Posts Tagged ‘Athanasian Creed’

Most Blessed Trinity by Fr. Reid

In 05 Homilies by Fr. Reid on 2011/06/18 at 7:00 AM

• One of the great creedal documents of our Faith is the Athanasian Creed, which provides a rather terse but clear exposition of our Catholic beliefs regarding the Trinity as well as the Incarnation.

• While whether or not St. Athanasius is actually the author of this creed is subject to debate, the theological content of this creed is not. Indeed, this beautiful document – which was originally intended for liturgical use – is a wonderfully concise treatise on what is often considered one of the most difficult to understand dogmas of our faith.

• I mention the Athanasian Creed because today, my friends, the Church celebrates the Solemnity of the Most Holy Trinity. In doing so we are celebrating the central tenet of our Christian heritage: that not only does God exists, but that He exists as a Trinity of persons.

• Belief in the Holy Trinity is the central tenet of our faith because it is the mystery of God in Himself, and as such it is the source of all the other mysteries of our faith.

• To be Christian means to express faith in not just a god, but in a triune God: Father, Son and Holy Spirit, and to enter into relationship with Him.

• When we are baptized, we are baptized in the name of the Father, Son and Holy Spirit. Through our baptism we are called to actually share in the life of the Blessed Trinity, both here on earth and eternally in Heaven.

• Making the sign of the cross is our constant reminder of the Trinitarian reality of our God and our call to share in the life of the Trinity.

• As we celebrate this central tenet of our faith, there are two fundamental points for us to consider. First, the mystery of the Trinity is a dogmatic mystery of the Faith that we will never fully comprehend in this life.

• God is infinite, but our minds and our capacity to intellectually grasp things are quite finite. Therefore, when we come to study our Lord and the mysteries of our faith, naturally there are going to be certain things that we cannot fully understand.

• When we run across these mysteries that we cannot fully grasp, we must simply accept them obediently with faith. And while obedience is not always valued in our American society, it is vitally important for the practice of our faith.

• One of the secrets of the spiritual life is that obedience is often a precursor to understanding. When we choose to be obedient to the Lord and accept difficult teachings with faith and love, we are often graced with a deeper understanding of the mystery.

• The humility and docility that obedience requires of us has a way of opening our minds and hearts more fully to mysteries of our Faith, and thus we should learn to be obedient to all the teachings of the Church – even if at first blush we may not understand or agree with them.

• The second point for us to consider today is that the Trinity shows us that we are all called to the vocation to love. Our Lord exists not simply as a trinity of person, but as a communion of love. As St. John tells us in the Scriptures, God is love.

• So as we meditate on the Trinity today, we are called to meditate on God’s love, on His goodness. Our first reading today from the Book of Deuteronomy speaks of God’s love.

• Deuteronomy speaks of the abiding love God has for His people, which has been shown by the tremendous ways God has manifested His power in human history.

• Certainly it makes perfect sense that God would reveal Himself in ways that manifest His love for us because God is Love. Love is God’s very nature, His essence. And as we are created in His image and likeness, it is our nature, too, to love. Indeed, it is our vocation as Christians to love.

• Recently, I spoke about vocations to priesthood and religious life as well as the vocation to married life in homilies during the Easter season.

• As Christians, regardless of whether or not we are called to those particular vocations, all of us are called to the vocation of love. All of us are called to love one another and to be joined in the loving union of the Trinity. It is what our Lord has created us for.

• St. Paul’s Letter to the Romans reminds us today that we are children of God and heirs of God with Christ. Therefore, we are called to be and act like Christ if we wish to be glorified with Him. We must learn to love as God loves, if we wish to join in that communion of love in Heaven.

• The Holy Trinity teaches us exactly what love is, and the true love we learn about from God is much different from the false forms of love we see portrayed on TV or in the movies. It is much different than the love our society propounds today.

• The world tells us that love is a warm feeling that is primarily expressed through intimate physical contact. The world tells us that love is fragile, that it is easily lost, that it doesn’t require commitment or even fidelity to the one we love.

• And the world also tells us that we can stop loving someone if it’s inconvenient, costs us too much or causes us too much pain.

• In contrast, if we look at the actions of the Blessed Trinity, Who Is Love, we get a different picture of what love really is. Consider the actions of the three Persons of the Holy Trinity for a moment:

• God the Father, Who Is Love, chose to create the world and gave man every material thing he needed to survive and be happy.

• The Father also gave us His laws to live by and entered into an eternal covenant with us, helping us to understand what is truly right and good so that we could live in complete freedom as His children. And when man transgressed that law, the Father punished man so that he could learn from his mistakes.

• God the Father, Who Is Love, loves us so much that He gave us His only Son. And this Son, Jesus Christ, Who Is also Love, loves us so much that He suffered a very cruel and agonizingdeath so that we might not perish, but might have eternal life.

• And this Son, Who Is Love, loves us so much that He sent us the Holy Spirit. And this Holy Spirit, the Comforter and Advocate, Who Is also Love, and Who proceeds from the Father and the Son, loves us so much that He comes to us to guide us and bring us peace.

• As long as we remain in a state of grace, the Holy Spirit remains in our soul!

• From the Blessed Trinity we learn that true love is a choice, it’s an act of the will. From the Trinity we learn that love is creative, generous, faithful and helps to correct the faults of the lover and the beloved.

• From the Blessed Trinity we learn that true love is sacrificial and often demands suffering for the sake of the beloved. From the Blessed Trinity we learn that true love gives comfort, direction, and peace to the beloved.

• This is the love our Lord gives to us, and it’s the love we are called to give to Him and to one another.

• My dear friends in Christ, know now and fix in your hearts that the Lord is God in the heavens above and on earth below, and that there is no other.

• And most importantly, know that this Lord whom we worship is Himself a communion of love in whose life we are called to share.

• Moreover, He makes the promise to be with us always, even until the end of the world.

• Therefore, let us learn to love God and one another well here on earth so that we will be properly prepared to be united with our Lord and one another in Heaven.

Copyright 2009 by Reverend Timothy S. Reid

Reverend Reid is pastor of St. Ann’s Catholic  Church in Charlotte, NC