By: Allison Ramirez
This weekend, we celebrate the feast of The Holy Trinity. This celebration of the Trinity is an acknowledgement of one of the core beliefs not only of the Catholic Christian tradition, but indeed, of all professing Christian denominations. Article #233 of the Catechism of the Catholic Church states; Christians are baptized in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit: not in their names,55 for there is only one God, the almighty Father, his only Son and the Holy Spirit: the Most Holy Trinity.
As Christians, we profess belief in monotheism, that is a belief in only one God, not in polytheism, which as other religions believe, is a belief in in multiple Gods. Throughout the 2000-year history of the Catholic Church, there have been twenty-one Church Councils with the most recent being the II Vatican council held between 1962-1965. The decisions made at these Church Councils along with the teachings of the Church fathers and other saints and theologians make up the teachings of our Church today within the Magisterium (or teaching authority body given to us by Christ) through the working of the Holy Spirit. The Trinity is one of the core, central doctrines of what it means to be Christian. It was at the Council of Nicaea – the very first ecumenical debate held by the early Christian church in the year 325 AD – that the doctrine of the Trinity was finalized after many years of debate.
But what exactly is the Trinity? To understand the Trinity, it is important to first understand the nature of God himself. God is, as the church affirms, one being in three persons. What that means is that God is one, but that he is made up of the three distinct persons which are the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit. What is beautiful about the nature of the Trinity is that it recognizes the relational reality of God. God is both fully unified and fully distinct in the persons of the father, son and spirit. Further, as we know from Genesis 1: 26, 27: God said, “Let Us make man in Our image, after Our likeness…So God created man in His own image; in the image of God he created him; male and female He created them.” Thus, in our nature, we too are relational beings who are meant (while remaining distinct in ourselves) to be united to those around us in one body through Christ, in one faith.