Love as foundation of community
May 26, 2002

Al Cariño
Reproduced with Permission

Sometime ago, a mother proudly showed me her two year old child making the Sign of the Cross. Unknown to him, when he did so and later used its accompanying words, namely, "In the name of the Father and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit," he was making a Trinitarian prayer, a profession of faith in the Trinity. The same goes when he learns and memorizes the Doxology which begins with "Glory be to the Father and to the Son and to the Holy Spirit..." and the Apostle's Creed which contains the phrases "I believe in God, the Father Almighty... I believe in Jesus Christ, His only Son... I believe in the Holy Spirit."

The doctrine of the Trinity teaches that there are Three Persons in one God. Three Persons in one God? Impossible! Why? Because our experience tells us that every person is one and a separate being. If there are three Persons in the Trinity then there must be three Gods! So how can God be one and three at the same time?

The mystery of the Blessed Trinity is the greatest single mystery of our faith. Since the beginning of Christianity, theologians have attempted to delve into it so as to understand it. Without much success. Thus, in the end all they can do is to bow their heads and say in faith, "I believe."

Along this line, Grahan Greene, a novelist acclaimed worldwide, once remarked that he would refuse to believe in a God he could understand since God's greatness surpasses men's wisdom. Or, if I may add, a religion without mystery is just like any philosophical system or ideology where everything can be understood.

The rock foundation of our faith is our belief in the Trinity. We accept and believe in it on the authority of the Revealed Word of God and the constant teaching of the Church.

The Old Testament reveals the First Person of the Trinity -- God the Father -- as the Creator of all things. He is also the Lord of History since He intervenes directly in human affairs. Finally, He is a loving God -- He is a "God of tenderness and compassion, slow to anger, rich in kindness and faithfulness" (Ex.34:6).

In the gospels, the Father is revealed by Jesus as His Father and through Him, as our Father, too. For He loves and cares for all of us: "He makes his sun rise on the bad and the good, and causes rain to fall on the just and the unjust" (Mt 5:45).

On His part, Jesus reveals Himself as the Son of God -- the Second Person of the Trinity -- who is our Savior and Lord. Finally, He makes Himself our Brother when He came to dwell among us and became like us in all things except sin and when He urged us to "dare to call His Father, our Father."

Jesus also reveals to us the Third Person of the Trinity -- the Holy Spirit -- the very one whom He sent down to His apostles after His Ascension, as our Sanctifier. For He will not only continue the salvific work began by Jesus but will also keep on prodding us who have accepted Jesus to work for our sanctification based on His teachings.

The Trinity is one community. Theirs is a perfect community. The whole existence of the Three Persons in the one Godhead revolves around love -- for each another. It is a love characterized by complete giving and receiving of each other's very self.

The Father's love for us is the same as that which exists in the Trinity. Jesus says this is so when He tells Nicodemus during his surreptitious visit one night: "God so loved the world that he gave his only Son, so that everyone who believes in him might not perish but might have eternal life" (Jn. 3:16). As events unfolded, this "giving of His only Son" eventually meant for Jesus the facing of the ultimate infidelity: to be ignominiously put to death by the very people He loved and came to save. But God's love survives Jesus' death: He raises His Son and sends us His Spirit so that we, too, may share the very life and love of the Triune God.

In a famous comic strip which is published in major newspapers worldwide and which has amused and even provoked deep thoughts among many people, its character Peanuts once remarked, "I love humanity. It is people I hate." Not so is the love which God has for us and which He offers as a model for us. It requires us to love one another -- all people comprising humanity -- so that we can have a community where truth, justice and harmony reigns. This is the community that Jesus wants every human community to become, beginning with the family--the most basic Christian community -- and then reaching out to the wider community.

In honoring the Holy Trinity today, we celebrate God's awesome love for each other and for all of us. May we respond in kind -- in love for the Triune God and for one another.