The Solemnity of the Trinity celebrates one of the greatest mysteries of Christianity. Attempts to teach about God’s single nature in three persons has been attempted many times over, from great artistic representations, to the simple analogy of the Shamrock. The most precise approach was taught to me in High School and for me removed the contradiction in my mind. (I certainly don’t want to claim the Mystery has been de-mystified!) So here I go attempting to regurgitate my high school catechism:
One of the natures of God is His simplicity. Us created beings are complex and require many words to be described. God’s self expression requires a single Word, due to His simplicity. This Word He generates is His Son. This is the Word in John, the word that was with God and is God. This image of the Father is a perfect image and therefore is no lesser than God Himself. Between Father and Son is a life-giving relationship, a spiration and love which comprise the self-knowledge. Thus the Holy Spirit proceeds from and is this relationship. Thus we have Father, Son, and Holy Spirit together as one God forever.
I’ve held on to this explanation as its implications have led me to a deeper understanding of the sacraments, of family life, and ties in nicely with the Theology of the Body. The way the Holy spirit proceeds from both the Father and the Son settles the Filioque dispute for me and as a matter of fact I see the Trinity as a necessary quality of a truly personal and generous God! The Son as the utterance of God’s simple Word helps me ponder the eternal coexistence of the persons, even though Jesus’ physical human life was bound in time.
Those who like to keep mysteries a mystery might not like to dwell on such a thorough examination of the persons and their relationships. I’m certain that there’s a danger here that might hold one back from deepening their meditation on such a great mystery if they use such a rationalist explanation as a fence rather than a crutch. But for my rationalist approach, I needed something like this to at least have some footing on this doctrine. From this I can rejoice in God’s simple ingenuity, be thankful for His Word made flesh to dwell among us, and delight in the power of His Love personified in the Holy Spirit.