The Trinity’s teaching role

Everyone who glorifies God does so through the Son in the Holy Spirit, writes Cathal Barry

From the beginning, the revealed truth of the Holy Trinity has been at the very root of the Churchís living faith, principally by means of Baptism. It finds its expression in the rule of baptismal faith, formulated in the preaching, catechesis and prayer of the Church.

During the first centuries the Church sought to clarify her Trinitarian faith, both to deepen her own understanding of the Faith and to defend it against the errors that were deforming it. This clarification was the work of the early councils, aided by the theological work of the Church Fathers and sustained by the Christian peopleís sense of the Faith.

In order to articulate the dogma of the Trinity, the Church had to develop her own terminology with the help of certain notions of philosophical origin: ìsubstanceî, ìpersonî or ìhypostasisî, ìrelationî and so on. In doing this, she did not submit the Faith to human wisdom, but gave a new and unprecedented meaning to these terms, which from then on would be used to signify an ineffable mystery.

The Church uses the term ìsubstanceî to designate the divine being in its unity, the term ìpersonî or ìhypostasisî to designate the Father, Son and Holy Spirit in the real distinction among them, and the term ìrelationî to designate the fact that their distinction lies in the relationship of each to the others.

The Church teaches that the Trinity is one. The Catechism states: ìWe do not confess three Gods, but one God in three persons. The divine persons do not share the one divinity among themselves but each of them is God whole and entire.î

The divine persons are relative to one another, according to the Church. Because it does not divide the divine unity, the real distinction of the persons from one another resides solely in the relationships which relate them to one another.

The whole divine economy is the common work of the three divine persons. For as the Trinity has only one and the same natures so too does it have only one and the same operation. However, each divine person performs the common work according to his unique personal property. It is above all the divine mission of the Sonís Incarnation and the gift of the Holy Spirit that reveal the properties of the divine persons.

The Church teaches that the whole Christian life is a communion with each of the divine persons, without in any way separating them.

Everyone who glorifies the Father does so through the Son in the Holy Spirit; everyone who follows Christ does so because the Father draws him and the Spirit moves him.