Yesterday, Trinity Sunday, my nephew (pictured above) was baptized according to the Trinitarian formula: “Colman, I baptize you in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit.”
As of that moment, he is now a member of the Catholic Church: a member of the mystical body of Christ. Colman has been cleansed from original sin, adopted as a son of the Father, and filled with the Holy Spirit. The infinite majesty and power of the Creator of the universe is really living in him. My wee-little nephew is a wee-little temple of the Holy Spirit!
The Trinity, the subject of such ancient controversy and eternal mystery, draws near to us. The Father, Son, and Holy Spirit invite us into a relationship with them, to union with them. The Trinity is the most essential truth of our faith, even beyond our recognition of the Cross. Jesus was crucified in order to restore our relationship to God and even to elevate it. Since we cannot assume divinity for ourselves, God comes to mankind to bring us to himself. “Jesus, who, though he was in the form of God, did not count equality with God a thing to be grasped, but emptied himself, taking the form of a servant, being born in the likeness of men” (Phil 2:6-7).
Often, the extraordinary mysteries of our faith are made manifest to us in the ordinary ways we encounter them. As I looked upon my nephew’s moistened head, I realized both how utterly mysterious God is and yet how simply he presents himself to us. Although our eyes cannot see the divine indwelling, we believe that the Trinity is really present in the baptized and at work in them. Not only has Colman been cleansed from original sin and given graces and virtues to grow in the image of God, but he has also been given a share in the divine life.
It is very easy to think that Colman, this baby, is hardly able to enjoy the fullness of the Christian life, and in a sense this is true. Grace, however, should not be measured merely by its practical usefulness or visible effects, but by the astonishing reality which it brings about: union with God. Incredible as it may seem, we believe this truth and wonder at its humbling majesty:
God, infinitely perfect and blessed in himself, in a plan of sheer goodness freely created man to make him share in his own blessed life. For this reason, at every time and in every place, God draws close to man. He calls man to seek him, to know him, to love him with all his strength. He calls together all men, scattered and divided by sin, into the unity of his family, the Church. To accomplish this, when the fullness of time had come, God sent his Son as Redeemer and Savior. In his Son and through him, he invites men to become, in the Holy Spirit, his adopted children and thus heirs of his blessed life. C.C.C., 1.
Photo by Br. Ignatius Weiss, O.P. (all rights reserved).