The Cornerstone

The Cornerstone

Trinity Sunday

The celebration of Trinity Sunday is meant to bring before our eyes and inspire deeper gratitude for all the mysteries of our beloved faith. All of our preceding meditations concerning the life of our blessed Lord culminate in the glorious vision of the Triune God, Father, Son and Holy Spirit.

Some people seem to think that the dogma of the Trinity is a nice little addition to our belief in God, something like the icing on the cake that is not really essential; it’s something interesting and helpful in a number of ways, even if totally incomprehensible; it’s almost as if we could very well have gotten by without it. I will attempt to show the inaneness of such propositions. The Trinity is indeed the crown of our faith, but it is also the beginning, it is the cornerstone. If you get it right, you get everything else right, and you can build a magnificent edifice. If you don’t get it right, all you will have is a castle of cards that will one day come crashing to the ground.

First of all, let’s call to mind that God has made known to us this ineffable mystery that no one would have ever dreamt of had it not been revealed. If God has deigned to introduce us into the mystery of His own divine life, there is a reason for it, and it could only be due to intolerable indifference that one would not be concerned. This is the main reason for which the Church put so much energy in the early centuries into defining the dogma of the Trinity of Persons in the unique Godhead, and why so many Fathers of the Church were prepared to lay down their lives rather than allow such dogma to be passed over lightly as if it were not essential to the faith. The ancients knew that religion is not so much about us as about God. If God speaks, you listen, it’s important, even crucial. Battles of the pen were fought and will be fought to the defend the truth, truth which for modern man is a word without meaning, because his only truth is himself.

Allow me to allude once again to the present controversy surrounding the Archbishop of Hobart. The only reason he is encountering so much opposition from the secular world and so much indifference from his confreres is simply that we have lost the very concept of truth that matters. We no longer think truth matters. We have developed a pragmatic notion of truth: if it helps us have a nice life, great; if not, ditch it. The world has gone from being theocentric to being anthropocentric; now, from anthropocentric to egocentric, there is only a very tiny step to take, for if there is no omnipotent God up there in Heaven who is worth adoring and defending, then there has to be a god down here around whom I can organise my life, and that little god is always going to end up being me.

We cannot overly stress the fact that today one of the gravest dangers to the faith is religious indifferentism. So many consider religion to be a personal matter that concerns only the believing person. You have your religion, I have mine, and it’s all good. Did not we hear a few years ago at a Catholic Youth Festival in Perth at which a number of Australian bishops were present, an invocation that “all the gods may bless you”? Blasphemous utterance if there ever was one, but which was not censured then nor has it been since. The truth clearly no longer matters, even for many in the Catholic hierarchy.

This attitude, which was already very much in the air ever since the French Revolution, has gained momentum since the last ecumenical council attempted to practice what is called ecumenism with other Christians and inter-religious dialogue with believers of other religions. This is not to deny the advantages of such efforts to foster mutual understanding and respect. However, it has had and continues to have, the dire effect of making people indifferent when it comes to faith. If we dialogue with all religions and underline the positive values of each, but never point out the truth because that would spoil the game, then it’s an easy step to consider that, in the end, all that really matters is sincerity in believing whatever you happen to believe.

The very least one can say to this is that such an attitude, not only would have never occurred to the Fathers and Doctors of the Church, but they would have considered it to be already a form of apostasy. How is it possible to put divinely revealed truth on a par with human concoctions which, along with some truths, also contain very grave errors that can only lead away from the true God?

With the Church of all ages, let us make every effort to offer to the most Holy Trinity the homage of our intellects and wills, gratefully accepting and bravely professing our belief in the Trinity of Persons in the One Eternal God. If God has spoken, we want to listen and to embrace what He has revealed. It is the very least we can do. It is the very first commandment of the Decalogue. I am the Lord your God; you shall have no other gods before me. The worship of any but the true God, Father, Son and Holy Spirit, is therefore the worship of a false God and therefore displeasing to the True God.

The second reason why this dogma is so important is that we become like the one we worship. If we worship a false god, we end up living a false life, one in which the gravest errors are mixed with the most sublime truths, just like a fatal poison that is mixed into some otherwise very good ingredients to make a deadly food. If we worship a false notion of God, we end up having a distorted notion of God and a distorted notion of reality.

All our modern errors, the ones which are in the process of completely undermining the very fabric of our society, are due to having lost a true sense of who God is, of His creation and action in the world. The movement away from the divinely revealed religion, that is to say, Catholicism, that began in the early Renaissance, gained momentum at the Reformation and finally reaches its paroxysm with the Modernist crisis of the early 20th century, giving way to the post-modernist crisis which is no longer concerned with which religion is true at all for it has lost not only the sense of religion but the sense of man himself, that movement I say, can be traced back ultimately to an implicit rejection of the Incarnation of the Son of God, which in turn, implicitly denies the Trinity. The Incarnation of the Son of God grounds humanity in the truth about itself. Take it away, and humanity dissolves.

Furthermore, we can say that the modern loss of the dignity of the human person in every stage of life, from conception to natural death, implicitly denies the elevation of human nature to the supernatural order through the redemptive incarnation of the Son of the God and the outpouring of the Holy Spirit. The same can be said for all the modern ideologies which lead humanity in the direction of utter delirium.

Let’s repeat: if you get the Trinity right, you get everything right, and conversely, if you don’t get the Trinity right, everything else will in one way or another be adversely affected.

If we worship the true God, Father, Son and Holy Spirit, if we allow the true God to form us in His image, we end up being like to God; we end up living like Him, becoming more and more like Him. God is love, tells us St John in his first epistle. If we adore the God of love who has become incarnate, and who seeks to share His bliss with others, then we end up becoming like Him, of becoming love, and wanting to share that love with others. If anyone love me, my Father will love Him, and we will come to him, and we will come to him and make up our abode in him.

How frustrating – if we can speak in human terms – must it not be for God to be constantly offering us His love and attention, and then to receive from only a few little more than a vague remembrance on a Sunday morning at most, and from most total neglect if not rejection.

Let us, my dear friends, be among those who seek to console our glorious Triune God. In the midst of a world that clearly has no time for its Creator, let us give frequent thanks for all the wonderful gifts that are lavished upon the world at every moment.

Let us invite the Three Divine Persons to take up their abode in our heart, to create there a place of refuge, a place of rest, according to the bold expressions of St Elizabeth of the Trinity.

If our God looks for a place of rest, for hearts who open to Him, let’s make sure we are among those behind whose walls He knows that He will always be welcome and from where He will never be thrown out, but engaged with each one of us in a true communion of life and love.