More on the Most Holy Trinity

There will always be those who, when unable to comprehend the profound mysteries of our Glorious Faith revealed to us by the Word of God, and defined by His Holy Bride, the Church, turn to mockery or denial. Unbelievers and heretics, and those who have to “see to believe”, suffer from a lack of trust and humility, and an overpowering conviction of their own self-righteousness.

 

A homily by Father George W. Rutler:

The Feast of the Holy Trinity follows Pentecost because it is only by the inspiration of the Third Person of the Trinity, who leads into all truth, that the mystery of the Trinity can be known. Human intelligence needs God’s help to apprehend the inner reality of God. Certainly, human reason can employ natural analysis to some extent to describe God in terms of causality and motion and goodness. Saint Anselm, who models the universality of Christendom by being both an Italian and an Archbishop of Canterbury, said that “God is that, than which nothing greater can be conceived.”

A house is a house because it houses. But what is in the house is known only by entering it. Since creatures cannot enter the Creator, he makes himself known by coming into his creation. “No one has seen God at any time. The only begotten Son, who is in the bosom of the Father, he has declared him” (John 1:18).

Had we invented the Trinitarian formula, it would be only a notion instead of a fact. There are just three choices: to acknowledge what God himself has declared, to deny it completely, or to change it to what makes sense without God’s help. That is why most heresies are rooted in mistakes about the Three in One and One in Three.

Unitarianism, for example, is based on a Socinian heresy. Mormonism is an exotic version of the Arian heresy. Islam has its roots in the Nestorian heresy. All three reject the Incarnation and the Trinity but selectively adopt other elements of Christianity. Like Hilaire Belloc in modern times, Dante portrayed Mohammed not as a founder of a religion but simply as a hugely persuasive heretic, albeit persuading most of the time with a sword rather than dialectic. These religions, however, are not categorically Christian heresies since “Heresy is the obstinate post-baptismal denial of some truth which must be believed with divine and catholic faith . . .” (Catechism, 2089). Only someone who has been baptized can be an actual heretic.

Cultures are shaped by cult: that is, the way people live depends on what they worship or refuse to worship. A culture that is hostile to the Holy Trinity spins out of control. In 1919, William Butler Yeats looked on the mess of his world after the Great War:

Things fall apart; the centre cannot hold;

Mere anarchy is loosed upon the world . . .

That is the chaotic decay of human creatures ignorant of their Triune God. “The best lack all conviction, while the worst / Are full of passionate intensity.” But to worship the “Holy, Holy, Holy” God as the center and source of reality is to confound anarchy: “For in Him all things were created, things in heaven and on earth, visible and invisible . . . He is before all things, and in him all things hold together” (Colossians 1:16-17).

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7 Responses to More on the Most Holy Trinity

  1. Father Rutler writes, “Dante portrayed Mohammed not as a founder of a religion but simply as a hugely persuasive heretic, albeit persuading most of the time with a sword rather than dialectic.”

    And 1400 years later, Mohammed’s followers are still at it, not always with a sword, of course; sometimes with knives, trucks, cars, bombs, rifles, whatever they can use as a weapon.

    And how does our culture respond? With hostility toward the one thing that could save us, as Father Rutler suggests: belief in God as He has revealed Himself. But since vast numbers of people in Europe and America cannot believe, then it really is inevitable that

    “Things fall apart; the centre cannot hold;
    Mere anarchy is loosed upon the world . . .”

  2. Declan says:

    Mr Bennett is not in the least interested in stopping terrorism. He prefers the mob mentality – which martyred Catholics have suffered from over time. Mr Bennett won’t talk about the causes of terror., which is the terror on a grand scale by mainly the US -Blowback. Mr Bennett might tell us why he is wilfully blind and deaf to facts and history. He is ‘bearing false witness against his neighbour’.

    Mr Bennett favours ‘hit and run’ posts which shows a fear of engagement. By quoting Yeats as he does, he indulges in the Sin of Despair.

  3. Mary Salmond says:

    Isn’t a heretic within one’s own religion? So if you called a Lutheran a heretic, they would return the same to you?
    Declan, what’s your solution to any of this?

  4. toadspittle says:

    “Only someone who has been baptized can be an actual heretic.
    So, we can stop calling Muslims and Hindus heretics. That’s certainly a comfort.
    But we can console ourselves that they are all going to Hell, anyway, where they belong.
    …So that’s all right.
    Don’t want them up in Heaven with us Christians, do we?, Anymore than we want dogs there.

  5. Declan says:

    I didn’t say anything about heretics Mary. Or Lutherans – Mr Toad speaks often of them so you might enquire there for advice? Anyway I thought till recently that a Lutheran was someone who played the lute. Did you know the word ‘lute’ comes from ‘oued’, coming from Arabic? Lovely instrument too. Though of Arabic origins, it is quite safe to listen to.

    What’s my solution to ”all this”? You don’t take the trouble to say what you mean by ”all this”. If you mean dealing with terrorism, my answer is already above.

    Mary, what’s your solution to ”all this”?

  6. toadspittle says:

    “Anyway I thought till recently that a Lutheran was someone who played the lute. “
    No doubt you also thought a Methodist was someone who acted like Marlon Brando.

  7. Declan says:

    ”I’d advise against trying to be funny, though – that’s Geoff’s job.”. You said.

    I was thinking more of the Church’s teaching on contraception.

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