If asked, could you coherently describe the Holy Trinity to someone? The Holy Trinity is a simple, yet powerful, part of our faith that is misunderstood by many people (including myself until recently). The Catechism of the Catholic Church calls it “the central mystery of Christian faith and life”, yet it is so often glossed over, and we are left with “blind faith” alone, or just confusion. Even the Nicene Creed glosses over the Oneness of God.
The Trinity is as follows: God is one in nature and substance, yet appears in three distinct persons to us: Father, Son, and the Holy Spirit.
I believe it is in our human nature to instinctively reject things that we cannot prove or visualize. To go beyond our human nature and expand our spirit and faith, we must disconnect from the limitations of our imagination. We can understand and visualize each “person”: God as our creator, Jesus as the Word of God, and the Holy Spirit as the Love of both the Father and the Son. But once we try to see the three persons as One, we go beyond the capability of our imagination, and we must let go a little. We must now use our intellect to understand. Our intellect focus on what is possible, or impossible, without the limitation of having to visualize it. With rational thought, and the knowledge of our faith, we can begin along the path of understanding.
The differentiation between intellect and imagination is what really got me while reading “Theology and Sanity” by Frank Sheed. I always thought I had a great imagination, and was proud of being able to visualize issues & concepts. I never thought that it could be a limiting trait when exploring ideas at the edge of our understanding. Now that I am aware, I am (sometimes) able to stop my imagination when it gets in the way.
Why do we have such trouble believing God can be so much more than human? Perhaps this is because of our inability to grasp the full concept of God, and thus this is one of the key mysteries of our faith. Pray today about this concept, and when your imagination starts flashing pictures, stop, backup, and meditate on an intellectual journey to come closer to God.