The “Catechism of the Catholic Church” says that the Holy Trinity is a mystery, one that “in itself is inaccessible to the human mind.” I once had a college professor liken it to biting a wall. You can get close and open your mouth to it, maybe even lick it, but you can never really get a full satisfying bite of it. His analogy concerned revelation and how we may know theologies and dogmas of the Holy Trinity, but we will never really fully grasp them in their entirety. While I understand where he was going with it, I’m drawn to consider that perhaps too often that is how we view the Trinity — reducing it to something we can see and touch, but knowing it is something we will never be satisfied with on this earth and leaving it at that. It is something that is other than us, or a thing we are passive witnesses of, sitting around scratching our heads about. The readings this weekend reveal even more of this mystery to us.
The first reading and psalm chosen for this Sunday are striking. On the feast of the Most Holy Trinity, we hear not only of truths that can and have existed without us existing, but we hear of God’s love and favor towards humanity. We read that he “found delight in the human race” and that he has made man a “little less than the angels.” God truly delights in his creation. His self-revelation not only reveals his three Divine Persons, but it reveals that there is an intimate connection with who God is and who we are. It isn’t just about figuring out how to get a small bite of understanding the Trinity, it is about learning that there is a relationship being offered to us, flowing from the love relationship of Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. It may, as the Catechism says, be inaccessible to our human minds, but through faith, God’s love is made accessible to our hearts.
One of my favorite authors, Fr. Jacques Philippe, speaks of faith in his book “Fire & Light” in a profound way:
“One could make an interesting connection between the role of faith in the spiritual life and the sense of touch in the life of the senses… It doesn’t have the richness of some of the other senses … It is the primordial but the most essential sense in life and in communication. And it possess an advantage other senses don’t have: reciprocity … we can’t touch an object without being touched by it at the same time. The contact that comes with touching something is more intimate and immediate than that created by any other sense. It is par excellence, the sense of communication … Through faith, we can, in a mysterious but real way, touch God and let ourselves be touched by him …”
Echoing this theme, on Trinity Sunday, June 18, 2000, St. John Paul II said that “where [man’s] senses cannot reach, it is faith that supports man in approaching this mystery.” We might not get a big bite of the Trinity with our mind, but we can go farther with our faith.
We live in a world bombarded with half-truths informed by our senses. Man’s unquenchable thirst for something beyond himself is written all over every human striving. We see banners and marches declaring love should decide. We find rulers and politicians reaching for power and prestige. And yet none of it has fulfilled man’s deepest longings. At each corner, there is another vastness of longing found in our hearts, and we soon find that even the most utopian ideologies cannot satiate our hearts. That is because our thirst is as incomprehensible as the God who made us. To know ourselves, we must seek to know the God who made us, the God who Christ reveals in the Gospel this Sunday as Trinitarian. And that knowledge is only touchable through faith.
The Most Holy Trinity truly is a most intimate and inviting mystery, coming to us from the mouth of Christ, the one who loved humanity passionately to the point of death on a cross for us. May we always seek to become small in the narrow eyes of the world and increase our faith so as to touch the incomprehensible God, the Most Holy Trinity.