Life with the Trinity

Philosophers tell us that the essence of a relation is to be ad aliquid — “towards another.” In considering our own relationships, the most important ones we can speak of are those we have with the Holy Trinity and Our Lady. Elsewhere, we have considered the trifold relationship of the Blessed Virgin with the Three Persons. Hers not only forms a model of our own relationship with the Trinity, but it also enters into the causality of that relationship, so important was her fiat in salvation history. Those earlier considerations, which may be found online, lie in the background of these present reflections.

Jesus told us that “No man cometh to the Father, but by me” (John 16:4). That is, no man has God as his Father without being a member of Christ. This is echoed in the utterance of Saint Cyprian: “You cannot have God for your Father if you have not the Church for your mother.” As Mary’s central title and most important prerogative, Theotokos, establishes her in a relationship with God the Son, so our central title as Christians, Members of Christ, effects in us a relationship with Jesus, which also constitutes us as sons of the Father and as recipients of the Gift of the Holy Ghost. All our graces as Christians flow from our relationship with the Mediator: “For there is one God, and one mediator of God and men, the man Christ Jesus” (I Timothy 2:5). As members of the Body of Our Lord, we are entitled to say the prayer which is, uniquely, “the Lord’s” — the Our Father. All men are God’s creatures, but not all are His sons. The Sacred Humanity of Our Lord is the nexus through which we enter into a relationship with the Triune God by faith and baptism.


The foregoing paragraph, by the way, explains why there is absolutely no salvation outside the Catholic Church. The vital union we enter into with the Trinity takes place through the Mystical Body of Christ, which is the Church.

God wills to sanctify us by divinizing us. He does this by making us His sons, that is, by entering into a familial relationship with us. “I have said: You are gods and all of you the sons of the most High” (Psalms 81:6).

All this was made possible by the Incarnation. When Saint Mary Magdalene reached out to touch the resurrected Christ, she received this very revealing rebuke: “Jesus saith to her: Do not touch me, for I am not yet ascended to my Father. But go to my brethren, and say to them: I ascend to my Father and to your Father, to my God and your God” (John 20:17). Father Feeney said that before the Incarnation, the heavenly Father was our God, and the Father of the Eternal Word; but after the Incarnation, Jesus can call our God, His God, and we can call His Father, our Father. Islam, a notably fruitless religion in many respects, completely rejects the Fatherhood of God. “God begets not, nor is he begotten” they blasphemously allege in the Qur’an (Surah 112:3). This attacks both the dogma of the Trinity, and the fundamental Catholic notion that God adopts us as His children, sanctifying us by means of that intimate relationship.

Having been identified with His only-begotten Son and thereby adopted as children of the Eternal Father, we now have a relationship with the First Person of the Trinity. We can pray the Our Father. We can hope for our heavenly inheritance from our divine Parent. Many are of the opinion that Jesus cannot utter the Our Father, because it asks for forgiveness of our trespasses. Father Feeney was of a contrary opinion: As Head of the Mystical Body, Jesus, as it were, holds our hands and says the Our Father with us. While He could not ask for forgiveness of His own sins (which do not exist), He can, in solidarity with His Members, ask for forgiveness in the first person plural.

We can also, as members of Christ and sons of the Father, receive the Gift of their mutual love for one another. That Gift is none other than the Third Person, whom Saint Thomas tells us has as His proper name both “Gift” and “Charity.”

By Her Immaculate Conception and fulness of grace, Mary is, of all sheer humans, the only perfect child of God the Father. She is the only one properly called Mother of God the Son. She is also uniquely the Spouse of the Holy Ghost. But by God’s grace and Her intercession, we can strive to be better sons and daughters of God the Father, holier members of God the Son, and more docile and grateful recipients of that divine Gift that is the mutual love of the Father and the Son.

My dear brothers and sisters, the true God is the Holy Trinity. By virtue of our baptism, we are called to holiness, to be ad aliquid with each of the Trinitarian Persons, who, in turn, want to have an intimate relationship with every one of us singly. “Every best gift, and every perfect gift, is from above, coming down from the Father of lights, with whom there is no change, nor shadow of alteration” (James 1:17), “who hath delivered us from the power of darkness, and hath translated us into the kingdom of the Son of his love” (Col. 1:13), who, if we love Him and keep His commandments, the Father will give us another Paraclete, who will abide with us for ever: “the spirit of truth, whom the world cannot receive, because it seeth him not, nor knoweth him: but you shall know him; because he shall abide with you, and shall be in you” (John 14:17).

What is it but our own lack of generosity with God that keeps us from uttering, with Blessed Elizabeth of the Trinity:

No more will you find me at the water’s edge;
I have plunged into infinity, where I belong.
With my Three I live at peace,
In the wide freedom of eternity.