Trinity is central mystery of Christian faith

Published: June 5, 2017

En Español

This year, the Solemnity of the Most Holy Trinity is celebrated Sunday, June 11. It highlights our Triune God; three Persons in one: the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit. "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.'" (Catechism of the Catholic Church, no. 234)

"Jesus said to his disciples: 'I have much more to tell you, but you cannot bear it now. But when he comes, the Spirit of truth, he will guide you to all truth. He will not speak on his own, but he will speak what he hears, and will declare to you the things that are coming. He will glorify me, because he will take from what is mine and declare it to you. Everything that the Father has is mine; for this reason I told you that he will take from what is mine and declare it to you." (John 16:12-15)

Busted Halo offers this analogy to help explain the Trinity. "Think of the different states of matter: solid, liquid and gas. Ice can become water and water can become steam. All of these are the same essence and contain equal amounts of hydrogen and oxygen but they appear in different forms. ... God is three 'persons' but one 'essence.' The Father is just as much 'God' as the Son and neither are 'more God' than the Spirit."

God the Father — First Person of the Trinity, the creator from whom everything flows and has being. "While the Son and the Holy Spirit are not “lesser gods” they do proceed from the Father as God’s own self-gift to humanity."

God the Son — Second Person of the Trinity, Jesus himself. He is God who became man. "God becomes like us and dies our human death for us. But because Jesus is God, he cannot be held by death and rises to a new life, supremely better than human experience."

God the Holy Spirit — Third Person of the Trinity. He proceeds from both the Father and the Son. "The Spirit is God’s real presence living within all of us, which brings us inspiration (which literally means 'to draw in the Spirit')."

To learn more, watch this series of videos from Bishop Robert Barron that explain various aspects of the Trinity.