Anonymous asked: So I've been learning about Catholicism recently, I bought a catechism to deepen my understanding but the constant repetition I think is confusing me. Could you explain to me the Catholic doctrine of the Trinity? (nature, person procession... are things i'm interesting in learning about also) Thank You! :)
Hi, anon. That is a very complicated question, but I’m going to do my best to be fairly brief. But be aware that this is the GREATEST MYSTERY OF OUR FAITH. And it’s called a mystery on purpose: because it’s mysterious and we, as humans, can barely comprehend the immensity of God. Anything we can say about Him falls very, very short, but nevertheless I will do what I can.
Above is a commonly used illustration of the Trinity. As the caption says we believe in one God in three coequal and coeternal Persons who have one nature (divine).
God, though One, is also three. God is, in Himself, a family, a Trinity of Persons. Also, the Father is not 1/3 of God but rather fully God, as are the Son and Holy Spirit.
And, as I’m sure you know, the second Person of the Trinity, the Son, took on our human nature in Jesus Christ without losing His divine nature. In this way, Jesus Christ is one (divine) Person with two natures (human and divine). True God and true man.
I also want to point out that we use the names Father, Son and Holy Spirit (or, archaically, Holy Ghost) because those are the names that God has revealed to us. In fact, Catholics do not consider a baptism to be valid unless it was done “in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit.” Some people say, “Creator, Redeemer, and Sanctifier,” and although those terms may be accurate, they are not the names that God has revealed to man. Also, they focus on what God has done for us (i.e. what we get out of it) rather than Who God is. God was Father, Son, and Holy Spirit before He ever created the world.
Also think of it this way too. Think of all the roles you play. I am me, but I am also a brother, an uncle, a son. They are all different roles but im still me. (Sorry if this confused anyone)
That’s actually a heresy called Modalism. You’re not a brother and an uncle and a son in the same way that God is Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. You are one person and God is three Persons. Basically it means that God doesn’t switch “modes” from Father to Son. Father and Son are distinct but of the same substance. It doesn’t really work with any human analogy.
I doubt that you meant to go against Church teaching. I don’t want you to think I’m questioning your faith or anything. Just trying to correct a common misconception.
(P.S. I wrote the original answer.)
"Once he heard: these words from Jesus crucified: "you have written well about Me, Thomas. What reward would you like to receive?" And he lovingly answered, "None but Yourself, Lord." - Matins Lesson III on the Feast of S. Thomas Aquinas
"Destruction leads to a very rough road, but it also breeds creation."
— St. Thomas Aquinas
This could be pretty cool. At least if it was a Kaiser instead of the president.
— Carl Jung, The Relations Between the Ego and the Unconscious (via hyperboreanvoyager)
Its claims were monstrous. They passed beyond human reckoning. For it claimed to be the one divine and authoritative voice on earth; and it taught, gave judgment, and asserted, always in the same valid tone, confident that its message would outlive the transitory phenomena of doubt, change, and contradiction. It stood secure, an edifice of truth behind the ramparts of truth which defied the many and various attacks launched by its enemies. For it claimed a strength that was not of itself, a life-force and vigour imparted by a power that could not be found elsewhere; and because it could not be likened to any earthly thing it provoked fear, bewilderment, mockery, even hate.
But through the centuries it never wavered; never abandoned one item of its stupendous inheritance; never allowed the smallest rent to appear in its much derided mantle of intolerance. It inspired devotion and admiration even in those who scorned its mental discipline. It rose above conjecture, likelihood, probability; for the Word by which it had been founded was also its guarantee of permanence. It provided the one answer to the immemorial question – what is truth?
One of our essayists told, as many of our schoolboys used to know, of its place in history; how it saw the beginning, as it was likely to see the end, of our worldly systems; and how, in time to come, a broken arch of London Bridge might furnish a foothold from which a traveller ‘could sketch the ruins of St. Paul’s.’
But it would still stand monumental, unique, presenting as it did the symbols of endurance in this life and admission to an eternity beyond – a Rock and a Key.
It was the Catholic Church.
But now, as even those of irreligious mind have come to realise, all that has changed. The Church has dropped its guard, surrendered its prerogatives, abandoned its fortifications; and it will be the purpose of these pages to examine how and why the transformation, hitherto regarded by its adherents – and even by some of its unfriendly critics – as impossible, could have happened. […]