(John 16: 12-15) Belief in the Holy Trinity – the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit – is at the core of what it means to be a Christian. And though it is a basic tenet of our faith, it’s also its greatest mystery – the mystery of God himself. To our human minds, One God in Three Persons seems illogical. Because the Trinity is so hard to wrap our heads around, we are constantly searching for ways to explain it. Perhaps the best description I’ve heard is one we frequently give to children, the analogy of water in its three main forms – water, ice, and steam. Children get it when we explain God this way. They see that water can change depending on the conditions, yet it is essentially the same thing.
The same is true for God. But the differences have less to do with form than with function. We truly have only one God, but He works in different ways. We usually think of it in this way: God the Father creates, God the Son redeems, and God the Holy Spirit sanctifies. In that sense, the work of both Creator and Redeemer is complete – they have done their part in the plan of salvation history and in each of our lives. Now the rest is up to us! The work of the Sanctifier is far from over, but requires our cooperation and consent. The Holy Spirit will continue to work in and through us, bringing us to fullness of life and guiding us “into all the truth” (Jn 16: 13).
Despite all this explanation, we mustn’t be tempted to separate God too completely in our minds and thus reduce Him to titles or diminish His glory. We must remember that it is out of a profound unity and communion of Persons that our Triune God exists. Each time we sign ourselves in the name of the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit, we are reminded that we, the Church, are also called to live that unity and to be a tangible expression of it in the world. We must work for unity within ourselves, in our families, and in our communities, and thus be that light of Christ for all to see. Let us strive to live our lives in such a way so as to reflect the love and communion of our God.
“We are one in the Spirit, we are one in the Lord…and they’ll know we are Christians by our love.”
– Kelley Holy