Collect of the Day:
O God and Father, by sending the Word of truth and the Spirit of holiness into the world you revealed to mankind the great mystery of your being.
Grant that we may profess the true faith,
acknowledge the eternal glory of the Trinity,
and worship your Unity of majestic power.
Through our Lord Jesus Christ, your Son,
who lives and reigns with you in the unity of the Holy Spirit,
God for ever and ever.
The First Reading: Exodus: 34:4-6. 8-9: The Lord God, ruler of all, merciful and loving.
The Second Reading: II Corinthians: 13:11-13: The grace of Our Lord Jesus Christ and the love of God and the fellowship of the Holy Spirit be with you all.
The Gospel: John: 3:16-18: God sent His Son to save the world through Him.
Today we celebrate the Solemnity of The Most Blessed Trinity. The concept of The Trinity is one of the Mysteries of the Christian Faith, a concept that is found hard to grasp by both the followers of Judaism and Islam. As well as some other groups like the Unitarians and the Jehovah’s Witnesses. Probably because the idea of Three Persons united in One Godhead seems to defy reason.
What is most important to remember when considering the Trinity, is as Bishop Kallistos Ware explains in his book ‘The Orthodox Way’:
“A God, that is to say, whom we claim to understand exhaustively through the resources of our reasoning brain turns out to be no more than an idol, fashioned in our own image. Such a “God” is most emphatically not the true and living God of the Bible and the Church. Man is made in God’s image, but the reverse is not true.”
“The Christian God is not just a unit but a union, not just a unity but community……… He is not a single person loving Himself alone, not a self contained monad of “The One.” He is a triunity: three equal persons, each one dwelling in the other two by virtue of an unceasing movement of virtual love.”
Here we see that love can not exist in a vacuum, any love which is not directed outwards easily becomes narcissistic and this is not a quality of the Eternal Godhead. I leave you with a letter from Saint Athanasius, the great defender of the Most Blessed Trinity to explain this Mystery in greater deail.
A letter by St Athanasius
Light, radiance and grace are in the Trinity and from the Trinity
It will not be out of place to consider the ancient tradition, teaching and faith of the Catholic Church, which was revealed by the Lord, proclaimed by the apostles and guarded by the fathers. For upon this faith the Church is built, and if anyone were to lapse from it, he would no longer be a Christian either in fact or in name.
We acknowledge the Trinity, holy and perfect, to consist of the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit. In this Trinity there is no intrusion of any alien element or of anything from outside, nor is the Trinity a blend of creative and created being. It is a wholly creative and energising reality, self-consistent and undivided in its active power, for the Father makes all things through the Word and in the Holy Spirit, and in this way the unity of the holy Trinity is preserved. Accordingly, in the Church, one God is preached, one God who is above all things and through all things and in all things. God is above all things as Father, for he is principle and source; he is through all things through the Word; and he is in all things in the Holy Spirit.
Writing to the Corinthians about spiritual matters, Paul traces all reality back to one God, the Father, saying: Now there are varieties of gifts, but the same Spirit; and varieties of service, but the same Lord; and there are varieties of service but the same Lord; and there are varieties of working, but it is the same God who inspires them all in everyone.
Even the gifts that the Spirit dispenses to individuals are given by the Father through the Word. For all that belongs to the Father belongs also to the Son, and so the graces given by the Son in the Spirit are true gifts of the Father. Similarly, when the Spirit dwells in us, the Word who bestows the Spirit is in us too, and the Father is present in the Word. This is the meaning of the text: My Father and I will come to him and make our home with him. For where the light is, there also is the radiance; and where the radiance is, there too are its power and its resplendent grace.
This is also Paul’s teaching in his second letter to the Corinthians: The grace of our Lord Jesus Christ and the love of God and the fellowship of the Holy Spirit be with you all. For grace and the gift of the Trinity are given by the Father through the Son in the Holy Spirit. Just as grace is given from the Father through the Son, so there could be no communication of the gift to us except in the Holy Spirit. But when we share in the Spirit, we possess the love of the Father, the grace of the Son and the fellowship of the Spirit himself.
God, we praise you; Lord, we proclaim you!
You, the Father, the eternal –
all the earth venerates you.
All the angels, all the heavens, every power –
The cherubim, the seraphim –
unceasingly, they cry:
“Holy, Holy, Holy, Lord God of Hosts:
heaven and earth are full of the majesty of your glory!”
The glorious choir of Apostles –
The noble ranks of prophets –
The shining army of martyrs –
all praise you.
Throughout the world your holy Church proclaims you.
– Father of immeasurable majesty,
– True Son, only-begotten, worthy of worship,
– Holy Spirit, our Advocate.
– You are the king of glory.
– You are the Father’s eternal Son.
– You, to free mankind, did not disdain a Virgin’s womb.
– You defeated the sharp spear of Death, and opened the kingdom of heaven to those who believe in you.
– You sit at God’s right hand, in the glory of the Father.
– You will come, so we believe, as our Judge.
And so we ask of you: give help to your servants, whom you set free at the price of your precious blood.
Number them among your chosen ones in eternal glory.
Bring your people to safety, Lord, and bless those who are your inheritance.
Rule them and lift them high for ever.
Day by day we bless you, Lord: we praise you for ever and for ever.
Of your goodness, Lord, keep us without sin for today.
Have mercy on us, Lord, have mercy on us.
Let your pity, Lord, be upon us, as much as we trust in you.
In you, Lord, I trust: let me never be put to shame.
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.