yet unborn St John the Baptist said in Luke (1: 15) ‘He will be filled with the Holy Spirit, even from his mother’s womb’ and that shows that even unborn babies can receive the Holy Spirit. Isaiah (11: 2-3 LXX) shows the 7 gifts the Spirit would give the Messiah and therefore Christians too: 2 and the Spirit of God shall rest upon him, the spirit of wisdom and understanding, the spirit of counsel and strength, the spirit of knowledge and godliness shall fill him; 3 the spirit of the fear of God.

People who have been baptised as infants can receive the sacrament of Confirmation usually around the age of 12 in which they confirm that they want to be Christians and so usually the bishop lays hands on their heads and prays over them for the seven gifts of the Holy Spirit to become more active in them. Acts (8: 14-17) 14 Now when the apostles who were at Jerusalem heard that Samaria had received the word of God, they sent Peter and John to them, 15 who, when they had come down, prayed for them, that they might receive the Holy Spirit; 16 for as yet he had fallen on none of them. They had only been baptised in the name of Christ Jesus. 17 Then they laid their hands on them, and they received the Holy Spirit.

The Holy Spirit and Charismatic gifts

The Holy Spirit can give Charismatic gifts as well for the building up of the community: 1 Corinthians (12: 4-11) 4 Now there are various kinds of gifts, but the same Spirit. 5 There are various kinds of service, and the same Lord. 6 There are various kinds of workings, but the same God, who works all things in all. 7 But to each one is given the manifestation of the Spirit for the profit of all. 8 For to one is given through the Spirit the word of wisdom, and to another the word of knowledge, according to the same Spirit; 9 to another faith, by the same Spirit; and to another gifts of healings, by the same Spirit; 10 and to another workings of miracles; and to another prophecy; and to another discerning of spirits; to another different kinds of languages; and to another the interpretation of languages. 11 But the one and the same Spirit produces all of these, distributing to each one separately as he desires.

This passage may apply to the gift of tongues: Romans (8: 26-27) Likewise the Spirit helps us in our weakness; for we do not know how to pray as we ought, but that very Spirit intercedes with sighs too deep for words. 27 And God, who searches the heart, knows what is the mind of the Spirit, because the Spirit intercedes for the saints according to the will of God.

The Holy Spirit and forgiveness of sins

After Jesus rose from the dead He breathed the Holy Spirit on the Apostles for the ministry of forgiving sins which is available to us in the sacrament of confession: John (20: 21-23) 21 Jesus therefore said to them again, “Peace be to you. As the Father has sent me, even so I send you.” 22 When he had said this, He breathed on them, and said to them, “Receive the Holy Spirit! 23 If you forgive anyone’s sins, they have been forgiven them. If you retain anyone’s sins, they have been retained.”

The Holy Spirit and Mary

Although in human reality Mary was the spouse of Joseph, in a spiritual sense the Church calls her the Spouse of the Holy Spirit because in Matthew (1: 18) ...After his mother, Mary, was engaged to Joseph, before they came together, she was found pregnant by the Holy Spirit. In Genesis (2: 24) we see that when a man and a woman get married under God they are ‘one flesh’ and similarly we can say that the Holy Spirit and Mary’s spirit are ‘one spirit’ to some degree. We will all have spiritual union with God in heaven but Mary’s union with God is more profound because she was the Mother of God, and also because of her sanctity and she was sinlessness. Her sanctity was increased by her suffering.

Jesus is the divine Head of the Church and the Holy Spirit formed His Body through Mary at the Annunciation but ideally He continues to form the rest of the members of the Mystical Body of Jesus (the Church) through Mary. We should give ourselves to Jesus through Mary and she will prepare us better to receive the graces of the Holy Spirit so that Jesus will be formed much easier and more fully in our hearts through the graces she obtains for us from Jesus through the power of the Holy Spirit.

Mary is a symbol of what the Church will one day be in Heaven. Like Mary the Church will be spiritually sinless and virgin, having been purified and renewed by God. Mary became the “Mediatrix of all Graces” for mankind when she obeyed God's will and received Jesus because He is the New Adam and the source of all graces. In the story Eve helped to bring sin into the human race through Adam; Mary helps to bring the Graces of the Holy Spirit into the human race through her continual prayer to her Son Jesus. In the story, the devil used Eve to obtain his victory of sin and so God wants us to use the intercession of Mary (the New Eve) to obtain the graces we need to obtain our victories over sin. Through a woman’s intercession to Adam Satan succeeded so in justice through a Woman’s intercession to the New Adam he is daily defeated in our lives. Mary as the New Eve is the spiritual “Mother of all the Living” (Genesis 3: 20) and so she is the Mother of our souls and she wants Jesus to be formed in our hearts according to the will of God.

The Holy Spirit and the Church

The Church (Ekklesia is the “Assembly” (1 Tim 3: 15)) of all the true followers of Jesus. It is also called the “Bride” of Christ and since Jesus is the New or Last Adam then the Church is also a new ‘Mother of all the Living’ because she has the graces from Jesus that we need for salvation. Through the Church in baptism the Holy Spirit washes away all our sins and makes us children of God and then, if we allow Him, in the other Sacraments of the Church He will give us so many gifts and graces during our lives to help us become more like Jesus so that Jesus will increase in us and we will decrease so that it is no longer we who live but Christ who lives in us. Jesus commanded us in John (13: 35) “Just as I have loved you, you also love one another” but we can only do this if the Holy Spirit forms Jesus in our hearts. We should continually ask the Holy Spirit to form Jesus in our hearts so that we can overcome sin.

The New Pentecost of the Holy Spirit

Pope Saint John Paul II spoke about and believed that there would be a New Pentecost in the Church, an age of the Spirit brought about with the help of Mary’s intercession to her Son. Saint Peter quoted this passage from the Prophet Joel (2: 28-32) in Acts (2: 17-21) referring to the first Pentecost. We hope and pray that the Holy Spirit will come and unite all people.
28 “It will happen afterward, that I will pour out my Spirit on all flesh; and your sons and your daughters will prophesy. Your old men will dream dreams. Your young men will see visions.
29 And also on the servants and on the handmaids in those days, I will pour out my Spirit.
30 I will show wonders in the heavens and in the earth: blood, fire, and pillars of smoke.
31 The sun will be turned into darkness, and the moon into blood, before the great and terrible day of Yahweh comes.
32 It will happen that whoever will call on Yahweh’s name shall be saved; for in Mount Zion and in Jerusalem there will be those who escape, as Yahweh has said, and among the remnant, those whom Yahweh calls.

The Sacred Heart and the Holy Spirit

The Sacred Heart of Jesus is on fire with the love of the Holy Spirit for the Father and for all people. We should ask Mary to pray to Jesus on our behalf so that He will ask the Father to send the Holy Spirit into our hearts to form Jesus in our heart more and more.

Part 4

Some Apologetics

God is omnipotent, omnibenevolent and omniscient.

God is all powerful, all loving and all knowing. God is omnipotent but that doesn’t mean He can do what is illogical like for example totally disappear or turn a white object black without changing the colour. Sometimes illogical questions are asked about what God can do.

God is infinite love but love is fair or just and so God is just and can treat His creatures with perfect justice when they do good or evil if they haven’t repented. Having a time to repent depends on the level of knowledge they have so for example the angels were given profound knowledge of God and so they could not repent because they knew well what they were doing.

God’s knowledge of the future does not affect the future or His decisions in the present. It is often argued that God can’t be omnipotent and omniscient at the same time. The future that God knows is the real future that will have happened in reality. If God has the ability to make a decision X based on a reason Y it doesn’t matter if He already knew beforehand that He would make that decision for that reason.

An infinite container.

Everything is contained in a container so that would suggest that all existence is in an infinite container. The idea that there is a finite bubble (not necessarily with a skin boundary) of existence like our universe or perhaps a multiverse that is not surrounded by any existence does not seem reasonable. That bubble would never be able to expand and nothing in it for example like a comet could ever escape from it because there would be no existence outside of it for it to expand or escape into. There would be no ‘outside’ of it. Our universe is expanding and so it could not expand if there is no space or existence for it to expand into. If a comet from within the bubble hurled itself against that boundary it would either explode or rebound. The boundary would in a sense be like an impenetrable stone-wall. So it seems more reasonable to think that existence is surrounded by some physical existence or it is contained as we believe in God. For us God is the infinite existence that contains our universe or even multiverse bubble.

Could the Universe be eternal if God didn’t actually exist?

Some people believe that the matter of our universe has existed in some form or another for all of eternity and therefore the Big Bang was just another event that happened a mere fourteen billion years ago in an eternal series of events but that raises a few questions. We would have to wonder if a physical series of events is possible to continue for all eternity without settling down? Perhaps if the events were cyclic, so for example, the universe repeatedly expands and contracts for all eternity, but at present our universe is accelerating in its expansion and that doesn’t make a contraction seem very possible and also apparently our universe will expand forever but eventually lose all its heat and in a sense die. In an eternal series of events there would have been no initial cause of the events but each event would be caused by the previous one and also there would be no cause for the existence of the whole system of events because it is eternal. It would be an uncaused eternal system full of caused events. There would be a reason for everything that happens in the system but no reason for the existence of the system. That does not seem to be very plausible. There would also be the question of where are we in eternity? We can’t be at the beginning or the end because eternity has no beginning or end so we would have to be in the middle of eternity but there is already an eternity behind us and there is an eternity in front of us which really doesn’t make sense. From a natural perspective I don’t think we can keep adding more and more time and events to eternity. It seems much more reasonable to accept and believe that time was started by God in the past when He began creation with a first event. We don’t have to worry about such problems because the revelation of God’s existence in scripture and in our own experience of Him solves those problems since God is infinite and eternal.

Existence of the Universe from non-existence without God

Is it possible that the universe or creation just suddenly sprang into existence from non-existence? It doesn’t seem reasonable that there was non-existence and suddenly the universe or creation sprang into existence from non-existence. No existence can spring from non-existence without divine intervention.

Conclusion

To conclude, we can never understand fully the Mystery of the Trinity. God decided to share His love with creatures that He Himself would invent into existence. He is not somewhere in Creation, Creation is in Him. He created Creation so large and so long ago to help us to understand just how awesome and how old He is. No creature, not even the greatest saint or angel, before they existed could have merited or deserved to have been invented and created. Nor can we in our short lives ever deserve eternal life but He is infinitely merciful. God gives us 24 hours a day every day of our short lives and we usually hate spending time with Him. His Sacred Heart burns with Love for us but when we sin we pierce His Heart like a crown of thorns but we also pierce His Heart if we do not believe that He Loves us no matter how good or bad we are. If you love someone and that person does not believe that you love them then you feel pain in your heart, well it is the same with God.

In order to get to know the Holy Trinity better we should ask Mary the Mother of Jesus to help us, she is the unique Mother of the Son, the Spouse of the Holy Spirit and the perfect Daughter of the Eternal Father. She looked at her Son and knew that He was the Son of God, and by listening to Him and contemplating Him she got to profoundly know the Trinity. We can get to know God’s love for us better if we reflect on the Incarnation and Passion of Jesus. God knew that when He gave humans free-will that He was giving us a very self-destructible power but God has so much love and respect for us that He wanted us to be free to choose. God wants to share His supernatural will, His supernatural knowledge and most importantly His supernatural love with us for all eternity in heaven. Heaven is freedom, hell is slavery.

As St Paul says in the 1 Corinthians (2: 9) “Things which an eye didn’t see, and an ear didn’t hear, which didn’t enter into the heart of man, these God has prepared for those who love him.”

Prayer of Reparation

St Michael the Archangel taught the children at Fatima:
‘Most Holy Trinity, Father, Son and Holy Spirit
I adore You profoundly and I offer You the Most Precious Body,
Blood, Soul and Divinity of Jesus Christ present in all the
Tabernacles of the world in reparation for the
Outrages, Sacrileges and Indifferences by which He is offended
and by the infinite merits of His Most Sacred Heart and the Immaculate Heart of Mary
I ask You for the conversion of poor sinners.’

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