Blessed Trinity

Children ask, Who is God? And we explain to them that God is the Creator and the source of all life.  But who is He? God is a Trinity of Persons. He has revealed Himself to men through the prophets and especially in Christ. God was never alone before the creation of the universe. God is from all time the communion of Three Divine Persons, not three Gods, but one God who is Father, Son and Holy Spirit.

Jesus Christ, who is the Eternal Son of God, reveals the Trinity to us. In truth, the Gospels “composed by the inspiration of the Holy Spirit” are written account of God’s revelation of Himself to us. But wouldn’t it be simpler to speak of God alone, and not worry about the different persons? It might well be the same to say to someone living in your home, “all that matters is that you are a human being; it does not matter who you are and who your father and mother are.” Far from saying this, we wish to know more about the persons who live with us, especially if they are good and dear to us.

Because God is Father, Son and Holy Spirit, Christians have always wanted to know and enter into the mystery of the Blessed Trinity. Our understanding of this mystery was developed in the fourth century as a result of a number of errors. Fifteen hundred years later John Henry Newman studied and explained these heresies in his first book, The Arians of the Fourth Century. Arius was a priest from Egypt who taught that Jesus was a created being, the most perfect creation of God. St. Athanasius in the fourth century championed the truth with the correct interpretation of the Scriptures which speak of the humanity and divinity of Christ.

Jesus teaches us: “I am the way, the truth and the life.” He is the way to God, to the Blessed Trinity. Christians must constantly turn their gaze to Christ through whom we gain access to the Father in the Spirit.

In his writings Newman frequently speaks of Christ. In a sermon on Baptism he writes: “Though He now sits on the right hand of God, He has, in one sense, never left the world since He first entered it; for, by the ministration of the Holy Ghost, He is really present with us in an unknown way, and ever imparts Himself to those who seek Him. Even when visibly on earth He, the Son of Man, was still “in heaven;” and now, though He is ascended on high, He is still on earth.”[1]

Newman in England and Johannes Moheler in Germany inspired a renewal of theology based on studies of the early Christian sources in the Scriptures and the Church Fathers. This renewal was furthered by other theologians, especially French and German theologians  in the 19th and 20th centuries, and subsequently by the documents issued by the Church at Vatican II. This spiritual and doctrinal renewal leads us to consider the centrality of Christ in the liturgy and the life of the Church, and to meditate on the Scriptures in order that we gain knowledge of Christ, and through Christ we gain knowledge of the Father in the Holy Spirit. Christ, far from merely an historical figure, instead is a Living Person whom we need to get to know personally, not just someone about whom we learn some facts.

In the sermon quoted above, Newman continues: “And as He is still with us, for all that He is in heaven, so, again, is the hour of His cross and passion ever mystically present, though it be past these eighteen hundred years. Time and space have no portion in the spiritual Kingdom which He has founded; and the rites of His Church are as mysterious spells by which He annuls them both.” He does not mean that time and space are not important, only that they do not separate us from Christ who lives in His Church and acts towards us through the sacraments.

The reading of spiritual writers and the study of the Church’s doctrines will introduce us slowly into the inner life of God. The daily prayer of the Glory be to the Father brings us before the mystery of God, and is a simple way to give praise God in His Trinity and Unity of persons.

In the ninth century, Bede, the English saint and doctor of the Church, shortly before his death, told his brother monks: “the moment of my departure is eminent; I desire to leave to be with Christ; my soul wishes to see in all his splendor Christ.”  He was dictating the last chapter of a work of theology on his deathbed and when he was through he asked to be propped up to be able to see the chapel where he used to pray. He then began to recite the Glory Be, and when he mentioned the Holy Spirit he exhaled his last breath.[2]

If we desire to live and die with that closeness to Christ and knowledge of the Trinity that St. Bede had, let us desire to know God as He has revealed Himself, and to pray devoutly the prayers that praise Him as the One and Triune God.

 

[1] PPS, III (Regenerating Baptism)

[2] Office of Readings, St. Bede the Venerable, May 25.

 

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Newman wrote, “I have been accustomed to consider the action of the creator on and in the created universe, as parallel in a certain sense to that of the soul upon the body.”

For a Christian, death is no longer defeat nor something to fear, rather it is the sign of Christ’s victory.

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We need to remember our mortality, so that we may be ready to meet Our Lord each and every day. Lent and lenten mortifications have a role in this preparation. We must die to self daily, so that we may be brought to the glory of His resurrection. 

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About Cardinal John Henry Newman

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A Guide to John Henry Newman will interest educated readers and professors alike, and serve as a text for college seminars for the purpose of studying Newman.

Review by Catherine Maybanks
(Catholic Herald, April 1, 2023)

Review by Serenheed James
(Antiphon, April 2023)

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Fr Peter Conley takes us on an exciting journey into the spirituality and inner life of Saint John Henry Newman.
 

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Endorsement by Neyra Blanco (Amazon)
I bought this book for my son and he loved it, he wrote this review and urged my to submitted: “I think this book has a very beautiful message, because it shows how the young Newman was so determined to achieve his dream of becoming a priest, but even after his dream he continued to work in the church with passion until the day he died, it’s so admirable that even Newman so old and so weak still had that urge to continued his work of being a priest. And the book is well written with words not too complicated with very enjoyable texts and well illustrated pictures. I highly recommend this book for a 5th grader.  

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What is a Classical Liberal Arts Education? Why is it so important for the development of a person?

Fr. Juan R. Vélez answers these and more questions you might have about University Education in the 21st century. This book is aimed for parents, prospective University students, and educators. It will help you discern why adding Liberal Arts electives to your education will help it form it better, and help the student learn to reason, and not just learn.

He also explains how many Universities have changed the true meaning of Liberal Arts, and the subjects, and gives advise on how to choose College Campus, Subjects, and Teachers.

A wonderful book that every parent should also read way before your children are College bound. A Liberal Arts education can start earlier in life, even from home.

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Endorsement by Christopher Moellering (Goodreads, September 14, 2019)
In Passion for Truth Fr. Vélez gave us an outstanding biography of Cardinal Newman. In this work, he provides a concise overview of his thought and his devotion. This is a great work for someone who, perhaps hearing of Newman for the first time because of his beatification 13 October, 2019, wants to know more about this English saint.Vélez is a wonderful writer in his own right, and the frequent quotations from Newman round out the work nicely. I especially appreciated the frequent citing of Newman’s Meditations and Devotions, which show a different side of his spirituality than his more well-known works, Development of Christian Doctrine and the Grammar of Assent.

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Take Five: Meditations with John Henry Newman, endorsement by Illow M. Roque (Amazon, September 3, 2010)
“There is a time to put direct inquiry on hold and give ourselves to prayer and practical duties.” Sound advice from one of the earlier, thought-provoking reminders in this sparkling gem of a book: Take Five | Meditations with John Henry Newman, written by Mike Aquilina and Fr. Juan R. Vélez and published by Our Sunday Visitor. This particular paragraph, referenced above, which begins with a direct quote from soon-to-be canonized priest, cardinal and poet, John Henry Newman: “Study is good, but it gets us only so far . . .” is actually the 15th in a series of 76 concise, logically organized meditations moving from the elementary to the sublime. Each meditation–one per page–is built upon the great man’s writings and remarkably rich spirituality. Whether taken whole in one reading or in part page-by-page over a course of weeks and months, these wonderfully insightful meditations will open up, even to the busiest reader in the midst of the world, a unique pathway into prayer and contemplation. My advice to spiritual inquirers at all levels, from the novice to the spiritually adept, is to follow the authors’ recommendation to use this book as a guide for daily prayer and meditation. The structure of the book itself is ideal: first, the authors introduce us to Cardinal Newman, the man, where we are given the opportunity to get to know him through a brief sketch of his life and spirituality at the beginning of the book. This is something readers will likely find themselves referring to again and again, prompting many, I suspect, to even wider explorations of this most gifted Christian leader. Then comes the meditations, consisting of a short summary of Newman’s thoughts on subjects taken, as the authors explain, from various salient points for which Newman is justly remembered: The pursuit of objective religious truth; Teaching on the Virtues; Defense of the Catholic Church; A devout spiritual and moral life; and Generosity and loyalty in his friendships, which sets the topic and tone for each meditation to follow. Each meditation consists of an excerpt taken from Newman’s thirty-plus volumes of writings and diaries. Next comes three brief and extremely useful sections entitled: “Think About It,” which establishes a prayerfully resonant tone throughout the book; “Just Imagine,” which provides a vivid, prayerful experience of the Scriptures that tie in, and finally, “Remember,” a pithy summation which the authors suggest may be used as a daily aspiration. Each meditation is given its own page, which makes it ideal for daily reflection for readers on the go. This book is a must have for every serious Catholic who wants to take their faith to the next level, which is to respond appropriately to the universal call to holiness and seek interior union with God.
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