Before we can look at the question of the Blessed Trinity we have to decide for ourselves whether we believe or not there is a God. Most people believe in one, even if that God is themselves.
The Jews, of course, believe in a God. He is the God of the Old Testament. The Arabs, who are mostly Muslim, believe in a God too. They call him Allah, which is simply the Arabic word for God.
Both Arabs and Jews claim Abraham as their father. The Arabs come from Ishmael, the first son of Abraham whose mother was a slave girl – while the Jews come from Isaac, Abraham’s second son born of his wife Sarah. Ishmael and Isaac were at loggerheads from an early age and some say that we can still see their animosity in the situation in the Middle East today between Arabs and Jews.
But what is interesting is how the Arabs and Jews see themselves before their God. Their conceptions are vastly different. Mohammed saw God as one who demands his service as a master would of a slave. Muslims see their relationship to Allah in terms of doing things which please Allah, as would a slave trying to please his master. Feeding the hungry and clothing the naked poor and so on. Service to Allah comes in hierarchies, that is, some things please Allah more than others. The highest level of service to Allah is jihad.
The Jewish conception of God is described in the Old Testament and in many ways is like the Muslim beliefs, for example, their continuing belief in the law of ‘an eye for an eye.’ But the God of Israel is also profoundly patient, loving, merciful, kind, tender-hearted, forgiving and just. Jews see themselves as children of God whereas Muslims would see themselves more as slaves. So what about Christians? How do they see God?
The Christian concept of God is inherited from the inspired texts of the Old Testament and which is completed in the New Testament. And so the Trinity in God which is ‘embedded’ throughout the Old Testament is made clear and explicit in the revelation of the Son of God, Jesus Christ. Confining ourselves to just one dimension of this revelation we can say with Scripture, with Tradition, with the Church – that God is a Trinity of Persons in one God, a communion of love.
This, then, is our God: a loving Father who has sent his Son to save us from our evil and who draws us to himself by the power of his own Holy Spirit.
To ‘immerse’ ourselves in such a God is a vastly different project from those who worship other Gods. This is not to boast but to give thanks. Through no merit of our own the Lord has chosen to make himself known to us and we know that to follow him is to ennoble every single human quality and potential and, at the same time to offer us a destiny immeasurably greater than any other god could dream of.
The Trinitarian God, the God of the Christians, is a God who contains within himself, in fact, who is within himself a relationship of love, a communion of love. The Father, the Source of Life, loves his only and eternally begotten Son; the Son loves the Father in return and this love between the two divine Persons is the Holy Spirit, eternally generated. The Father is the one God. The Son is the one God. The Holy Spirit is the one God.
Blessed be God the Father and his only-begotten Son and the Holy Spirit: for he has shown that he loves us.
How wonderful! The God who is Love loves us; we are loved by Love. Who can fathom this truth? Who can give adequate praise and thanks to the God of Love? He has created us in love, he has redeemed us in love, he has destined us for love.
The God who is a communion of love reveals to us most clearly in Jesus that he made us for this communion which constantly calls at our hearts, inviting us, drawing us with its ceaseless invitation to surrender – and become love.
The love of the Father has sent us, his children, his only-begotten Son who won for us the ultimate gift, the Spirit of love, which he sent into our hearts to make us cry out: Abba, Father.
This interior call to communion with our Creator is at the same time gift. It is the daily guarantee of his love for us and gives direction and meaning to our every moment. The return he asks is not only that we love him but that we love one another. This, indeed, is the decisive yes we must arrive at.
Trinitarian love excludes no part of what it has created; the divine mercy continues to reach out to our freedom and we must do likewise to all in our lives and communities. In a practical way this means unrelenting forgiveness towards those who offend us, as well as unrelenting hope that those who at present seem to reject the love of God may one day happily yield to it.