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God Is the Blessed Trinity, Father, Son and Holy Spirit General audience of October 9, 1985

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Title: God Is the Blessed Trinity, Father, Son and Holy Spirit General audience of October 9, 1985


1
God Is the Blessed Trinity, Father, Son and Holy
Spirit General audience of October 9, 1985
  • The Church professes her faith in the one God,
  • who is at the same time the Most Holy and
    ineffable Trinity of Persons
  • Father, Son and Holy Spirit.
  • The Church lives by this truth contained in the
    most ancient symbols of faith.
  • Paul VI recalled it in our times on the occasion
    of the 1900th anniversary of the martyrdom of the
    holy Apostles Peter and Paul (1968), in the
    symbol he presented which is universally known as
    the Credo of the People of God.

2
God Is the Blessed Trinity, Father, Son and Holy
Spirit General audience of October 9, 1985
  • Only "he who has wished to make himself known to
    us, and who 'dwelling in light inaccessible'
  • (1 Tim 616)
  • is in himself above every name,
  • above every thing
  • and above every created intellect...
  • can give us right and full knowledge of this
    reality by revealing himself as Father, Son and
    Holy Spirit, in whose eternal life we are by
    grace called to share, here below in the
    obscurity of faith and after death in eternal
    light..."
  • (L'Osservatore Romano, English edition, July 11,
    1968, p. 4). 

3
God Is the Blessed Trinity, Father, Son and Holy
Spirit General audience of October 9, 1985
  • God is incomprehensible to us.
  • He wished to reveal himself, not only as the one
    creator and Almighty Father, but also as
  • Father, Son, and Holy Spirit.
  • This revelation reveals in its essential source
    the truth about God, who is love
  • God is love in the interior life itself of the
    one divinity.

4
God Is the Blessed Trinity, Father, Son and Holy
Spirit General audience of October 9, 1985
  • This love is revealed as an ineffable communion
    of persons.
  • This mystery
  • the most profound, the mystery of the intimate
    life of God himself
  • has been revealed to us by Jesus Christ
  • "He who is in the bosom of the Father,
  • he has made him known"
  • (Jn 118).

5
God Is the Blessed Trinity, Father, Son and Holy
Spirit General audience of October 9, 1985
  • The last words with which Christ concluded his
    earthly mission after the resurrection were
    addressed to the apostles,
  • according to St. Matthew's Gospel
  • "Go therefore and make disciples of all the
    nations. Baptize them in the name of the Father
    and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit"
  • (Mt 2819).
  • These words began the Church's mission and
    indicated her fundamental and constitutive task.
  • The Church's first task is to teach and baptize
  • to baptize means "to immerse"
  • so that all may come to share God's trinitarian
    life.

6
God Is the Blessed Trinity, Father, Son and Holy
Spirit General audience of October 9, 1985
  • Trinity in New Testament
  •  Jesus Christ expressed in these final words all
    that he had previously taught about God,
  • the Father, Son and Holy Spirit.
  • He had announced from the beginning the truth
    about the one God, in conformity with the
    tradition of Israel.
  • Jesus answered the question
  • "Which commandment is the first of all?" by
    stating
  • "The first is, 'Hear, O Israel the Lord our God
    is one Lord,'"
  • (Mk 1229).

7
God Is the Blessed Trinity, Father, Son and Holy
Spirit General audience of October 9, 1985
  • Trinity in New Testament
  • At the same time Jesus had constantly addressed
    God as "his Father," to the point of asserting
  • "I and the Father are one"
  • (Jn 1030).
  • He had revealed in the same way the
  • "Spirit of truth who proceeds from the Father"
  • and whomas he assured us
  • "I will send to you from the Father"
  • (Jn 1526).

8
God Is the Blessed Trinity, Father, Son and Holy
Spirit General audience of October 9, 1985
  • The words of baptism
  • "in the name of the Father and of the Son
  • and of the Holy Spirit,"
  • entrusted by Jesus to the apostles at the end of
    his earthly mission, have a special significance.
  • They have consolidated the truth about the Most
    Holy Trinity, by placing it at the basis of the
    Church's sacramental life.
  • The life of faith of all Christians begins in
    baptism,
  • with immersion in the mystery of the living God.

9
God Is the Blessed Trinity, Father, Son and Holy
Spirit General audience of October 9, 1985
  • The letters of the apostles prove this,
  • especially those of Paul.
  • Among the trinitarian formulas which they
    contain, the best known and the one constantly
    used in the liturgy is that in the Second Letter
    to the Corinthians
  • "The grace of the Lord Jesus Christ and the love
    of God (the Father) and the fellowship of the
    Holy Spirit be with you all"
  • (2 Cor 1314).
  • We find others in the First Letter to the
    Corinthians, in the Letter to the Ephesians and
    also in the First Letter of St. Peter, at the
    beginning of the first chapter
  • (1 Pet 11-2).

10
God Is the Blessed Trinity, Father, Son and Holy
Spirit General audience of October 9, 1985
  • Indirectly the whole development of the Church's
    life of prayer has taken on a trinitarian
    awareness and orientation
  • in the Spirit, through Christ, to the Father.
  • Thus faith in the Triune God has entered from the
    beginning into the tradition of the life of the
    Church and of Christians.
  • Consequently the whole liturgy has been
  • and is
  • essentially trinitarian,
  • inasmuch as it expresses the divine economy.

11
God Is the Blessed Trinity, Father, Son and Holy
Spirit General audience of October 9, 1985
  • One must emphasize that faith in the redemption,
  • that is, faith in Christ's work of salvation,
  • has contributed to understanding this supreme
    mystery of the Blessed Trinity.
  • It manifests the mission of the Son and of the
    Holy Spirit who in the bosom of the eternal
    Trinity proceed "from the Father."
  • It reveals the "trinitarian economy" present in
    the redemption and in sanctification.

12
God Is the Blessed Trinity, Father, Son and Holy
Spirit General audience of October 9, 1985
  • The Holy Trinity is announced first of all
    through soteriology, that is,
  • through the knowledge of the
  • "economy of salvation,"
  • which Christ announced and put into effect in his
    messianic mission.

13
God Is the Blessed Trinity, Father, Son and Holy
Spirit General audience of October 9, 1985
  • The path to the knowledge of the "immanent"
    Trinity,
  • of the mystery of God's inner life,
  • begins from this knowledge.
  • In this sense the New Testament contains the
    fullness of trinitarian revelation.
  • God reveals both who God is for us,
  • and who God is in himself,
  • namely, in his inner life,
  • by the revelation of himself in Jesus Christ.

14
God Is the Blessed Trinity, Father, Son and Holy
Spirit General audience of October 9, 1985
  • The truth that "God is love"
  • (1 Jn 416),
  • expressed in the First Letter of John,
  • is a keystone here.
  • This truth reveals who God is for us.
  • It also reveals who God is in himself,
  • (as far as is possible for the human mind to
    understand it and for human language to express
    it).
  • He is a Unity, that is, a Communion of the
    Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit.

15
God Is the Blessed Trinity, Father, Son and Holy
Spirit General audience of October 9, 1985
  • The Old Testament has not revealed this truth
    explicitly.
  • It prepared the way for it by showing God's
    Fatherhood in the covenant with his people, and
    by manifesting his activity in the world with
    Wisdom, the Word and the Spirit
  • (cf. e. g., Wis 722-30 Prov 822-30 Ps 334-6
    Ps 14715 Is 5511 Wis 121 Is 112 Sir
    4812).
  • The Old Testament has principally consolidated
    the truth about the one God, the hinge of the
    monotheistic religion, first of all in Israel and
    then outside of it.

16
God Is the Blessed Trinity, Father, Son and Holy
Spirit General audience of October 9, 1985
  • One must then conclude that the New Testament has
    brought the fullness of revelation about the
    Blessed Trinity.
  • The trinitarian truth has been from the beginning
    at the root of the living faith of the Christian
    community by means of baptism and the liturgy.
  • The rules of faith,
  • which we meet frequently both in the letters of
    the apostles and in the testimony of the kerygma,
  • kept pace with the Church's catechesis and prayer.

17
God Is the Blessed Trinity, Father, Son and Holy
Spirit General audience of October 9, 1985
  • The formation of the trinitarian dogma in the
    context of the defense against the heresies of
    the early centuries is a separate subject.
  • The truth about the Triune God is the most
    profound mystery of the faith and also the most
    difficult to understand.
  • The possibility of erroneous interpretations
    existed, especially when Christianity came into
    contact with Greek culture and philosophy.

18
God Is the Blessed Trinity, Father, Son and Holy
Spirit General audience of October 9, 1985
  • It was a case of correctly "inscribing" the
    mystery of the Triune God
  • "into the terminology of being."
  • That is, it was to express in a precise form
  • in the philosophical language of the age
  • the concepts
  • which unequivocally defined
  • both the unity and trinity
  • of the God of our revelation.

19
God Is the Blessed Trinity, Father, Son and Holy
Spirit General audience of October 9, 1985
  • This happened first of all in the two great
    ecumenical councils of Nicaea (325) and
    Constantinople (381).
  • The magisterium of these councils bore fruit in
    the Nicene-Constantinopolitan Creed.
  • The Church has expressed in it from those times
    her faith in the Triune God
  • Father, Son and Holy Spirit.

20
God Is the Blessed Trinity, Father, Son and Holy
Spirit General audience of October 9, 1985
  • Recalling the work of the councils one must
    mention some particularly outstanding
    theologians, especially among the Fathers of the
    Church.
  • For the pre-Nicene period we may mention
    Tertullian, Cyprian, Origen, Irenaeus
  • for the Nicene period, Athanasius and Ephraim the
    Syrian
  • for the period preceding the Council of
    Constantinople we recall Basil the Great, Gregory
    Nazianzen and Gregory of Nyssa, Hilary, down to
    Ambrose, Augustine and Leo the Great.
  • From the fifth century we have the so-called
    Athanasian Creed which begins with the word
    Quicumque. It is like a kind of comment on the
    Nicene-Constantinopolitan Creed.

21
God Is the Blessed Trinity, Father, Son and Holy
Spirit General audience of October 9, 1985
  • Paul VI's Credo of the People of God confirms the
    faith of the primitive Church when it proclaims
  • "The mutual bonds which eternally constitute the
    three Persons who are each one and the same
    Divine Being, are the blessed inmost life of God
    thrice holy, infinitely beyond all that we can
    conceive in human measure
  • truly, the ineffable and Most Holy Trinity
  • the One God.
  • (cf. DS 804) (L'Osservatore Romano, English
    edition, July 11, 1968, p. 4)
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