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By Bishop Earl Boyea

The Holy Trinity - the most important of our beliefs

At this time of year, there are many moral issues out there which demand our attention. However, it occurred to me that it might be good to focus on the most important of our beliefs: the Trinity. We believe in one God, not more than one. The mystery which has been revealed to us in Jesus is that this one God comprises three persons: the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit. This is truly a mystery which we cannot explain completely this side of the grave. That is why we call it faith – we believe it. We will experience this communion of love in heaven, and then all will be clear.

Until that glorious day, let me look at this from a different point of view, from our prayer and daily life. Most of us, when we pray, do so to “God.” I presume that we mean by this, “the Father.” That is what happens in the Mass when we say a prayer to God; it is addressed to the Father. It strikes me that we should be conscious of directing our prayer and praise to this loving Father, the one who sent his only Son to become one of us at the Annunciation to Mary, and then at Christmas, until he gave us the gift of his Son on the cross on Good Friday. The Father was showing his love for us in this extended gift into our time and history.

That is why our access to the Father is always through his Son. It is Jesus who has told us about the Father and his deep love for us. And Jesus did not just tell us; he showed us by his words, his miracles, his suffering and death. Without Jesus, we would not know about the Father. Jesus taught us to call God, “Father.” He gave us a prayer, the Our Father. So, all prayer that we direct to the Father is always through Jesus and in union with Jesus. We give great thanks to the Father for having given us his Son for our salvation.

But that gift-giving on the part of the Father did not end on Good Friday. Rather, the Father continues to give us his love and power and presence through the pouring out of the Holy Spirit, who has taken up residence in all our hearts through baptism and confirmation. I am fully convinced that most of us do not feel this presence at work in us. Is that the Holy Spirit’s fault or ours? Or is that not a question we should ask ourselves? But if we do not ask it, are we not missing part of our life with the Holy Trinity? Most of us are like corked bottles of wine. And we are not empty bottles. There is a great vintage within each of us which only needs the open air to breathe and to be of benefit to ourselves and the world.

This is why all the prayers of the Church are directed to the Father through the Son and in the Holy Spirit. Notice this next Sunday when you hear the priest say the opening prayer at Mass. We are related to all three persons of the Trinity, and to the degree that we are not, our relationship with God is lacking in full maturity.

What shall we do? First of all, it is important to have a deeper encounter with Jesus, and that can be achieved through the reading of the Gospels and a deeper appreciation of the sacramental life of the Church, especially the Eucharist. Second, we need to invite the Holy Spirit to direct our lives, to let that Spirit guide us, perhaps even in ways we would rather not go. Finally, all this needs to be directed, then, in an act of praise and thanks to the Father for his many gifts to us. Is that not what this Christmas season is most about? We are thankful for the gifts we have already received.

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