Reflecting Heaven Part 18: One God and Three Persons

08-25-2021Reflecting HeavenFr. Don Kline, V.F.

“As on the day of our Baptism, when our whole life was entrusted to the “standard of teaching”, let us embrace the Creed of our life-giving faith. To say the Credo with faith is to enter into communion with God, Father, Son and Holy Spirit, and also with the whole Church which transmits the faith to us and in whose midst we believe: This Creed is the spiritual seal, our heart’s meditation and an ever-present guardian; it is, unquestionably, the treasure of our soul” (Catechism of the Catholic Church, 197)

In paragraph 232 the Catechism states that “Christians are baptized ‘in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit’. Before receiving the sacrament, they respond to a three-part question when asked to confess the Father, the Son and the Spirit: ‘I do.’ The faith of all Christians rests on the Trinity.”

To be clear, all Christians are baptized in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit. In this first of the seven sacraments, our faith reminds us that there is only one God, the Almighty Father, His only Son and the Holy Spirit: the Most Holy Trinity.

The Church’s teaching on the Trinity is better understood in terms of the “mystery” of the Most Holy Trinity which is the center of Christian faith and life. Our Catechism explains that the Triune God, Father, Son and Holy Spirit, is the mystery of God in Himself. It is therefore the source of all the other mysteries of faith, the light that enlightens them. It is the most fundamental and essential teaching in the “hierarchy of the truths of faith” (Catechism of the Catholic Church, 234).

Focusing on the image of the Most Holy Trinity in this reflection, one can see the words of the Athanasian Creed: “the Father is God, the Son is God, and the Holy Spirit is God, and yet there are not three Gods but one God.” As Catholics we believe in One God as three persons: Father, Son and Holy Spirit.

The clearest expression of the Most Holy Trinity can be found in the Catholic Church’s Profession of Faith which is recited each Sunday at Holy Mass. Catholic belief is succinctly expressed in the profession of faith or credo called the Nicene Creed.

Profession of Faith

I believe in one God,
the Father almighty,
maker of heaven and earth,
of all things visible and invisible.
I believe in one Lord Jesus Christ,
the Only Begotten Son of God,
born of the Father before all ages.
God from God, Light from Light,
true God from true God,
begotten, not made, consubstantial with the Father;
through him all things were made.
For us men and for our salvation
he came down from heaven,
A t the words that follow, up to and including and became man, all bow.
and by the Holy Spirit was incarnate of the Virgin Mary,
and became man.
For our sake he was crucified under Pontius Pilate,
he suffered death and was buried,
and rose again on the third day
in accordance with the Scriptures.
He ascended into heaven
and is seated at the right hand of the Father.
He will come again in glory
to judge the living and the dead
and his kingdom will have no end.
I believe in the Holy Spirit, the Lord, the giver of life,
who proceeds from the Father and the Son,
who with the Father and the Son is adored and glorified,
who has spoken through the prophets.
I believe in one, holy, catholic and apostolic Church.
I confess one Baptism for the forgiveness of sins
and I look forward to the resurrection of the dead
and the life of the world to come.

Our creed is a powerful statement of what we hold as true. When we profess our creed, we are stating what we believe as Catholics. That belief includes all that the holy Catholic Church believes, teaches, and proclaims to be revealed by God.

It is with firm faith, that Catholics also believe everything contained in the word of God, whether written or handed down in Tradition, which the Church, either by a solemn judgment or by the ordinary and universal Magisterium, sets forth to be believed as divinely revealed.

As Catholics we also firmly accept and hold each and everything definitively proposed by the Church regarding teaching on faith and morals.

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