Papal Household Preacher Reflects on the Trinity

That Mystery Is a School to Overcome Divisions, He Says

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VATICAN CITY, JUNE 17, 2003 (Zenit.org).- Contemplation of the Trinity might move us to overcome our seemingly irreconcilable divisions, says the Papal Household preacher.



"The Father is, as in human experience, the origin of everything," said Father Raniero Cantalamessa said, when reflecting on the identity of the three divine Persons. Last Sunday was the solemnity of the Holy Trinity.

"Particularly in Greek thought, the Father is seen as the source of the whole Trinity, from whom spring the Son and the Holy Spirit," the Capuchin Franciscan told Vatican Radio. "The Son has been interpreted by the Apostle St. John, who referred to him as the 'logos,' reason, the Word."

"The Holy Spirit," he added, "has been revealed to us through very simple images: the wind as the symbol of force, gust, breath which represents intimacy, interiority."

For a believer, the Trinity is a mystery that is very familiar, the priest said. Christian life -- which begins with baptism, in the name of the Father, of the Son and of the Holy Spirit -- develops submerged in the Trinitarian dimension, whether in confirmation, or in the sacrament of marriage, or at the hour of death, Father Cantalamessa added.

To bring a nonbeliever closer to the Trinitarian mystery, one could begin with the concept of "God-Love," he said. "Although we cannot explain the Trinity, at least we can say that God cannot but be Triune."

"From all eternity, God has in himself an infinite object to love, who is the Son, by whom he is also loved with an infinite love, who is the Holy Spirit," he noted.

"Sometimes, when I speak of this mystery, I add that I would have compassion for a God who had no one to love, no one with whom to share his infinite happiness: He would be a very sad God," the Capuchin said. "Just like men, who need someone with whom to communicate, God has need in himself of a person to whom he can express all his love, who is the Son."

"Contemplate the Trinity, to defeat the odious division in the world," is a saying used by St. Sergius of Radonezh, who in a sense was the spiritual father of Russia, the Papal Household preacher recalled.

"We find ourselves exactly before the same problem: the contemplation of the Trinity, which is diversity in love and unity in diversity, should stimulate us to overcome are seemingly irreconcilable differences of race, sex and culture, because the Trinity is perfect unity in diversity."