This weekend we celebrate the feast of the Most Holy Trinity. This is the only feast that celebrates doctrine, that is, that celebrates the Christian understanding of God. Every Sunday is a feast of God, in thanksgiving for what He did for us in the person of his crucified Son who made eternal life possible for each of us, and for the gift of the empowerment of the Church by the Holy Spirit. And that is what we celebrate in the feast of the Most Holy Trinity: the peculiar (as understood in previous times) and singular Christian understanding of God, an understanding that is radically different from that of Jews and Muslims.
When we say: “We all believe in the same God”, this is only a half truth. The God of Abraham is the foundation for both the Muslim Allah and for our understanding of God. The Christian and Muslim understanding of God depends on the Jewish understanding of God.
But to speak of God as three persons in one God, one unity, is to deepen radically the understanding of God, such that only Christians can really say, and only Christians do say, that God is love. We can and must say this because for a Christian God is a community of love, where the Father and the Son are bound by the love that is the Holy Spirit. God is a Community of love between the three Persons of the Trinity in a way we cannot explain, but by our faith we know that this is true. Blessed John Henry Newman wrote the words to a beloved English hymn that begins with the words: “Firmly I believe and truly.” May each one of us believe in the God of love firmly and truly.
Firmly I believe and truly
God is Three and God is One;
and I next acknowledge duly
manhood taken by the Son.
2 And I trust and hope most fully
in that manhood crucified;
and each thought and deed unruly
do to death, as he has died.
3 Simply to his grace and wholly
light and life and strength belong,
and I love supremely, solely,
him the holy, him the strong.
4 And I hold in veneration,
for the love of him alone,
Holy Church as his creation,
and her teachings as his own.
5 Adoration ay be given,
with and through the angelic host,
to the God of earth and heaven,
Father, Son, and Holy Ghost.
Father Richard Gennaro Cipolla