Catholicism, Catholic, Traditional Catholicism, Catholic Church


``Where the Bishop is, there let the multitude of believers be;
even as where Jesus is, there is the Catholic Church'' Ignatius of Antioch, 1st c. A.D


Trinity Sunday

 
 
 
We have thus far lived out the drama of Christ's earthly life -- His Nativity at Christmas, His revealing Himself as God at the Epiphany, His time in the desert at Lent, His Passion and Resurrection at Good Friday and Easter. We recalled His glorious Ascension, and at last week's Pentecost, the Holy Ghost has descended upon the Church, sent by the Father and the Son.
 
God's Triune Nature has been fully revealed, and now we celebrate the Most Holy Trinity on this day, hearing in today's Gospel, "All power is given to Me in heaven and on earth. Going therefore, teach ye all nations, baptizing them in the Name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Ghost. Teaching them to observe all the things whatsoever I have commanded you; and behold I am with you all days even to the consummation of the world" (this is known as the "Great Commission").

And with this Mass, the Time After Pentecost, the season that represents the Church Age, begins. Vestments today will be white.
Viola tricolor
Symbols for the day are the natural symbols of the Trinity -- the shamrock used by St. Patrick to explain the Trinity to the ancient Irish, the pansy -- viola tricolor -- called the "Trinity Flower," a candle with 3 flames, the triangle, the trefoil, 3 interlocking circles, etc.
 
There are no particular customs for the day that I am aware of, but I urge meditating on the short, poetic tale of St. Augustine's encounter with the mysterious boy at the seashore, and reading the 4th c. Athanasian Creed -- the statement of Faith that best summarizes Catholic teaching on the Trinity. Both of these are presented below.

 
 

The Athanasian Creed

Whoever wishes to be saved must, above all, keep the Catholic faith. For unless a person keeps this faith whole and entire, he will undoubtedly be lost forever. This is what the catholic faith teaches: we worship one God in the Trinity and the Trinity in unity. Neither confounding the Persons, nor dividing the substance. For there is one Person of the Father, another of the Son, another of the Holy Spirit.

But the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit have one divinity, equal glory, and coeternal majesty. What the Father is, the Son is, and the Holy Spirit is.

The Father is uncreated, the Son is uncreated, and the Holy Spirit is uncreated. The Father is boundless, the Son is boundless, and the Holy Spirit is boundless. The Father is eternal, the Son is eternal, and the Holy Spirit is eternal.

Nevertheless, there are not three eternal beings, but one eternal being. So there are not three uncreated beings, nor three boundless beings, but one uncreated being and one boundless being. Likewise, the Father is omnipotent, the Son is omnipotent, the Holy Spirit is omnipotent.


Yet there are not three omnipotent beings, but one omnipotent being. Thus the Father is God, the Son is God, and the Holy Spirit is God.

However, there are not three gods, but one God. The Father is Lord, the Son is Lord, and the Holy Spirit is Lord. However, there are not three lords, but one Lord. For as we are obliged by Christian truth to acknowledge every Person singly to be God and Lord, so too are we forbidden by the Catholic religion to say that there are three Gods or Lords.

The Father was not made, nor created, nor generated by anyone. The Son is not made, nor created, but begotten by the Father alone. The Holy Spirit is not made, nor created, nor generated, but proceeds from the Father and the Son. There is, then, one Father, not three Fathers; one Son, not three sons; one Holy Spirit, not three holy spirits. In this Trinity, there is nothing before or after, nothing greater or less. The entire three Persons are coeternal and coequal with one another. So that in all things, as is has been said above, the Unity is to be worshiped in Trinity and the Trinity in Unity.


He, therefore, who wishes to be saved, must believe thus about the Trinity. It is also necessary for eternal salvation that he believes steadfastly in the incarnation of our Lord Jesus Christ. Thus the right faith is that we believe and confess that our Lord Jesus Christ, the Son of God, is both God and man. As God, He was begotten of the substance of the Father before time; as man, He was born in time of the substance of His Mother. He is perfect God; and He is perfect man, with a rational soul and human flesh. He is equal to the Father in His divinity, but inferior to the Father in His humanity. Although He is God and man, He is not two, but one Christ. And He is one, not because His divinity was changed into flesh, but because His humanity was assumed unto God. He is one, not by a mingling of substances, but by unity of person. As a rational soul and flesh are one man: so God and man are one Christ. He died for our salvation, descended into Hell, and rose from the dead on the third day. He ascended into Heaven, sits at the right hand of God the Father almighty. From there He shall come to judge the living and the dead. At His coming, all men are to arise with their own bodies; and they are to give an account of their own deeds. Those who have done good deeds will go into eternal life; those who have done evil will go into the everlasting fire.

This is the Catholic faith. Everyone must believe it, firmly and steadfastly; otherwise He cannot be saved. Amen.

 

The Vision of St. Augustine, by Botticelli

 
Reading

The Story of St. Augustine and the Boy at the Beach
as recounted in the Golden Legend,
written in A.D. 1275 by Jacobus de Voragine, Archbishop of Genoa

Many other miracles hath God showed by his [St. Augustine's] life, and also after his death, which were overlong to write in this book, for they would, I suppose, contain a book as much as all this and more, but among other corrections, I will set herein one miracle, which I have seen painted on an altar of St. Austin at the black friars at Antwerp, howbeit I find it not in the legend, mine exemplar, neither in English, French, ne in Latin.

It was so that this glorious doctor made and compiled many volumes, as afore is said, among whom he made a book of the Trinity, in which he studied and mused sore in his mind, so far forth that on a time as he went by the sea-side in Africa, studying on the Trinity, he found by the sea-side a little child which had made a little pit in the sand, and in his hand a little spoon. And with the spoon he took out water of the large sea and poured it into the pit.

And when St. Augustin beheld him he marvelled, and demanded him what he did. And he answered and said: "I will lade out and bring all this water of the sea into this pit."

"What?" said he, "it is impossible, how may it be done, sith the sea is so great and large, and thy pit and spoon so little?"

"Yes, forsooth," said he, "I shall lightlier and sooner draw all the water of the sea and bring it into this pit than thou shalt bring the mystery of the Trinity and His Divinity into thy little understanding as to the regard thereof; for the Mystery of the Trinity is greater and larger to the comparison of thy wit and brain than is this great sea unto this little pit."

And therewith the child vanished away. Then here may every man take ensample that no man, and especially simple lettered men, ne unlearned, presume to intermit ne to muse on high things of the Godhead, farther than we be informed by our faith, for our only faith shall suffice us.

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