“Glory to the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit: to God who is, who was, and who is to come” (Gospel acclamation).
The Church ceaselessly repeats this praise to the Most Holy Trinity. Indeed, Christian prayer begins with the sign of the Cross: “In the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit”, and often ends with the Trinitarian doxology: “Through our Lord Jesus Christ, your Son, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever”.
Every day constant praise of the Trinity rises to God from the community of believers; today, however, the first Sunday after Pentecost, we are celebrating this great mystery of faith in a special way.
Gloria Tibi, Trinitas, aequalis, una Deitas, et ante omnia saecula et nunc, et in perpetuum! — “All glory belongs to you, Holy Trinity, one God, before all ages, now and for ever!” (First Vespers of the Solemnity of the Blessed Trinity).
In this liturgical formula we contemplate the mystery of the ineffable unity and inscrutable Trinity of God: Father, Son and Holy Spirit. This is what we profess in the Apostles’ Creed:
“I believe in God …
I believe in Jesus Christ, his only Son, our Lord …
He was conceived by the Holy Spirit, born of the Virgin Mary”.
And again, in the Nicene-Constantinopolitan Creed:
“We believe in the Holy Spirit, the Lord, the giver of life, who proceeds from the Father and the Son. With the Father and the Son he is worshiped and glorified. He has spoken through the prophets”.
This is our faith! This is the Church’s faith! This is the God of our faith: Father, Son and Holy Spirit!
God came to speak of himself to man, revealing who he is. And he chose Israel to receive this manifestation. He said to the chosen people: “For ask now of the days that are past, which were before you, since the day that God created man upon the earth, and ask … did any people ever hear the voice of a god speaking out of the midst of the fire, as you have heard, and still live?” (cf. Dt 4:32-33). Moses meant these words to refer to the manifestation of God on Mount Sinai and to the giving of the Ten Commandments, as well as to his personal experience on Mount Horeb. At that time God had spoken to him from the burning bush, entrusting him with the mission of freeing Israel from slavery in Egypt, and had revealed to him his own name: “Yahweh” — “I am who am!” (cf. Ex 3:1-14).
These biblical texts guide us in deepening our knowledge of the Trinitarian mystery, which leads from Moses to Christ. The Evangelist Matthew mentions that before ascending into heaven, the Risen One told his disciples: “All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit” (Mt 28:18-19). The Trinitarian aspect of the mystery made known to Moses is fully revealed in Christ. Through him, in fact, we discover the unity of the divinity and the trinity of Persons. A mystery of the living God, a mystery of the life of God! Jesus is the Prophet of this mystery. He offered himself in sacrifice on the altar of this immense mystery of love.
“You have received the Spirit of sonship through whom we cry ‘Abba! Father!’” (Rom 8:15).
With these words, St Paul emphasizes the apostolic Church as the herald of the Most Holy Trinity. God reveals himself as the One who gives life through Christ, the one Mediator. We believe in the Son of God, who brought divine life like fire to be kindled on earth.
We believe in the Holy Spirit, who is the Lord and giver of life. Through the Holy Spirit, believers become sons in the Son, as St John writes in the Prologue of his Gospel (cf. Jn 1: 13). Begotten by the Spirit, men address God with Christ’s own words, calling him: “Abba, Father!”.
Through Baptism we are inserted into Trinitarian communion. Every Christian is baptized in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit; he is immersed in the life of God. What a great gift and a great mystery!
Quite rightly then the Church with deep gratitude sings her faith in the Trinity in the Te Deum:
“Sanctus, Sanctus, Sanctus
Dominus Deus Sabaoth”.
“The heavens and the earth
are filled with
your majesty and glory.
The glorious band of Apostles,
the white-robed army who shed their
blood for Christ, all sing your praise.
And to the ends of the earth
your holy Church proclaims her faith
in you: your true and only Son,
who is to be adored, the Holy Spirit
sent to be our Advocate”.