Trinity Sunday
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FEAST OF THE HOLY TRINITY
From Fr. Leonard Goffine's Explanations of the Epistles and Gospels for the Sundays, Holydays, and Festivals throughout the Ecclesiastical Year 36th edition, 1880

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This festival is celebrated on the Sunday after Pentecost, because as soon as the apostles
were instructed and consoled by the Holy Ghost, they began to preach openly that which Christ had taught them.

Why do we celebrate this festival?

That we may openly profess our faith in the doctrine of the Holy Trinity, which is the first of Christian truths, the foundation of the Christian religion, and the most sublime of all mysteries; and that we may render thanks, to the Father for having created us, to the Son for having redeemed us, and to the Holy Ghost for having sanctified us.

In praise and honor of the most Holy Trinity, the Church sings at the Introit of this day's Mass:

INTROIT Blessed be the holy Trinity and undivided Unity: we will give glory to him, because he hath shown his mercy to us: (Tob. XII.) O Lord, our Lord, how wonderful is thy name in all the earth! (Ps. VIII. 1.) Glory be to the Father, etc.

COLLECT Almighty, everlasting God, who hast granted to Thy servants, in the confession of the true faith, to acknowledge the glory of the eternal Trinity, and in the power of Thy, majesty, to adore the Unity: grant that, by steadfastness in the same faith, we may ever be defended from all adversities. Thro'.

EPISTLE (ROM XI. 33-36.) O the depth of the riches of the wisdom and of the knowledge of God! How incomprehensible are his judgments, and how unsearchable his ways! For who hath known the mind of the Lord? Or who hath been his counsellor? Or who hath first given to him, and recompense shall be made him? For of him, and by him, and in him, are all things: to him be glory forever. Amen.

Quote:EXPLANATION St. Paul's exclamations, in this epistle, are caused by the inscrutable judgment of God in rejecting the Jews and calling the Gentiles. The Church makes use of these words to express her admiration for the incomprehensible mystery of the most Holy Trinity, which surpasses our understanding, and yet is the worthy object of our faith, hope and love. Although neither angels nor men can fathom this mystery, it cannot be difficult for the sound human intellect to believe it, since it is indubitably and evidently revealed by God, arid we, in many natural and human things, accept for true and certain much that we cannot comprehend. Let us submit our intellect, there fore, and yield ourselves up to faith; as there was indeed a time when men were martyred, when even persons of all ages and conditions preferred to die rather than to abandon this faith, so let us rather wait until our faith is changed to contemplation, until we see the Triune God, face to face, as He is, and in the sight of that countenance become eternally happy. Thither should all our hopes, wishes,' and desires be directed, and we should cease all fruitless investigations, endeavoring by humble faith and active love, to prove worthy of the beatific vision; for if we do not love Him who is our all, our last end and aim, and lovingly desire Him, we will have to hope of one day possessing Him.

ASPIRATION O incomprehensible, Triune God! O Abyss of wisdom, power, and goodness! To Thee all glory and adoration! In Thee I lose myself; I cannot contain Thee, do Thou, contain me. I believe in Thee, though I cannot comprehend Thee; do Thou increase my faith; I hope in. Thee, for Thou art the source of all good; do Thou enliven my hope; I love Thee, because Thou art worthy, of all love; do Thou inflame ever more my love, that in Thy love I may live and die. Amen.

GOSPEL (Matt. XXVIII. 18-20.) At that time Jesus said to His disciples: All power is given to me in heaven and in earth. Going, therefore; teach ye all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost; teaching them to observe all things whatsoever I have commanded you. And behold, I am with you all days, even to the consummation of the world.

Quote:EXPLANATION Christ being God had from all eternity the same power that His Father had; being man, He had this same power by the union of His divinity with His humanity, and on account of the infinite merits of His passion. In virtue of this power, He said to His apostles, before the ascension, that, as His Heavenly Father had sent Him, even so He sent them to all nations, without exception, to teach all that He had commanded, and to receive them, by means of baptism, into the Church; at the same time He promised to be with them to the end of the world, that is, that He would console them in suffering, strengthen them in persecution, preserve them from error, and always protect them and their successors, the bishops and priests, even unto the consummation of the world.

(See Instruction on the doctrine of the infallibility of the Church for the first Sunday after Easter.)

ASPIRATION Be with us, O Lord, for without Thee our pastors cannot produce fruit, nor their hearers profit anything from their words. Be with us always, for we always need Thy help. All power is given to Thee, Thou bast then the right to command, and we are bound to obey Thy commands which by Thy Church Thou bast made known to us. This we have promised in baptism, and now before Thee we renew those vows. Grant now that those promises which without Thee we could not have made, and without Thee cannot keep, may be fulfilled in our actions. Leave us not to ourselves, but be Thou with us, and make us obedient to Thee, that by cheerful submission to Thee true may receive happiness.



INSTRUCTION ON THE HOLY SACRAMENT OF BAPTISM

Going, therefore, teach ye all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost (Matt. XXVIII. 19.)

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Is Baptism a Sacrament?

Yes because in it the baptized person receives the grace of God by means of an external sign, instituted by Christ.


What is this external sign?

The immersion, or the pouring of water, accompanied by the words: "I baptize thee in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost."


What does the baptismal grace effect?

It removes original and actual sin; causing ,man to be spiritually born again, made a new creature, a child of God, and joint heir with Christ.


How many kinds of baptism are there?

There are three kinds: The baptism of desire, which consists in a heartfelt desire for the baptism of water, joined with a perfect love of God, or a perfect sorrow for sins committed, and with the purpose to obey all God's commands; the baptism of blood, which is received by those who suffer martyrdom for the true faith, without having received the baptism of water; the baptism of water, which is the Sacrament of Baptism.


What do the different ceremonies of this Sacrament signify?

They are the external signs of the effects which baptism produces inwardly upon the soul, and should impress us with deep reverence for this Sacrament.


Why is it customary to have a godfather or godmother?

That there may be a witness that the child has received baptism; that in case of the death of the parents, the sponsors may assume their place, and have the child instructed in the truths of religion. St. Augustine speaking of the duties of sponsors, very beautifully says: "They should use all care, often to admonish in true love their godchildren that they may strive to lead a pure life; they should warn them against all detraction, all improper songs, and keep them from pride, envy, anger, and revenge; they should watch over them that they may preserve the Catholic faith, attend the church services, listen to the word of God, and obey their parents and their pastors." Sponsors must therefore be true believers, and of unquestionable morality. No one, unless a Catholic can be chosen for a sponsor, because one who is not a Catholic would not instruct the child in the Catholic faith, or see that others do it; but would be more likely, as experience shows, to draw the child over to error.


What results from this sponsorship?

In baptism, as in confirmation, a spiritual affinity originates between, the sponsors, the one who baptizes or confirms, with the one baptized or confirmed, and with the parents, so that, by a decision of the Church a godfather or godmother cannot contract marriage with any of these parties, unless the impediment is removed by dispensation, that is, by a special permission received from a spiritual superior. But the sponsors have no spiritual relationship to each other.


Why has the Church instituted this spiritual relation?

From reverence for these holy Sacraments, and that by this spiritual bond the sponsors may be more closely connected with their godchildren, and be incited earnestly to discharge their obligation.


Why must the person to be baptized wait at the entrance of the church?

To indicate that until he has thrown off the yoke of sin, and submitted to Christ, and His authority, he is unworthy to enter, because Baptism is the door of God's grace, to the kingdom of heaven, and the communion of saints.


Why does the person receive a saint's name?

That by this name he may be enrolled, through baptism, into the number of Christians whom St. Paul calls saints; that he may have a patron and intercessor, and that the saint, whose name he bears, may be his model and example, by which he may regulate his own life.


Why does the priest breathe in the face of the one to be baptized?

In imitation of Christ who breathed on His apostles when He gave them the Holy Ghost. (John XX. 22.) St. Chrysostom says that in baptism supernatural life is given to the soul as God imparted natural life to Adam by breathing on him.


Why does the priest impose his hand so many times upon the head of the person to be baptized?

To show that he is now the property of God and is under His protection.


What do the many exorcisms signify?

That the evil spirit who previous to baptism holds the person in bondage is now commanded in the name of God to depart, that a dwelling?place may be prepared for the Holy Ghost.


Why is the person so often signed with the sign of the cross?

To signify that through the power of Christ's merits and of His death on the cross, baptism washes away original sin; that the person is to be henceforth a follower of Christ the Crucified, and as such must fight valiantly under the banner of the cross, against the enemies of his salvation, and must follow Christ on the way of the cross even unto death.


What does the salt signify which is put into the person's mouth?

It is an emblem of Christian wisdom and of preservation from the corruption of sin.


Why are his ears and nose touched with spittle?

That as Christ put spittle on the eyes. of the man born blind, thus restoring his sight, so by baptism, the spiritual blindness of the soul is removed, and his mind receives light to behold heavenly wisdom. Also, as St. Ambrose says, the candidate is thus instructed to open his ears to priestly, admonitions, and become a sweet odor of Christ.


Why does the priest ask: "Dust thou renounce the devil; and all his works, and all his pomps?"

That the Christian may know that his vocation requires him to renounce and combat the devil, his works, suggestions and pomps. Thus St. Ambrose very beautifully addresses a person just baptized: "When the priest asked: `Dust thou renounce the devil and all his works,' what didst thou reply? `I renounce them.' `Dost thou renounce the world, its lusts and its pomps?' `I renounce them.' Think of these promises, and let them never depart from thy mind. Thou hast given thy hand?writing to the priest,, who stands for Christ; when thou host given thy note to a man, a thou art bound to him. Now thy word is not on earth but preserved in heaven; say not thou knowest nothing of this promise; this exculpates thee no better than the excuse of a soldier who in time of battle should say he knew not that by becoming a soldier he would have to fight."


Why is the person anointed on the shoulder and breast with holy oil?

As SS. Ambrose and Chrysostom explain this is done to strengthen him to fight bravely for Christ; as the combatants of old anointed themselves with oil before they entered the arena, so is he anointed, on the breast, that he may gain courage and force, bravely to combat the world, the flesh, and the devil, and on the shoulder, that he may be strong to bear constantly and untiringly, the yoke of Christ's commands, and persue the toilsome course of life in unwavering. fidelity to God and His holy law.


Why are, the Lord's Prayer, and the Apostles' Creed said at baptism?

That, when the child is a grown person an acknowledgment of faith may by this means be made m the face of the Church; when children are baptized, these prayers are said by the sponsors who are thus reminded to see that their godchildren are well instructed in these as in all other Christian truths.


Why does the priest expressly ask the person if he will be baptized?

Because as man, through Adam, of his own free will obeyed the devil, so now when he would be received among the number of Christ's children, he must, to obtain salvation, of his own free will obey the precepts of God.


Why is water poured three times upon the person's head?

This is done, as St. Gregory the Great writes, in token that man after this thrice-repeated ablution rises from the death of sin, as Christ, after His three days' burial, rose from the dead. (Rom. VI. 4.5.) In early times the candidate for baptism was immersed three times in the water. For many 'reasons this custom has been abolished.


Why is the person anointed on the top of the head with chrism?

This anointing is, so to speak, the crown of the young Christian. As in the Old Law the kings were anointed, (I Kings X. 1.) as Jesus is the Anointed One, and as the Apostle St. Peter calls the Christians a chosen race, a kingly priesthood, a holy people, (I Peter II. 9.) so the baptized by means of this unction is embodied in Christ, the Anointed One, and participates in His priesthood and kingly dignity. What an exalted position is the Christian's! He is the anointed one of the Lord, and in a spiritual sense a priest, because he constantly brings himself to the Lord God as a pleasing sacrifice in prayer, mortification, &c. He is king when he rules over his inclinations, submits them to reason, and reason to the Lord. Besides this he is king by the claims which, through baptism, he possesses to the kingdom of heaven. Through the chrism he becomes the blessed temple of the Holy Ghost, the sacred vessel which in time, through communion, will contain the precious body and blood of Christ. How does he desecrate this temple when, by grievous sin, he tramples this exalted dignity under his feet and. stains the temple of the Holy Ghost, his soul!


What does the white robe signify?

The holy Fathers teach that this represents the glory to which by baptism we are born again; the purity and beauty with which the soul, having been washed from sin in the Sacrament of baptism, is adorned, and the innocence which the baptized should preserve through his whole life.


Why is a lighted candle placed in his hand?

It is an emblem of the Christian doctrine which preserves the baptized from the darkness of error, ignorance, and sin, illumines his understanding, and leads him safely in the way of virtue; it represents the flame of. love for God and our neighbor which the baptized should henceforth continually carry, like the five prudent virgins, (Matt. XXV. 13.) on the path to meet the Lord, that when his life is ended he may be admitted to the eternal wedding feast; it signifies also the light of good example which he should keep ever burning.


Who is the minister of this Sacrament?

The ordinary minister is the priest of the Church; but in case of necessity any layman or woman, even the father or mother can baptize. Parents, however, should not baptize their own child unless no other Catholic can be procured. The reason why lay persons are permitted to baptize is that no one may be deprived of salvation.


What must be observed particularly in private baptism?

The person who baptizes must be careful to use only natural water, which must be poured on the child's head saying at the same time the words: I baptize thee in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost; having at the same time the intention of baptizing as the Church does, in the manner required by Christ.




INSTRUCTION ON THE RENEWAL OF BAPTISMAL VOWS

All the graces and dignities which we receive in baptism, God secures to us for the future, only on condition that we keep our baptismal vows. Every Christian in baptism makes a bond with God through the meditation of Christ who has sealed it with His blood. This bond consists, on man's part, in the promise to renounce forever the devil, all his works and all his pomps, that is, constantly to suppress the threefold lust of the eyes, the flesh and the pride of life, by which the devil leads us to sin, and to believe all that God has revealed, and all that His holy Church proposes to our belief, and diligently and properly to make use of all the means of salvation. On the part of God this bond consists in cleansing us from all sin, in bestowing the gifts of the Holy Ghost, in adopting us as His children, and. in the assurance to the inheritance of heaven. This bond will never be broken by God who is infinitely true and faithful, but it is often violated by weak and fickle man. In compliance with the desire of the Church we should often reflect upon it, and from time to time renew it in the sight of God. This should be done particularly before receiving the holy Sacrament of Confirmation, before first Communion, on the vigils of Easter and Pentecost, at the blessing of baptismal water, on the anniversaries of our baptism and confirmation, before making any solemn vow, before entering into matrimony and when in danger of death. This renewal of baptismal vows can be made in the following manner: Placing ourselves in the presence of God, we kneel down, fold our hands, and say with fervent devotion:

I believe in God the Father Almighty, Creator of heaven and earth.

I believe in Jesus Christ, His only Son, our Lord, who was born and suffered for us.

I believe in the Holy Ghost, the holy Catholic Church, the communion of saints, the forgiveness of sins, the resurrection of the body, and life everlasting.

I renounce the devil; all his works and all his pomps.

Christ Jesus ! With Thee I am united, to Thee alone I cling, Thee only will I follow, for Thee I desire to live and die. In the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost. Amen.



DOCTRINE ON THE HOLY TRINITY

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What is God?

GOD is the most perfect being, the highest, best Good, who exists, from all eternity, by whom heaven and earth are create, and from whom all things derive and hold life and existence, for of Him, and by Him, and in Him are all things. (Rom. XI. 36.)


What is the Blessed Trinity?

The Blessed Trinity is this one God who is one in nature and threefold in person, the Father, the Son, and the Holy Ghost.


Is each of these three persons God?

Yes, because each of them has the divine nature and substance.


Are they not three Gods?

No, because all three of these persons have one and the same divine nature and substance.


Is any one of these three persons older, mightier, or greater than the other?

By, no means, they are all three from eternity entirely equal to each .other in divine omnipotence greatness and majesty, and must, therefore, be equally adored and venerated.


Ought one to give himself up to the investigation of the most Blessed Trinity?

No; "For," says the saintly Bishop Martin, "the mystery of the Trinity cannot be comprehended by the human intellect, no one however eloquent can exhaust it; if entire books were written about it, so that the whole world were filled with them, yet the unspeakable wisdom of God would not be expressed. God who is indescribable, can in no way be described. When the human mind ceases to speak of Him, then it but begins to speak." Therefore the true Christian throws his intellect under the feet of faith, not seeking to understand that which the human mind can as little comprehend, as a tiny hole in the sand can contain the immeasurable sea. An humble and active faith will make us worthy some day in the other world, to see with ' the greatest bliss this mystery as it is, for in this consists eternal life, that by a pious life we may glorify and know the only true God, Christ Jesus His Son, and the Holy Ghost.
"So let us be confident, let us not be unprepared, let us not be outflanked, let us be wise, vigilant, fighting against those who are trying to tear the faith out of our souls and morality out of our hearts, so that we may remain Catholics, remain united to the Blessed Virgin Mary, remain united to the Roman Catholic Church, remain faithful children of the Church."- Abp. Lefebvre
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Trinity Sunday
Taken from The Liturgical Year by Dom Prosper Guéranger  (1841-1875)

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On the day of Pentecost, the Holy Apostles received, as we have seen, the grace of the Holy Ghost. In accordance with the injunction of their divine Master, they will soon start on their mission of teaching all nations and baptizing men in the name of the Holy Trinity It was but right, then, that the solemnity which is intended to honor the mystery of One God in Three Persons should immediately follow that of Pentecost, with which it has a mysterious connection. And yet it was not till after many centuries that it was inserted in the Cycle of the Liturgical Year, whose completion is the work of successive ages.

Every homage paid to God by the Church’s Liturgy has the Holy Trinity as its object. Time, as well as eternity, belongs to the Trinity. The Trinity is the scope of all Religion. Every day, every hour, belongs to It. The Feasts instituted in memory of the mysteries of our Redemption center in It. The Feasts of the Blessed Virgin and the Saints are but so many means for leading us to the praise of the God who is One in essence, and Three in Persons. The Sunday’s Office, in a very special way, gives us, each week, a most explicit expression of adoration and worship of this mystery, which is the foundation of all others and the source of all grace.

This explains to us how it was that the Church was so long in instituting a special Feast in honor of the Holy Trinity. The ordinary motive for the institution of Feasts did not exist in this instance. A Feast is the memorial of some fact which took place at some certain time, and of which it is well to perpetuate the remembrance and influence. How could this be applied to the mystery of the Trinity? It was from all eternity, it was before any created being existed, that God liveth and reigneth, Father, Son, and Holy Ghost. If a Feast in honor of that Mystery were to be instituted, it could only be by the fixing some one day in the Year whereon the Faithful would assemble for the offering a more than usually solemn tribute of worship to the Mystery of Unity and Trinity in the one same divine Nature.

The idea of such a Feast was first conceived by some of those pious and recollected souls, who are favored from on high with a sort of presentiment of the things which the Holy Ghost will achieve, at a future period, in the Church. So far back as the 8th Century, the learned monk Alcuin had had the happy thought of composing a Mass in honor of the mystery of the blessed Trinity. It would seem that he was prompted to this by the Apostle of Germany, Saint Boniface. That this composition is a beautiful one, no one will doubt that knows, from Alcuin’s writings, how full its author was of the spirit of sacred Liturgy; but after all, it was only a votive Mass, a mere help to private devotion, which no one ever thought would lead to the institution of a Feast. This Mass, however, became a great favorite, and was gradually circulated through the several Churches; for instance, it was approved of for Germany by the Council of Selingenstadt, held in 1022.

In that 11th Century, however, a Feast properly so called of Holy Trinity had been introduced into one of the Churches of Belgium,—the very same that was to have the honor, later on, of procuring to the Church’s Calendar one of the richest of its Solemnities. Stephen, Bishop of Liége solemnly instituted the Feast of Holy Trinity for his Church, in 920, and had an entire Office composed in honor of the mystery. The Church’s law, which now reserves to the Holy See the institution of any new Feast was not then in existence; and Riquier, Stephen’s successor in the See of Liége, kept up what his predecessor had begun.

The Feast became gradually adopted. The Benedictine Order took it up from the very first. We find, for instance, in the early part of the 11th Century, that Berno, the Abbot of Reichnaw, was doing all he could to propagate it. At Cluny, also, the Feast was established at the commencement of the same Century, as we learn from the Ordinarium of that celebrated Monastery, drawn up in 1091, and where we find mention of Holy Trinity day as having been instituted long before.

Under the pontificate of Alexander the Second, who reigned from 1061 to 1073, the Church of Rome, which has frequently sanctioned the usages of particular Churches, by herself adopting them, was led to pass judgment upon this new institution. In one of his Decretals, the Pontiff mentions that the Feast was then kept in many places; but that the Church at Rome had not adopted it; and for this reason—that the adorable Trinity is, every day of the year, unceasingly invoked by the repetition of the words: Gloria Patri, et Filio, et Spiritui Sancto; as, likewise, by several other formulas expressive of praise.

Meanwhile, the Feast went on gaining ground, as we gather from the Micrologus; and in the early part of the 12th Century, we have the learned Abbot Rupert, who may just be styled a Doctor in liturgical science, explaining the appropriateness of that Feast’s institution in these words: “Having celebrated the solemnity of the coming of the Holy Ghost we, at once, on the Sunday next following, sing the glory of the Holy Trinity; and rightly is this arrangement ordained, for after the coming of that same Holy Spirit, the faith in and confession of the name of Father Son and Holy Ghost immediately began to be preached, and believed, and celebrated, in Baptism.”

In our own country, it was the glorious Martyr, St. Thomas of Canterbury, that established the Feast of Holy Trinity. He introduced it in his Archdiocese in the year 1162, in memory of his having been consecrated Bishop on the first Sunday after Pentecost. As regards France, we find a Council of Arles, held in 1260, under the presidency of Archbishop Florentinus, solemnly decreeing, in its sixth canon, the Feast of Holy Trinity to be observed with an Octave. The Cistercian Order, which was spread throughout Europe, had ordered it to be celebrated in all its Houses, as far back as the year 1230. Durandus, in his Rationale, gives us grounds for concluding that, during the 13th Century, the majority of the Latin Churches kept this Feast. Of these Churches, there were some that celebrated it not on the first, but on the last Sunday after Pentecost; others kept it twice—once on the Sunday next following the Pentecost Solemnity, and a second time on the Sunday immediately preceding Advent.

It was evident from all this that the Apostolic See would finally give its sanction to a practice whose universal adoption was being prompted by Christian instinct. John the Twenty-second, who sat in the Chair of St. Peter as early as the year 1334, completed the work by a Decree wherein the Church of Rome accepted the Feast of Holy Trinity, and extended its observance to all Churches.

As to the motive which induced the Church, led, as she is in all things, by the Holy Ghost, to fix one special day in the Year for the offering a solemn homage to the blessed Trinity, whereas all our adorations all our acts of thanksgiving, all our petitions, are ever being presented to It—such motive is to be found in the change which was being introduced at that period into the liturgical Calendar. Up to about the year 1000. the Feasts of Saints marked on the general Calendar and universally kept were very few. From that time, they began to be more numerous; and there was evidence that their number would go on increasing. The time would come when the Sunday’s Office, which is specially consecrated to the blessed Trinity, must make way for that of the Saints, as often as one of their Feasts occurred on a Sunday. As a sort of compensation for this celebration of the memory of God’s Servants on the very day which was sacred to the Holy Trinity, it was considered right that once, at least, in the course of the Year a Sunday should be set apart for the exclusive and direct expression of the worship which the Church pays to the great God, who has vouchsafed to reveal himself to mankind in his ineffable Unity and in his eternal Trinity.

The very essence of the Christian Faith consists in the knowledge and adoration of One God in Three Persons. This is the Mystery whence all others flow. Our Faith centers in this as in the master-truth of all it knows in this life, and as the infinite object whose vision is to form our eternal happiness; and yet, we only know it because it has pleased God to reveal himself thus to our lowly intelligence, which, after all, can never fathom the infinite perfections of that God who necessarily inhabiteth light inaccessible. Human reason may of itself come to the knowledge of the existence of God as Creator of all beings; it may, by its own innate power, form to itself an idea of his perfections by the study of his works; but the knowledge of God’s intimate being can only come to us by means of his own gracious revelation.

It was God’s good pleasure to make known to us his essence, in order to bring us into closer union with himself, and to prepare us, in some way, for that face-to-face vision of himself which he intends giving us in eternity: but his revelation is gradual; he takes mankind from brightness unto brightness, fitting it for the full knowledge and adoration of Unity in Trinity, and Trinity in Unity. During the period preceding the Incarnation of the eternal Word, God seems intent on inculcating the idea of his Unity, for polytheism was the infectious error of mankind; and every notion of there being a spiritual and sole cause of all things would have been effaced on earth, had not the infinite goodness of that God watched over its preservation.

Not that the Old Testament Books were altogether silent on the Three Divine Persons, whose ineffable relations are eternal; only, the mysterious passages which spoke of them were not understood by the people at large; whereas, in the Christian Church, a child of seven will answer them that ask him, that in God the Three Divine Persons have but one and the same nature, but one and the same Divinity. When the Book of Genesis tells us that God spoke in the plural, and said: Let Us make man to our image and likeness, the Jew bows down and believes, but he understands not the sacred text; the Christian, on the contrary, who has been enlightened by the complete revelation of God, sees under this expression the Three Persons acting together in the formation of Man; the light of Faith develops the great truth to him and tells him that within himself there is a likeness to the blessed Three in One. Power, Understanding, and Will, are three faculties within him, and yet he himself is but one being.

In the Books of Proverbs, Wisdom, and Ecclesiasticus, Solomon speaks in sublime language of him who is eternal Wisdom; he tells us, and he uses every variety of grandest expression to tell us, of the divine essence of this Wisdom and of his being a distinct Person in the Godhead;—but how few among the people of Israel could see through the veil? Isaias heard the voice of the Seraphim as they stood around God’s throne; he heard them singing, in alternate choirs, and with a joy intense because eternal, this hymn: Holy! Holy! Holy! is the Lord! but who will explain to men this triple Sanctus, of which the echo is heard here below, when we mortals give praise to our Creator? So again, in the Psalms and the prophetic Books, a flash of light will break suddenly upon us; a brightness of some mysterious Three will dazzle us; but it passes away, and obscurity returns seemingly all the more palpable; we have but the sentiment of the divine Unity deeply impressed on our inmost soul, and we adore the Incomprehensible the Sovereign Being.

The world had to wait for the fullness of time to be completed; and then, God would send into this world his only Son, Begotten of him from all eternity. This his most merciful purpose has been carried out, and the Word made Flesh hath dwelt among us. By seeing his glory, the glory of the Only Begotten Son of the Father, we have come to know that in God, there is Father and Son. The Son’s Mission to our earth, by the very revelation it gave us of himself, taught us that God is eternally Father, for whatsoever is in God is eternal. But for this merciful revelation. which is an anticipation of the light awaiting us in the next life, our knowledge of God would have been too imperfect. It was fitting that there should be some proportion between the light of Faith and that of the Vision reserved for the future; it was not enough for man to know that God is One.

So that we now know the Father, from whom comes, as the Apostle tells us, all paternity, even on earth. We know him not only as the creative power, which has produced every being outside himself; but guided as it is by Faith, our soul’s eye respectfully penetrates into the very essence of the Godhead, and there beholds the Father begetting a Son like unto himself. But in order to teach us the Mystery, that Son came down upon our earth. Himself has told us expressly that no one knoweth the Father, but the Son, and he to whom it shall please the Son to reveal him. Glory, then be to the Son, who has vouchsafed to show us the Father! and glory to the Father, whom the Son hath revealed unto us!

The intimate knowledge of God has come to us by the Son, whom the Father, in his love, has given to us. And this Son of God, who in order to raise up our minds even to his own Divine Nature, has clad himself, by his Incarnation, with our Human Nature, has taught us that he and his Father are one;—that they are one and the same Essence, in distinction of Persons. One begets; the other is begotten; the One is named Power; the Other, Wisdom, or Intelligence. The Power cannot be without the Intelligence, nor the Intelligence without the Power, in the sovereignly perfect Being: but both the One and the Other produce a Third term.

The Son, who had been sent by the Father, had ascended into heaven, with the Human Nature which he had united to himself for all future eternity; and lo! the Father and the Son send into this world the Spirit who proceeds from them both. It was a new Gift, and it taught man that the Lord God was in Three Persons. The Spirit, the eternal link of the first Two, is Will, he is Love, in the divine Essence. In God, then, is the fullness of Being, without beginning, without succession, without increase—for there is nothing which he has not. In these Three eternal terms of his uncreated Substance is the Act. pure and infinite.

The sacred Liturgy, whose object is the glorification of God and the commemoration of his works, follows, each year, the sublime phases of these manifestations, whereby the Sovereign Lord has made known his whole self to mortals. Under the somber colors of Advent, we commemorated the period of expectation, during which the radiant Triangle sent forth but few of its rays to mankind. The world, during those four thousand years, was praying heaven for a Liberator, a Messiah; and it was God’s own Son that was to be this Liberator, this Messiah. That we might have the full knowledge of the prophecies which foretold him, it was necessary that he himself should actually come:—a Child was born unto us, and then we had the key to the Scriptures. When we adored that Son. we adored also the Father who sent him to us in the Flesh. and to whom he is consubstantial. This Word of Life, whom we have seen, whom we have heard, whom our hands have handled in the Humanity which he deigned to assume, has proved himself to be truly a Person, a Person distinct from the Father, for One sends, and the Other is sent. In this second Divine Person, we have found our Mediator, who has reunited the creation to its Creator; we have found the Redeemer of our sins, the Light of our souls, the Spouse we had so long desired.

Having passed through the mysteries which he himself wrought, we next celebrated the descent of the Holy Spirit, who had been announced as coming to perfect the work of the Son of God. We adored him and acknowledged him to be distinct from the Father and the Son, who had sent him to us with the mission of abiding with us. He manifested himself by divine operations which are especially his own, and were the object of his coming. He is the soul of the Church; he keeps her in the truth taught her by the Son. He is the source, the principle, of the sanctification of our souls; and in them he wishes to make his dwelling. In a word, the mystery of the Trinity has become to us not only a dogma made known to our mind by Revelation, but moreover a practical truth given to us by the unheard-of munificence of the Three Divine Persons; the Father, who has adopted us; the Son, whose brethren and joint-heirs we are; and the Holy Ghost, who governs us and dwells within us.

Let us, then, begin this Day by giving glory to the One God in Three Persons. For this end, we will unite with holy Church, who in her Office of Prime, recites on this Solemnity, as also on every Sunday not taken up by a Feast, the magnificent Symbol known as the Athanasian Creed. It gives us, in a summary of much majesty and precision, the doctrine of the holy Doctor, Saint Athanasius, regarding the mysteries of the Trinity and Incarnation.

It is a psalm or hymn of praise, of confession, and of profound, self-prostrating homage, parallel to the Canticles of the elect in heaven. It appeals to the imagination quite as much as to the intellect. It is the war-song of faith, with which we warn first ourselves, then each other, and then all those who are within its hearing, and the hearing of the Truth, who our God is, and how we must worship Him, and how vast our responsibility will be if we know what to believe, and yet believe not. It is

“The Psalm that gathers in one glorious lay
All chants that e’er from heaven to earth found way;
Creed of the Saints, and Anthem of the Blest,
And calm-breathed warning of the kindliest love,
That ever heaved a wakeful mother’s breast.”
Quote:For myself, I have ever felt it as the most simple and sublime, the most devotional formulary to which Christianity has given birth, more so even than the Veni Creator and the Te Deum.—John Henry Cardinal Newman; Grammar of Assent, page 127


The Athanasian Creed

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Quicumque vult salvus esse, ante omnia opus est ut teneat Catholicam fidem. 
Whosoever would be saved, before all things it is necessary that he hold that Catholic faith.

Quam nisi quisque integram inviolatamque servaverit, absque dubio inæternum peribit.
Which faith, except every one doth keep entire, and unviolated, without doubt he shall perish everlastingly.

Fides autem Catholica hæc est, ut unum Deum in Trinitate, et Trinitatem in Unitate veneremur; 
Now the Catholic Faith is this: that we worship one God in Trinity, and Trinity in Unity;

Neque confundentes personas, neque substantiam separantes. 
Neither confounding the persons, nor dividing the substance.

Alia est enim persona Patria, alia Filii, alia Spiritus sancti. 
For one is the person of the Father, another of the Son, and another of the Holy Ghost.

Sed Patris, et Filii, et spiritus sancti una est divinitas, æqualis gloria, coæterna majestas. 
But the Godhead of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost, is all one, the glory equal, the majesty co-eternal.

Qualis Pater, talis Filius, talis Spiritus sanctus. 
Such as the Father is, such is the Son, such is the Holy Ghost.

Increatus Pater, increatus Filius, increatus spiritus sanctus. 
The Father is uncreated, the Son is uncreated, the Holy Ghost is uncreated.

Immensus Pater, immensus Filius, immensus Spiritus sanctus. 
The Father is incomprehensible, the Son is incomprehensible, the Holy Ghost is incomprehensible.

Æternus Pater, æternus Filius, æternus Spiritus sanctus. 
The Father is eternal, the Son is eternal, the Holy Ghost is eternal.

Et tamen non tres æterni, sed unus æternus. 
And yet they are not three eternals, but one eternal.

Sicut non tres increati, nec tres immensi, sed unus increatus, et unus immensus.
And also they are not three uncreateds, but one uncreated, and one incomprehensible.

Similiter omnipotens Pater, omnipotens Filius, omnipotens Spiritus sanctus. 
In like manner the Father is almighty, the Son is almighty, the Holy Ghost is almighty.

Et tamen non tres omnipotentes, sed unus omnipotens. 
And yet they are not three almighties, but one almighty.

Ita Deus Pater, Deus Filius, Deus Spiritus sanctus. 
So, the Father is God, the Son is God, the Holy Ghost is God.

Et tamen non tres Dii, sed unus est Deus. 
And yet they are not three Gods, but one God.

Ita Dominus Pater, Dominus Filius, Dominus Spiritus sanctus. 
So, the Father is Lord, the Son is Lord, the Holy Ghost is Lord.

Et tamen non tres Domini, sed unus est Dominus. 
And yet they are not three Lord, but one Lord.

Quia sicut singillatim unamquamque personam Deum ac Dominum confiteri Christiana veritate compellimur: ita tres Deos aut Dominos dicere, Catholica religione prohibemur. 
For, as we are compelled, by the Christian truth, to acknowledge each person, by himself, to be God and Lord: so, are we forbidden, by the Catholic religion, to say there are three Gods, or three Lords.

Pater a nullo est factus, nec creatus, nec genitus. 
The Father is made of no one, neither created, nor begotten.

Filius a Patre solo est: non factus, nec creatus, sed genitus. 
The Son is from the Father alone; not made, nor created, but begotten.

Spiritus sanctus a Patre et Filio, non factus, nec creatus, nec genitus, sed procedens. 
The Holy Ghost is from the Father and the Son; not made, nor created, nor begotten, but proceeding.

Unus ergo Pater, non tres Patres; unus Filius, non tres Filii: unus Spiritus sanctus, non tres Spiritus sancti. 
There is, then, one Father, not three Fathers; one Son, not three Sons; one Holy Ghost, not three Holy Ghosts.

Et in hac Trinitate nihil prius aut posterius, nohil majus aut minus: sed totæ tres personæ coæternæ sibi sunt, et coæquales. 
And in this Trinity, there is nothing before or after, nothing greater or less; but the whole three Persons are co-eternal to one another, and co-equal.

Ita ut per omnia, sicut jam supra dictum est, et Unitas in Trinitate, et Trinitas in Unitate veneranda sit. 
So that, in all things, as hath been already said above, the Unity is to be worshipped in Trinity, and the Trinity in Unity.

Qui vult ergo salvus esse: ita de Trinitate sentiat. 
He, therefore, that would be saved, must thus think of the Trinity.

Sed necessarium est ad æternam salutem: ut Incarnationem quoque Domini nostri Jesu Christi fideliter credat. 
Furthermore, it is necessary to everlasting salvation, that he also believe rightly the Incarnation of our Lord Jesus Christ.

Est ergo fides recta, ut credamus et confiteamur: quia Dominus noster Jesus Christus Dei Filius, Deus et homo est. 
Now the right faith is, that we believe and confess, that our Lord Jesus Christ, the Son of God, is both God and Man.

Deus est ex substantia Patris ante sæcula genitus: et homo est ex substantia matris in sæculo natus. 
He is God, of the substance of his Father, begotten before the world; and he is Man, of the substance of his Mother, born in the world.

Perfectus Deus, perfectus homo: ex anima rationali, et humana carne subsistens. 
Perfect god, perfect Man: subsisting of a rational soul, and human flesh.

Æqualis Patri secundum divinitatem: minor Patre secundum humanitatem. 
Equal to the Father according to his Godhead: lesser than the Father, according to his Manhood.

Qui licet Deus sit, et homo: non duo tamen, sed unus Christus. 
Who although he be both God and Man, yet he is not two, but one, Christ.

Unus autem non conversione divinitatis in carnem, sed assumptione humanitatis in Deum. 
One, not by the conversion of the Godhead into flesh, but by the taking of the Manhood unto God.

Unus omnino, non confusione substantiæ, sed unitate personæ. 
One altogether, not by confusion of substance, but by unity of person.

Nam sicut anima rationalis et caro unus est homo, ita Deus et homo unus est Christus. 
For, as the rational soul and the flesh is one man, so, God and Man is one Christ.

Qui passus est pro salute nostra, descendit ad inferos, tertia die resurrexit a mortuis. 
Who suffered for our salvation; descended into hell; rose again, the third day, from the dead.

Ascendit ad cœlos, sedet ad dexteram Dei Patris omnipotentis: inde venturus est judicare vivos et mortuos. 
He ascendeth into heaven; he sitteth at the right hand of God the Father Almighty; from thence he shall come to judge the living and the dead.

Ad cujus adventum omnes homines resurgere habent cum corporibus suis, et reddituri sunt de factis propriis rationem. 
At whose coming, all men shall rise again, with their bodies; and shall give an account of their own works.

Et qui bona egerunt, ibunt in vitam æternam; qui vero mala, in ignem æternum. 
And they that have done good, shall go into life everlasting; and they that have done evil, into everlasting fire.

Hæc est fides Catholica: quam nisi quisque fideliter, firmiterque crediderit, salvus ese non poterit. 
This is the Catholic faith: which except every man believe faithfully and steadfastly, he cannot be saved.



Mass

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Although the Sacrifice of the Mass is always celebrated in honor of the blessed Trinity, yet for this day the Church, in her chants, prayers, and lessons, honors in a more express manner the great Mystery, which is the foundation of our christian faith. A commemoration is, however, made of the first Sunday after Pentecost, in order not to interrupt the arrangement of the Liturgy. The color used by the Church, on this feast of Trinity, is white, as a sign of joy, as also to express the simplicity and purity of the divine essence.

The Introit is not taken from holy Scripture. It is a formula of glorification in keeping with the Feast, and speaks of the blessed Trinity as the divine source of the mercies bestowed on mankind.

Introit
Benedicta sit sancta Trinitas, atque indivisa Unitas: confitebimur ei, quia fecit nobiscum misericordiam suam.
Blessed be the holy Trinity, and undivided Unity: we will praise it, because it hath shown its mercy unto us.

Ps. Domine Dominus noster, quam admirabile est Nomen tuum in universa terra! /i] ℣.[i] Gloria Patri. Benedicta sit.
Ps. O Lord, our Lord, how wonderful is thy Name in the whole earth. ℣. Glory, &c. Blessed.


In the Collect, holy Church asks for us firmness in the faith, whereby we confess Unity and Trinity in God. Faith is the first condition required for salvation; it is the first link in our union with God. It is with this Faith that we shall conquer our enemies, and overcome all obstacles.

Collect
Omnipotens sempiterne Deus, qui dedisti famulis tuis in confessione veræ fidei, æternæ Trinitatis gloriam agnoscere, et in potentia majestatis adorare Unitatem, quæsumus, ut ejusdem fidei firmitate, ab omnibus semper muniamur adversis. Per Dominum.
O almighty and everlasting God, who has granted thy servants, in the confession of the truth faith, to acknowledge the glory of an eternal Trinity, and, in the power of majesty, to adore a Unity: we beseech thee that, by the strength of this faith, we may be defended from all adversity. Through, &c.

Commemoration of the First Sunday After Pentecost
Deus in te sperantium fortitudo, adesto propitius invocationibus nostris: et quia sine te nihil potest mortalis infirmitas, præsta auxilium gratiæ tuæ, ut in exsequendis mandatis tuis, et voluntate tibi et actione placeamus. Per Dominum.
O God, the strength of such as hope in thee: mercifully hear us calling on thee: and since mortal weakness can do nothing without thee, grant us the assistance of thy grace; that, in observing thy commandments, we may please thee, both in will and action. Through, &c.


Epistle
Lesson of the Epistle of Saint Paul to the Romans. Ch. XI.

O the depth of the riches of the wisdom and of the knowledge of God! How incomprehensible are his judgments, and how unsearchable his ways! For who hath known the mind of the Lord? Or who hath been his counselor? Or who hath first given to him, and recompense shall be made him? For of him, and by him, and in him, are all things: to him be glory for ever. Amen.

Quote:We cannot fix our thoughts upon the divine judgments and ways without feeling a sort of bewilderment. The eternal and infinite dazzle our weak reason; and yet this same reason of ours acknowledges and confesses them. Now, if even the ways of God with his creatures surpass our understanding, how can we pretend to discover of ourselves the inmost nature of this sovereign Being? And yet in this in-created essence, we do distinguish the Father, the Son, and the Holy Ghost, from each other, and we glorify them. This comes from the Father’s having revealed himself by sending us his Son, the object of his eternal delight; it comes from the Son’s showing us his own Personality by taking our Flesh, which the Father and the Holy Ghost did not; it comes from the Holy Ghost’s being sent by the Father and the Son, and his fulfilling the Mission he received from them. Our mortal eye respectfully gazes upon these divine depths of truth, and our heart is touched at the thought that it is through his benefits to us that he has given us to know him, and that our knowledge of what he is came through what he gave us. Let us lovingly prize this Faith, and confidently wait for that happy moment when it will make way for the eternal vision of that which we have believed here below.

The Gradual and Alleluia-Verse are full of joy and admiration, at the presence of that sovereign majesty who has vouchsafed to send forth his rays into the darkness of our minds.

Gradual
Benedictus es, Domine, qui intueris abyssos, et sedes super cherubim.
Blessed art thou, O Lord, who beholdest the deep, and sittest on the Cherubim.

℣. Benedictus es, Domine, in firmamento cœli, et laudabilis in sæcula.
℣. Blessed art thou, O Lord, in the firmament of heaven, and worthy of praise for ever.

Alleluia, alleluia.
Alleluia, alleluia.

℣. Benedictus es, Domine, Deus patrum nostrorum, et laudabilis in sæcula. Alleluia.
℣. Blessed art thou, O Lord, the God of our Fathers, and worthy of praise for ever. Alleluia.


Gospel
Sequel of the holy Gospel according to Matthew. Ch. XXVII.

At that time: Jesus said to his disciples: All power is given to me in heaven and in earth. Going therefore, teach ye all nations; baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost. Teaching them to observe all things whatsoever I have commanded you: and behold I am with you all days, even to the consummation of the world.

Quote:The mystery of the blessed Trinity, which was taught us by the mission of the Son of God into this world, and by the promise of a speedy sending the Holy Spirit, is announced to men by these solemn words, uttered by Jesus just before his ascension into heaven. He had said: He that shall believe, and shall be baptized shall be saved; but he adds that Baptism is to be given in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost. Henceforward man must not only confess the unity of God by abjuring a plurality of gods, but he must also adore a Trinity of Persons in Unity of Essence. The great secret of heaven is now a truth which is published through the whole world.

But while humbly confessing the God whom we have been taught to know as he is in himself, we must likewise pay a tribute of eternal gratitude to the ever glorious Trinity. Not only has It vouchsafed to impress Its divine image on our soul by making her to Its own likeness; but in the supernatural order, It has taken possession of our being and raised it to an incalculable pitch of greatness. The Father has adopted us in his Son become Incarnate; the Word illumines our minds with his light; the Holy Ghost has chosen us for his dwelling; and this it is that is expressed by the form of holy Baptism. By those words pronounced over us, together with the pouring out of the water, the whole Trinity took possession of Its creature. We call this sublime marvel to mind as often as we invoke the Three divine Persons, making upon ourselves at the same time the sign of the Cross. When our mortal remains are carried into the house of God, there to receive the last blessings and farewell of the Church on earth, the Priest will beseech the Lord “not to enter into judgment with his servant;” and in order to draw down the divine mercy upon this Christian, who has gone to his eternity, he will say to the Sovereign Judge that this member of the human family was marked while in this life with the sign of the Holy Trinity. Let us respect this divine impress which we bear upon us; it is to be eternal; hell itself will not be able to blot it out. Let it, then, be our hope, our dearest title; and let us live for the glory of the Father, the Son, and the Holy Ghost. Amen!

In the Offertory the Church begins the immediate preparation of the Sacrifice, by invoking on the oblation the Name of the Three Persons, and again proclaiming the mercy of God.

Offertory
Benedictus sit Deus Pater, unigenitusque Dei Filius, sanctus quoque Spiritus: quia fecit nobiscum misericordiam suam.
Blessed be God the Father, and the Only Begotten Son of God, likewise the Holy Ghost: for he hath shown his mercy unto us.


In the Secret, holy Church asks that the homage we are making, in this Sacrifice, of ourselves to the sacred Trinity, may be presented to It not today only, but may become eternal by our being admitted into heaven, where we shall contemplate, and without a veil, the glorious mystery of God, One in Three Persons.

Secret
Sanctifica, quæsumus Dominue Deus noster, per tui sancti Nominis invocationem hujus oblationis hostiam: et per eam nosmetipsos tibi perfice munus æternum. Per Dominum.
Sanctify, we beseech thee, O Lord, our God, by the invocation of thy holy Name, the victim of this oblation: and, by it, make us an eternal offering to thee. Through, &c.

Commemoration of the First Sunday After Pentecost
Hostias nostra, quæsumus Domine, tibi dicatas placatus assume: et ad perpetuum nobis tribue provenire subsidium. Per Dominum.
Mercifully receive, we beseech thee, O Lord, the sacrifice we offer thee: and grant that it may be a continual help to us. Through, &c.


Then follows the Preface; it is proper for this Feast, and for all Sundays, throughout the Year, which have no other assigned to them.

Preface
Vere dignum et justum est, æquum et salutare, nos tibi semper, et ubique gratias agere, Domine sancte Pater omnipotens, æterne Deus. Qui cum unigenito Filio tuo et Spiritu Sancto, unus es Deus, unus es Dominus: non in unius singularitate Personæ, sed in unius Trinitate substantiæ. Quod enim de tua gloria, revelante te, credimus, hoc de Filio tuo, hoc de Spiritu Sancto, sine differentia discretionis sentimus, Ut in confessione veræ, sempiternæque Deitatis, et in Personis proprietas, et in essentia unitas, et in Majestate adoretur æqualitas. Quam laudant Angeli atque Archangeli, Cherubim quoque ac Seraphim; qui non cessant clamare quotidie, una voce dicentes, Sanctus etc.

It is truly meet and just, right and available to salvation, that we should always, and in all places, give thanks to thee, O Holy Lord, Father Almighty, eternal God. Who together with thy only begotten Son and the Holy Ghost, art one God, and one Lord: not in a singularity of one Person, but in a Trinity of one substance. For what we believe of thy glory, as thou hast revealed, the same we believe of thy Son, and of the Holy Ghost, without any difference or distinction. So that in the confession of the true and eternal Deity, we adore a distinction in the Persons, a unity in the essence, and an equality in the Majesty. Whom the Angels and Archangels, the Cherubim also and Seraphim praise, and cease not daily to cry out with one voice, saying, Holy, etc.


In the Communion-Anthem, the Church continues her praise of the mercy of the great God who has made use of his own blessings upon us, in order to enlighten and instruct us regarding his incomprehensible Nature.

Communion
Benedicimus Deum cœli, et coram omnibus viventibus confitebimur ei: quia fecit nobiscum misericordian suam.
We bless the God of heaven, and we will praise him in the sight of all the living, because he hath shown us his mercy.


Two things are needed for our reaching God: the light of Faith, which gives our understanding to know him; and the divine Food, which unites us to him. In the Postcommunion, holy Church prays that we may have both; and be thus brought to that union, which is the happy end of our creation.

Postcommunion
Proficiat nobis ad salutem corporis et animæ, Domine Deus noster, hujus Sacramenti susceptio: et sempiternæ sanctæ Trinitatis, ejusdemque individuæ Unitatis confessio. Per Dominum.
May the receiving of this Sacrament, O Lord our God, avail us to the salvation of body and soul: together with the confession of an everlasting holy Trinity, and of the undivided Unity thereof. Through, &c.

Commemoration of the First Sunday After Pentecost
Tantis, Domine, repleti muneribus, præsta, quæsumus: ut et salutaris dona capiamus, et a tua numquam laude cessemus. Per Dominum.
Grant, we beseech thee, O Lord, that the great sacrifice we have partaken of, may avail us unto salvation, and make us never cease praising thee. Through, etc.


The Last Gospel is that of the first Sunday after Pentecost; it is read, by the Priest, instead of that of St. John.

Gospel
Sequel of the holy Gospel according to Luke. Ch. VI.
At that time: Jesus said to his disciples: Be ye therefore merciful, as your Father also is merciful. Judge not, and you shall not be judged. Condemn not, and you shall not be condemned. Forgive, and you shall be forgiven. Give, and it shall be given to you: good measure and pressed down and shaken together and running over shall they give into your bosom. For with the same measure that you shall mete withal, it shall be measured to you again. And he spoke also to them a similitude: Can the blind lead the blind? do they not both fall into the ditch? The disciple is not above his master: but every one shall be perfect, if he be as his master. And why seest thou the mote in thy brother’s eye: but the beam that is in thy own eye thou considerest not? Or how canst thou say to thy brother: Brother, let me pull the mote out of thy eye, when thou thyself seest not the beam in thy own eye? Hypocrite, cast first the beam out of thy own eye; and then shalt thou see clearly to take out the mote from thy brother’s eye.
℟. Thanks be to God.

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The Middle Ages have left us several Sequences for the Feast of the blessed Trinity. They are much overladen with metaphysical terms, and for the most part, have but little melody or poetry in them. They give us the language of the Schools, with so much roughness that they would scarcely find any readers nowadays to relish them. There is one however—the one composed by Adam of Saint-Victor—which we here insert, as it maintains, even in its scholastic phraseology, all the majesty and melody which characterize the compositions of that great Poet.

Sequence

[i]Profitentes Unitatem
Veneremur Trinitatem
Pari reverentia,
Tres personas asserentes
Personali differentes
A se differentia.


Confessing the divine Unity, we venerate the Trinity with one and the same worship; we acknowledge three Persons, differing from each other by a personal difference.


Hæc dicuntur relative,
Quum sint unum substantive,
Non tria principia.
sive dicas tres vel tria,
Simplex tamen est usia,
Non triplex essentia.


They have their names from their relations, for they are substantially one, and not three principles. When speaking of them as Three, thou must remember, that their Nature is one, and that their Essence is not threefold.


Simplex esse, simplex posse,
Simplex velle, simplex nosse,
Cuncta simplicia.
Non unius quam duarum
Sive trium personarum
Minor efficacia.


Their being, and power, and will, and knowledge, all are simple: the power of one is not less than that of two, or of three, Persons.


Pater, Proles, sacrum Flamen,
Deus unus: sed hi tamen
Habent quædam propria.
Una virtus, unum numen,
Unus splendor, unum lumen,
Hoc una quod alia.


Father, Son, Holy Spirit, one God: and yet they have certain things proper. One power, one deity, one splendor, one light: what one hath, another hath.


Patri Proles est æqualis,
Nec hoc tollit personalis
Amborum distinctio.
Patri compar Filioque,
Spiritalis ab utroque
Procedit connexio.


The Son is equal to the Father; neither is that equality destroyed by the personal distinction existing between them. Equal to the Father and the Son is the Spiritual Bond, who proceedeth from both.


Non humana ratione
Capi possunt hæ personæ,
Nec harum discretio.
Non hic ordo temporalis,
Non hic situs, aut localis
Rerum circumscriptio.


Man’s reason cannot comprehend these three Persons, nor their distinction. In this mystery, there is no order of time, no position of place, no boundaries of space.


Nil in Deo præter Deum,
Nulla causa præter eum
Qui causat causalia.
Effectiva vel formalis
Causa Deus, et finalis,
Sed numquam materia.


There is nought in God but God; and, besides him, there is no cause that causeth things produced. God is cause, effective, and formal, and final; but never cause material.


Digne loqui de personis
Vim transcendit rationis,
Excedit ingenia.
Quid sit gigni qid processus,
Me nescire sum professus:
Sed fide non dubia.


It is beyond the power of reason or genius to speak worthily of the three Persons. I confess that I know not what divine Generation and Procession are; and yet do I believe them with undoubting faith.


Qui sic credit, ne festinet,
Et a via non declinet
Insolerter regia.
Servet fidem, formet mores,
Nec declinet ad errores
Quos damnat Ecclesia.


Let him who thus believes, have patience; and not imprudently stray from the royal path. Let him keep his faith, correct his manners, and go not over to those errors which the Church condemns.


Nos in fide gloriemur,
Nos in una modulemur,
Fidei constantia:
Trinæ sit laus Unitati,
Sit et simplæ Trinitati
Coæterna gloria!
Amen.


Let us glory in our faith; let us sing our hymns, in the constancy of one same faith; be praise to the trinal Unity, and co-eternal glory to the simple Trinity! Amen.

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O indivisible Unity! O Trinity distinct in one only Nature! Infinite God, who hast revealed thyself unto men! graciously bear with us, while we dare to make our adorations before thee, and pour forth our heart’s thanksgiving, feeling ourselves overwhelmed by the brightness of thy majesty. O Unity divine! O divine Trinity! we have not as yet seen thee; but we know that thou art, for thou hast vouchsafed to reveal thyself unto us. This earth, whereon we are living, has the mystery distinctly proclaimed to it every day of its existence,—that same august mystery whose vision is the source of the happiness enjoyed by the Blessed, who are glorified and are united with thee in closest union. The human race had to wait long ages before the divine formula was fully revealed;—happy we who live in its full possession, and can and do, delightedly proclaim Unity and Trinity in thine infinite Essence! There was a time when an inspired writer spoke an allusion to this grandest of truths; but his words flashed across the mind of his hearers as lightning traverses a cloud and then leaves it darker than before. I have not learned Wisdom, said he, and have not known the science of saints. Who hath ascended up into heaven, and descended? Who hath held the wind (the storm) in his hands? Who hath bound up the waters together, as in a garment? Who hath raised up all the borders of the earth? What is his name? and what is the name of his Son if thou knowest?

Thanks to thine unbounded mercy, O Lord God! we now know thy name. Thou art called the Father; and he whom thou begettest from all eternity is named the Word and Wisdom. We know too that, from the Father and the Son, proceeds the Spirit of love. The Son, clad in our flesh, has dwelt on this earth and lived amongst men; then came down the Spirit, and abides forever with us, till the destinies of the human race are accomplished here below. Therefore is it that we dare to confess the Unity and the Trinity; for we have heard the divine testimony, and have believed; and, having believed we have spoken, with all certainty. Accept, then, this our confession, O Lord, as thou didst that of thy brave virgin and martyr Cecilia, who when the executioner had thrice struck her neck with the sword, and her noble blood flowed in streams from her wound, expressed her faith as she breathed forth her soul, and confessed by the position of her hands the Unity of thy Nature, and the Trinity of thy Persons.

The hymn of thy Seraphim has been heard here on earth: Holy, Holy, Holy, the Lord God of hosts! We are but mortals; we are not Prophets, as was Isaias; and yet have we a happiness which he had not;—we can repeat the song of those blessed Spirits with fullness of knowledge, and can say unto thee “Holy is the Father, Holy is the Son, Holy is the Spirit!” Those same Seraphim flew with two of their wings; with two, they hid their face; and with two, they covered their feet. So is it with us: strengthened as we are by the divine Spirit who has been given to us, we strive to lighten the heavy weight of our frail mortality, and raise it aloft on the wings of desire; we hide our sins by repentance; and, veiling the weakness of our intellectual vision beneath the cloud of Faith, we receive the light which is infused into our souls. Docile to the revealed word, we submit to its teachings; and it imparts to us not merely a distinct but even an enlightened knowledge of that Mystery which is the source and center of all others. The Angels and Saints in heaven contemplate it with that inexpressible reserve which the Prophet describes, by saying that they hide their face with their wings. We poor mortals have not, and cannot, have the sight of the great truth; but we have the knowledge of it; and this knowledge enlightens our path and keeps us firm in the truth. We have a dread of presuming to be searchers of thy majesty, lest we should be overwhelmed by glory; but, humbly treasuring up what heaven has vouchsafed to reveal to us of its secrets, we dare thus to address thee:

Glory be to thee, O divine Essence that art but one! Thou art pure Act; thou art Being, necessary, infinite, undivided, independent, perfect from all eternity, peaceful, and sovereignly happy. In thee, we acknowledge, together with the inviolable Unity, which is the source of all thy perfections, Three Persons distinctly subsistent; but in their production and distinction, the one same Nature is common to all; so that the personal subsistence which constitutes them and distinguishes them one from the other causes no inequality between them. O infinite blessedness in this life of the Three Persons! they contemplate in themselves the ineffable perfections of the Essence which unites them together, and the attribute of each of the Three, which divinely animates the Nature that nought can limit or disturb! O wonder of that infinite Essence, when it deigns to act outside itself, by creating beings in its power and its goodness! the Three Persons work then together; so that the one which acts in a way which is his special attribute, does so in virtue of a will common to all. May a special love be given to that divine Person who, in the act which is common to the Three, deigns to reveal himself thus markedly to us creatures; and at the same time, may thanks be given to the other Two, who unite, in one same will, with the Person who vouchsafes to honor us with that special manifestation of himself!

Glory be to thee, O Father, thou Ancient of days! Thou art unborn, without beginning, but communicating essentially and necessarily to the Son and to the Holy Ghost, the godhead which dwells in thee! Thou art God, and thou art Father. He who knows thee as God and knows thee not as Father, does not know thee as thou art. Thou producest, thou begettest,—but it is within thine own bosom that thou generatest; for nought is God which is outside thyself. Thou art being, thou art power; but thou hast never been without a Son. Thou speakest to thyself all thou art thyself; thou explainest thyself; and the fruit of the fecundity of thy thought, which is equal to thyself, is a second Person coming forth from thee: it is thy Son, thy Word, thine uncreated Word. Once didst thou utter this Word; and thy Word is eternal as thou thyself art, and as is thy thought, of which that Word is the infinite expression. Like the sun which is visible to our eyes and which has never existed, but what its own brightness has existed with it; this brightness is by the sun, it is with the sun; it emanates from it without lessening it and it never exists as something independent of its source. Bear, O Father, with this weakness of our understanding, which borrows from the beings thou hast created an image whereto to compare thee. And so again, if we study ourselves ,whom thou hast created to thine own likeness, we find that a thought of our own, that it may be something distinct from our mind, has need of a term, a word, to fix and express it.

O Father! we have been brought to know thee by that Son whom thou eternally begettest, and who has vouchsafed to reveal himself to us. He has taught us that thou art Father, and himself Son; and that nevertheless thou art one with him. When one of his Apostles said to him: Lord! show us the Father! he answered him: He that seeth me, seeth the Father. O Unity of the divine Nature, whereby the Son though distinct from the Father, is not less than what the Father is! O delight of the Father in the Son, by whom he has the knowledge of himself! delight of intimate love, of which he spoke to his creature man, on the banks of the Jordan, and on top of the Thabor!

O Father! we adore thee, but we also love thee; for a Father should be loved by his children, and we are thy children. It is an Apostle that teaches us that all paternity proceeds from thee, not in heaven alone, but on earth too. No one is Father, no one has paternal authority, be it in a family, or in the State, or in the Church, but by thee, and in thee, and in imitation of thee. Nay more;—thou wouldst have us not only be called, but really and truly be thy sons; not indeed by generation, as is thine Only Begotten Son, but by an adoption, which makes us joint-heirs with him. This divine Son of thine, speaking of thee, says: I honor my Father; we also honor thee, O sovereign Father, Father of infinite majesty! and until eternity dawn upon us, we glorify thee now from the depths of our misery and exile, uniting our humble praise with that which is presented to thee by the Angels, and by the Blessed ones, who are of the same human family as ourselves. May thy fatherly eye protect us, may it graciously find pleasure in us, thy children, whom, as we hope thou hast foreseen, whom thou hast chosen, whom thou hast called to the faith, and who presume, with the Apostle, to call thee the Father of mercies and the God of all consolation.

Glory be to thee, O Son, O Word, O Wisdom of the Father! Thou emanatest from his divine essence. He gave thee birth before the day-star; and he said to thee: This day have I begotten thee; and that Day, which has neither eye nor morrow is eternity. Thou art Son ,and Only Son; and this name expresses one same nature with him who begets thee; it excludes creation, and shows thee to be consubstantial with the Father, from whom thou comest forth, perfectly like him in all things. And thou comest forth from the Father, without coming out of the divine essence, being co-eternal with thy source; for in God, there is nothing new, nothing temporal. Thy Sonship is not a dependency; for the Father cannot be without the Son, no more than the Son can be without the Father. If it be a glory in the Father to produce the Son, it is no less a glory in the Son to be the exhaustive term to the generative power of the Father.

O Son of God! thou art the Word of the Father. Uncreated Word! thou art as intimately in him, as is his thought; and his thought is his being. It is in thee that this his being expresses itself, in its whole infiniteness; it is in thee that he knows himself. Thou art the spiritual fruit produced by the divine intellect of the Father; the expression of all that he is, whether he keep thee mysteriously in his bosom, or produce thee outside himself. What language can we make use of, in order to describe thee and thy glories, O Son of God! The Holy Ghost has vouchsafed to come to our assistance, in the writings which he has inspired: and it is with the very expressions he has suggested, that we presume thus to address thee: Thou art the brightness of the Father’s glory; thou art the figure of his substance. Thou art the brightness of eternal light, and the unspotted mirror of God’s majesty, and the image that reflects his eternal goodness. We presume, likewise, to say to thee what we are taught by the holy Church assembled at Nicea: Thou art “God of God; Light of Light; true God of true God.” And we add, with the Fathers and Doctors: “Thou art the torch eternally lit by the eternal torch. Thy Light lessens nought of that which communicates Itself to thee; neither is thy Light inferior, in aught, to that from which it is produced.”

But when this ineffable fecundity which gives an eternal Son to the Father, and to the Father and Son a third term, willed to manifest Itself outside the divine essence; and, not having again the power to produce what is equal to Itself, it deigned to call forth from nothingness, intellectual and rational nature, as being the nearest approach to its author, and material nature, as being the least removed from nothingness,—then, O Only-Begotten Son of God! the intimate production of thy Person in the Father’s bosom revealed itself by Creation. It is the Father who made all things; but it was in Wisdom, that is, in thee, that he made all. This mission of working, which thou receivedst from the Father, is a consequence of the eternal generation, whereby he produces thee from himself. Thou earnest forth from thy mysterious rest; and creatures, visible and invisible, came forth at thy bidding out of nothing. Acting in closest union with the Father, thou pouredst out upon the worlds thou createdst somewhat of that beauty and harmony, of which thou art the image in the divine essence. And yet thy mission was not at an end when creation was completed. Angels and Men, who were intellectual and free beings, were destined for the eternal vision and possession of God. The mere natural order could not suffice for these two classes of thy creatures; a supernatural way had to be prepared for them, whereby they might be brought to their last end. Thou O Only-Begotten Son of God! art this Way. By thyself assuming human nature, thou unitedst thyself to thine own work, thou raisedst Angel and Man up to God, and, by thy Human Nature, thou showedst thyself as supreme type of the Creation, which the Father had effected by thee. O unspeakable mystery! thou art the uncreated Word, and at the same time, thou art the First-born of every creature; not indeed to appear until thy time should come, and yet preceding in the divine mind and intention all created beings, all of which were to be created in order that they might be thy subjects.

The human race, though destined to possess thee, in its midst, as its divine intermediator, rebelled against its God by sin, and by sin was plunged into the abyss of death. Who could raise it up again? who could restore it to the sublime destiny it had forfeited? Thou alone, O Only-Begotten Son of the Father! It was what we never could have hoped for; but this God so loved the world, as to give his Only-Begotten Son, to be not only the Mediator, but the Redeemer, too, of us all. Thou, our First-born, askedst thy Father to restore thine inheritance unto thee; thou hadst to purchase back this inheritance. Then did the Father entrust thee with the mission of Savior to our lost race. Thy Blood, shed upon the Cross, was our ransom; and by it we were born again to God, and restored to our lost privileges. Therefore, O Son of God! we, thy redeemed, glory in calling thee Our Lord.

Having thus delivered us from death, and cleansed us from sin, thou vouchsafedst to restore us to all the grand things we had lost; for henceforth, thou art our Head, and we are thy members; thou art King, and we thy happy subjects; thou art Shepherd, and we the sheep of thy one fold; thou art Spouse, and the Church, our Mother, is thy Bride; thou art the living Bread come down from heaven, and we are thy guests. O Son of God! O Emmanuel! O Son of Man! blessed be the Father that sent thee; but blessed also be thou, who didst fulfill the mission he gave thee, and hast been pleased to say that thy delight is to be with the children of men!

Glory be to thee, O Holy Spirit, who eternally emanatest from the Father and the Son in the unity of the divine substance! The eternal Act, whereby the Father knows himself, produces the Son, who is the infinite image of the Father; the Father is full of love for this brightness which eternally proceeds from himself; and the Son, contemplating the source whence he forever comes, conceives for this source a love as great as that wherewith himself is loved. What language could describe this mutual ardor and aspiration, which is the attraction and tendency of one Person to Another in the eternally immovable Essence! Thou art this Love, O divine Spirit, that proceedest from the Father and the Son as from one same principle; thou art distinct from Both, and yet art the bond that unites them in the ineffable delights of the Godhead; thou art living Love, personal Love, proceeding from the Father by the Son, the final term which completes the divine Nature and eternally perfects the Trinity. In the inaccessible bosom of the great God, thy Personality comes to thee both from the Father, of whom thou art the expression by a second production, and from the Son, who, receiving of the Father, gives thee of his own; for the infinite Love which unites them is of Both Persons, and not of one alone. The Father was never without the Son, and the Son never without the Father; so, likewise, the Father and Son have never been without thee, O Holy Spirit! Eternally have they loved; and thou art the infinite Love which exists between them, and to which they communicate their Godhead. Thy Procession from Both exhausts the productive power of the increated Essence; and thus are the divine Persons Three in number; all that is outside Them, is created being.

In the divine Essence, there is not only Power and Intelligence, but also, and necessarily, there is Will, from which action follows. Will and Love are one and the same thing; and thou, O divine Spirit, art this Will, this Love. When the glorious Trinity works outside itself, the act conceived by the Father and expressed by the Son is accomplished by thee. By thee, likewise, the Love which the Father and Son have for each other and which is personized in thee is extended to beings which are to be created. It is by his Word that the Father knows them; it is by thee, O divine Love, O Holy Spirit, that he loves them; and thus all creation proceeds from the divine goodness.

Emanating as thou dost from the Father and the Son, thou art sent by Both to us creatures; and yet so as not to lose thereby the equality thou hast from all eternity with Them. The Son, when sent by the Father, clad himself once forever with our human nature; and his Person, by the works which are peculiarly his own, is shown to us as distinct from that of the Father. So, likewise, O Holy Spirit! we recognize thee as distinct from the Father and the Son, by thy coming down to fulfill in our regard the Mission given to thee by Both, It was thou that inspiredst the Prophets; thou that overshadowedst Mary in the divine Incarnation; thou that restedst on the flower of Jesse; thou that leadedst Jesus into the desert; thou that didst glorify him by miracles. The Church, his Bride, receives thee and thou teachest her all truth, and thou abidest in her, as her devoted friend even to the very end of time. Our souls are signed with thy seal and thou quickenest them with supernatural life; thou dwellest even in our bodies, making them thy temple; in a word, thou art to us the Gift of God and the fountain springing up even into life everlasting. May special thanks be given to thee, O Holy Spirit, for the special works thou accomplishest in our favor!

And now, having adored each of the divine Persons, and blessed each for the favors he has bestowed upon this world, we again dare to fix our unworthy gaze upon that Trinity of Majesty which exists in the Unity of the divine Essence. O Sovereign Lord! we again confess what thou hast taught us; but we confess it in the words of thy servant Augustine: “They are not more than Three: One that loveth him who is from him; and One that loveth him from whom he is; and One who is that very Love.” (The Latin text reads, Non amplius quam tria sunt: unus diligens eum qui de illo est, et unus diligens eum de quo est, et ipsa dilectio.) But we have still a debt of gratitude to pay for that unspeakable favor of thine whereby, O blessed Trinity, thou hast vouchsafed to mark us with the image of thyself. Having resolved from all eternity to admit us into fellowship with thyself, thou hast prepared us for it, according to a type taken from thine own divine Nature. There are three powers in our one soul; this tells us that it was thou gavest us our existence; and yet this likeness to thyself, which is the glory of our natural being, was but a preparation for further purposes of thy generous love towards us. After having bestowed upon us this natural being, it pleased thee to decree, O sacred Trinity, that a supernatural one should also be imparted to us. When the fullness of time had come, the Father sends us his Son; and this uncreated Word brings light to our understanding: the Father and the Son send us the Spirit; and the Spirit brings love to our will: and the Father, who cannot be sent, comes of himself and gives himself to our soul, giving her a power beyond her own strength. It is in holy Baptism, in the name of the Father, of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost, that is produced in the Christian this work of the Three divine Persons, which is so admirably in keeping with the faculties of our soul; and these faculties are but an outline of the masterpiece which the supernatural action of God can alone complete.

Blessed union! whereby God is in man, and man is in God! Union that brings us to adoption by the Father to brotherhood with the Son, to our eternal inheritance! But how has this indwelling of God in his creature been formed? Gratuitously, by God’s eternal love. And how long will it last Forever, unless man himself refuse to give love for love. Mortal sin admitted into the soul, the divine indwelling is at an end: the very moment that sanctifying grace is lost, the Three divine Persons who had taken up their abode in that soul, and were united with her, abandon her; God would be no longer in her, save by his immensity, but the soul would not possess him as she did before. Then would Satan set up again his wretched kingdom within her, the kingdom of his vile trinity, Concupiscence of the flesh, concupiscence of the eyes, and pride of life. Woe to the man who would dare to defy his God by such rebellion, and put evil in the place of infinite good! Hell and eternal torments are the consequences of the creature’s contempt of his Creator. God is a jealous God; if we drive him from the dwelling of our souls, the deep abyss must be our everlasting abode.

But is this rupture beyond the hope of reconciliation? Yes as far as sinful man’s power is concerned; for he can never of himself recover his position with the blessed Trinity, which God’s gratuitous bounty had prepared, and his incomprehensible goodness achieved. But as the Church teaches us in her Liturgy (Collect for the 10th Sunday After Pentecost), God never shows his power more than when he has pity on a sinner and pardons him; it is this powerful mercy of God which can work the prodigy of a reconciliation; and he really does work it, as often as a sinner is converted. When the august Trinity deigns to return into the soul of repentant man, the Angels and Saints in heaven are filled with joy, as the Gospel assures us; for the Father, Son, and Holy Ghost have testified their love and sought their glory by making him just who had been a sinner by coming again to dwell in this lost sheep in this prodigal who had but a few days before been tending swine; in this thief, who but just now had been insulting on the Cross, together with his fellow culprit, the innocent Crucified.

Adoration, then, and love be to thee, O Father, Son, and Holy Ghost, O perfect Trinity, that hast vouchsafed to reveal thyself to mankind; O eternal and infinite Unity, that hast delivered our forefathers from the yoke of their false gods! Glory be to thee as it was in the beginning, before any creature existed; as it is now, at this very time, while we are living in the hope of that true life, which consists in seeing thee face-to-face; and as it shall forever be, in those everlasting ages, when a blissful eternity shall have united us in the bosom of thine infinite Majesty. Amen.
"So let us be confident, let us not be unprepared, let us not be outflanked, let us be wise, vigilant, fighting against those who are trying to tear the faith out of our souls and morality out of our hearts, so that we may remain Catholics, remain united to the Blessed Virgin Mary, remain united to the Roman Catholic Church, remain faithful children of the Church."- Abp. Lefebvre
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The Solemn Feast of the Most Holy Trinity

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The mystery of all mysteries is presented to us today by the true Church of Christ, namely, the mystery of the Most Holy and undivided Trinity, to which we owe the deepest honor, love and devotion.

Our belief on this subject consists principally in the three following points: there is One true God, who rewards all good deeds and punishes all evil ones, either in this world or in the next; but there are, at the same time, three Persons, who according to Holy Writ, are called, Father, Son and Holy Ghost. Each of these three Persons differs from the two others, namely the Father from the Son, the Son from the Father and the Holy Ghost, and the Holy Ghost from Father and Son. This difference of Persons implies, however, no difference in their nature; for they all possess only one divine nature and essence. Each of these Persons is true God. True God is the Father: true God, the Son: true God, the Holy Ghost. But notwithstanding this, they are not three Gods, but One God; because all three Persons possess but one divine nature. In regard to men, we say that there are as many separate and distinct natures as there are persons; but in God, as St. Augustine teaches, we find a most perfect Unity in the Trinity, and a most perfect Trinity in the Unity: this means, there is only one God, but there are three Divine Persons.

The Father is the first Person, the Son, the second, the Holy Ghost, the third. The Father has no beginning nor origin from either of the other Persons. The Son is born from all eternity, in an incomprehensible manner, of the Father, and the Holy Ghost, in an equally incomprehensible manner, proceeds from the Father and Son at the same time. And yet the Father is neither older nor higher than the Son, the Son not younger nor less than the Father, and the Holy Ghost not younger nor less than either the Father or the Son. It is true, Christ has said in the Gospel: "The Father is greater than I am:" but these words must be understood as spoken by Him in His human nature. The Father is greater than Christ as Son of man; for as such, He is not from Eternity: as He took upon Himself human nature in time, that is at His Incarnation, nearly 2000 years ago. As far, however, as His divine nature is concerned, He is equally great and eternal as the Father; and as the Father is from all eternity, so the Son by His divine nature has no beginning. The same we believe and confess of the Holy Ghost: He exists equally from all eternity.

What we believe of the eternal existence of these three divine Persons we must also believe of their other perfections, namely, of the omnipotence, omniscience, infinity and the other attributes of God. Omnipotent is the Father; omnipotent is the Son; omnipotent is the Holy Ghost. Omniscient is the Father; omniscient the Son ; omniscient the Holy Ghost Infinite is the Father; infinite the Son; infinite the Holy Ghost. Not one of these three Persons is above the other in might, wisdom, infinity, or any other perfection. One is immeasurably perfect as the other. But although each of the three Persons possesses the above named attributes, there are, nevertheless not three Gods thus perfect; as although each Person is true God, there are not three Gods, but only one ; because the three Persons possess but one divine nature. The Son of God, the second Person, possesses, besides the divine nature, also the human nature, which He took upon Himself in the virginal body of Mary, and in which He suffered and died for us. He is true God and Man. This is what the true faith teaches us of the mystery of the Most Holy Trinity.

In the Old Testament this mystery was revealed to very few and only to the most beloved friends of God; in order, as the holy Fathers write, that the Jews, who were surrounded by heathens, and who were themselves prone to idolatry, should not have an opportunity to regard the three Persons as three Gods. The Prophets impressed them only with the truth that there was only one true God and that they must worship Him alone and not turn their thoughts to the idols of the heathens. But in the New Testament, the mystery of the Holy Trinity is revealed and announced in clear words. Not to mention many passages which have reference to this, let us only regard what Christ said to His Apostles: "Going therefore, teach ye all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost."

In these words, Christ our Lord announced the three divine Persons, namely, the Father, the Son and the Holy Ghost: and at the same time their unity in one, as He does not speak in the plural, saying, in the names, but, in the name, in order to impress us with the truth, that the three Persons are but one God. To the above cited words of the Saviour, we will add those of St. John: "And there are three who give testimony in heaven, the Father, the Word and the Holy Ghost: and these three are one," namely, in their nature and essence. (John, v.) After the Gospel had been preached by the Apostles, many thousands of Jews and heathens believed this mystery, and today it is accepted in all parts of the Christian world, as an undoubted truth. It is certain that this mystery is far beyond all human comprehension, and there is no article in our faith which is more inexplicable.

What is told in regard to it of St. Augustine is well known. This holy teacher while occupied in searching into the mystery of the Holy Trinity, took a walk on the seashore, where he found a boy, who having made a small hole in the sand, poured water from the sea into it with a spoon. After watching the boy for a long time, the Saint asked him what he was doing. "I wish," replied the boy, "to pour the sea into this hole." "O my child!" said the Saint: "that is a useless attempt. So small a hole cannot contain the immense sea." "And you," replied the boy, " will be still less able to contain and comprehend, with your human understanding, the stupendous mystery of the Holy Trinity!" After these words, the child, who doubtless was an angel, vanished.

Truly this mystery is inconceivable and fathomless; yet we do right, nay more, we are bound under pain of damnation to believe it, as it is taught by Him, who can neither deceive, nor be deceived, as He is Himself eternal and infallible truth. God himself revealed it to us, and this is and must be sufficient for us to cast aside all doubts. Our understanding must, according to the exhortation of St. Paul, submit and become a prisoner in the service of faith. For, the words of God must be true, whether we comprehend them or not. And finally, why do we wonder that we are unable to fathom so great a mystery, when there are so many natural things which our understanding fails to explain? Besides, God does not command us to understand, but to believe it. "Believing is commanded to me," writes St. Augustine. "To search into the mystery of the Holy Trinity, and to wish to comprehend it," says St. Bernard, "is presumption; but to believe it is godliness." Elsewhere, he writes these memorable words: "If any one asks how the Catholic faith in regard to this point can be true, I answer, that it should be enough for any one to believe that it is so. If any one goes further and attempts to explain what he is only expected to believe, he places himself in danger of losing his faith and with it his salvation."

This was indeed the fate of many who, by their impertinent pondering, came at last so far that they protested against and denied the Most Holy Trinity.

It is unquestionable that there was no article of faith which in the early centuries was so much assailed as this one. The Jews would not admit of Three Persons in the Divinity; the heathens maintained the plurality of Gods. Some heretics professed only one Person; others denied the Divinity of Christ; and again others the Divinity of the Holy Ghost. There were some who said that the three Persons were only different names; while others taught that one Person was greater than the other, &c. The Arians, who contested the divinity of Christ, caused the greatest disturbance, the greatest evil in the Church of God, on account of their inveigling many bishops and several emperors into their false doctrines. They persecuted the Catholics, especially bishops and priests, as cruelly, and in some places, more cruelly than the heathens had done. It is known that many thousands of Catholics confirmed with their blood their faith in the Holy Trinity and in the Divinity of Christ, during the persecution of the Church by the Arians.

We read also of many astonishing miracles which God at that time wrought to confirm the truth of the Catholic Faith. In the last few centuries, almost all the errors of the ancient heretics have been renewed by the followers of Luther and Calvin, both of whom assailed the word " Trinity," and would not tolerate it. The old Catholic prayer, "Holy Trinity, One God, have mercy upon us," both rejected. The bible of Luther does not contain the important text of St. John: "There are three who give testimony, &c." He left these words out, because they lead to the conclusion that we have to believe in the Holy Trinity. Calvin taught that the words: "These three are one," were not to be applied to their unity in nature, but only to their conformity of will.

What is to be concluded from this, I leave to others to find out. The more, however, the mystery of the Most Holy Trinity was assailed by the heretics, the more it was protected and defended by the Catholic Church. The Holy Mass begins daily with the sign of the Cross, the use of which is an emphatic confession of the Holy Trinity and an appeal to the same. This sign of the Cross is made several times during the day by all true Catholics, and as often as it is made, so often is the Holy Trinity acknowledged and honored. The same is done in holy Mass by the repeated Kyrie Eleison, and further by the Angelic song of praise: "Glory be to God on high:" by the Credo, or Nicene Creed, and lastly by the Sanctus, three times repeated; Holy, holy, holy! The prayers ordained by the Catholic Church, as well for holy Mass, as for all other occasions, all end with a confession of the Holy Trinity and an invocation to the same. All hymns of praise, used in the daily office of the priests and in other devout exercises end in the same manner. As often as the priest, during holy mass, or on other occasions, blesses the people, or things for the benefit of man, so often he invokes and confesses the only true God in three Persons. Every litany begins with this invocation and acknowledgment. After every Psalm is the Holy Trinity praised and honored with the well known words: "Glory be to the Father, to the Son and to the Holy Ghost, &c."

All this, and much more, has the Catholic Church ordained to honor the Holy Trinity; and to the same end she instituted today's Festival. She requires that we celebrate it most solemnly, that we not only renew our confession of faith in the most Holy Trinity, praise and worship the only true God in three divine Persons, but also give due thanks for all the benefits granted us. One of the reasons that the first Sunday after Pentecost was chosen for this celebration, lies in the fact that the mystery of the Holy Trinity as the principal article of our faith, was not publicly preached by the Apostles until after the Holy Ghost had descended upon them.

The Lutherans celebrate today's festival with us, although this was instituted by a Pope, John XXII., and is not of such ancient date as many other feasts. Why, therefore, do they not also celebrate other feasts of the Catholic Church instituted by other Popes, and of much older date? They have again admitted into their bible the verse of St. John, which Luther had left out; but what is the reason that they do not eradicate so many errors with which their Bible is filled? The Lutherans also believe in One God and three Persons in the Holy Trinity, although this is an incomprehensible mystery, and it seems impossible to the human understanding that each Person is true God and yet all three only one God. Why, believing this, do they deny other articles of faith, especially that of the presence of Christ in the Holy Eucharist, and the transubstantiation of bread and wine into the body and blood of Jesus Christ? Why do they say, in regard to it, that it is impossible? Because they are unable to comprehend it. But the same God, who revealed the mystery of the Holy Trinity, has also revealed the other, and has commanded that we should believe the one as well as the other, under pain of eternal damnation. Whoever denies the presence of Our Lord in the blessed Sacrament, or the change of the bread and wine because it is incomprehensible, will surely soon be led to deny the greatest Mystery of them all, that of the Holy Trinity, because it is much more unfathomable! And it is just this which the Evil One tries to accomplish through heresy, in order to overthrow the pillars of the Christian faith.


Practical Considerations

You have learned the three-fold intention of the Holy Church in regard to the institution of this day's festival. Endeavor to regulate your devotions accordingly. First: renew and confess publicly your faith in the great and incomprehensible mystery of the Most Holy Trinity. Be zealous in the exercises of your religion and promise before God that you will live and die in it. Make with especial devotion and attention the sign of the holy Cross, which is an emphatic confession of your belief in the Holy Trinity, and form the resolution to avail yourself of it without hesitation, according to ancient custom, publicly on all proper occasions, especially before and after prayers.

Secondly: exert today all your strength in honor and praise of the Holy Trinity. Worship the same with the deepest humility and reverence. Invite, after the example of David, and the three companions of Daniel, not only all angels and men, but also all other created beings, to join you in praising and exalting the Holy Trinity. Say from the depth of your heart, in unison with the true Church: "Glory be to the Father, to the Son and to the Holy Ghost." "Praised and blessed be the holy and undivided Trinity, now and for all eternity." Or with the heavenly Choir; "Holy, holy, holy, is the Lord God of Sabaoth." If you have done all this, still acknowledge that your God deserves infinitely more praise, honor and glory than all created beings can bestow upon Him during all eternity.

Thirdly: recall to memory the many and great blessings which have been granted to you during your life by the Holy Trinity, and endeavor to give due thanks for them. The heavenly Father has created you, the Son has redeemed you, the Holy Ghost has sanctified you. For these and other numberless benefits, offer today humble thanks. Offer to the Holy Trinity in grateful acknowledgement, all the good deeds which have been done until now on earth and which will be done until the last day arrives: especially the many Masses which have been said and will yet be said: for by them the Holy Trinity is more honored than by all the praises of men and angels. In conclusion, recite the well-known hymn of praise; "Great God we praise thee!" or "Te Deum laudamus, &c."

Finally, let the frequent invocation of the Holy Trinity, according to the precept of the true Church, be recommended to you. To invoke the Saints and the Blessed Virgin is agreeable to God and beneficial to men; but the invocation of the Most Holy Trinity, the invocation of God is commanded. Hence we should frequently resort to it. The non-Catholics are wrong in declaring the invocation of the Saints vain, wicked and even idolatrous. It would, however, be wrong, if Catholics neglected the invocation of the Holy Trinity. The true Church teaches us, at the beginning of the litany, to invoke the three divine Persons, each separately, and afterwards, all three together under the name of Holy Trinity, and not until then, does she call on the Blessed Virgin and the Saints. She does not teach that we should turn to the Saints oftener and with more confidence than to God; much less that we should invoke them instead of the Almighty, as many non-Catholics assert, either in ignorance or malice.

May you follow the precepts and teaching of the true Church. Pray frequently to the Holy Trinity, in the words: "Holy Trinity, One God, have mercy on us!" Say this with so much greater devotion as the non-Catholics, after the example of Luther, have dispensed with this ancient prayer. And why? They rejected first the invocation of the Saints; consequently, perhaps, it is not allowed to invoke the Holy Trinity! Abhor so scandalous an error, and say, with mouth and heart: "Holy Trinity, one God, have mercy on us!" Add, if you choose, the beautiful words of St. Gregory Nazianzen: "I will not become faithless to Thee, eternal Father; I will not become faithless to Thee, O only-begotten Son! I will not become faithless to Thee, O Holy Ghost; I know whom I confessed at the time of holy baptism, whom I rejected, and to whom I devoted and submitted myself."
"So let us be confident, let us not be unprepared, let us not be outflanked, let us be wise, vigilant, fighting against those who are trying to tear the faith out of our souls and morality out of our hearts, so that we may remain Catholics, remain united to the Blessed Virgin Mary, remain united to the Roman Catholic Church, remain faithful children of the Church."- Abp. Lefebvre
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#4
Fr. Hewko's Sermons for Trinity Sunday


2016

In KY


Second Mass



2017

June 11, 2017 - in KY


"I adore thee Profoundly" June 11,  2017 -  in TN



2018

May 27 , 2018 - in KY



2019

"Raise The Flags of The Sacred Heart!" June 16, 2019 - in NC


"You Shall Draw Water From The Savior's Fountains!" June 16, 2019 - in KS



2020

"Fatima Teaches us Adoration!" June 7, 2020


"Lord, Our Hearts Are Restless Until They Rest In Thee!" June 7, 2020 - in AZ



2021

"... I adore Thee profoundly!" May 30, 2021 in FL
"So let us be confident, let us not be unprepared, let us not be outflanked, let us be wise, vigilant, fighting against those who are trying to tear the faith out of our souls and morality out of our hearts, so that we may remain Catholics, remain united to the Blessed Virgin Mary, remain united to the Roman Catholic Church, remain faithful children of the Church."- Abp. Lefebvre
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