Today we celebrate the mystery of the Trinity… One God, three persons. Father, Son and Holy Spirit, one Divine Nature.
This is one that I like to roll around in my mind on occasion. It’s something that we will never understand until we stand before God Himself. The very fact that we celebrate this solemnity and that so much ink has been spilled, not to mention blood, shows that our very nature is to seek to know and love God. It’s more than just hoping that there is some point to an accidental existence as atheists might offer. It’s a yearning to restore what was lost to us at the Fall of Man.
When Adam and Eve walked with God in the Garden, it seems likely that they understood this far better than we do now. Even if the Trinity was not revealed as Father, Son and Holy Spirit to them, they surely understood how God pours Himself out completely in love. That of course is how we understand the begetting of the Son. The Father pours Himself out completely and totally. That generates the perfect image of the Father which is the Son. The Son, being the perfect image of the Father can only reciprocate and pour Himself out completely. This total life pouring Love is, of course, the Holy Spirit.
Scott Hahn explains it better in his book, First Comes Love. I can wrap my mind around the Father and the Son pretty well. After all we can understand those identities, no matter how imperfectly, by our own roles as parent and child. We at least have a concept to grasp. But when it comes to the Holy Spirit… That’s where I struggle to get some identity to relate to. And that’s really not the way to do it anyway. We must be careful to not try and define God by how we relate to Him. That ties the Eternal to the finite creation. God was… before creation and will always be after creation. Yet we creatures seemingly can only understand God in these ways.
The Holy Spirit is the life breathed onto the Apostles by Christ. He is the Power by which Christ was born of the Blessed Virgin. He is the Comforter and the Paraclete. He is the force that guides the Church and keeps her from teaching error. His is the Sanctifer for us, but that is only one part of Him. We ask God to send the Holy Spirit to us to guide us and keep us holy. Entire Protestant denominations are based on the Holy Spirit and His gifts, most especially the speaking and understanding of tongues. Yet Scriptures seem to speak the least of the Spirit as a Person in the Divine Godhead. We know He spoke through the prophets and appeared at the Baptism of the Lord.
Yet through it all, the Holy Spirit remains the most enigmatic of the Trinity for me. Fr. John Corapi once said that the greatest thing you can pray for is to be filled with the Holy Spirit. I truly believe that and always pray that whenever I pray.