BY: Tochukwu Okonkwo, OFM Cap.

Tony was a very hardworking man and a devout Catholic who always trusted in God and loved him so dearly. He was a devout Legionary, attended masses daily, said his rosary devoutly daily and did his best to lead an exemplary life. Two of his colleagues in the office and one of his classmates during his school days had become Catholics because of his exemplary lifestyle. They were so influenced and loved to partake in the kind of interior life which he enjoyed.


One day he got to his office as he usually did and found a letter on his table. Tony had worked so much for his company that he had got to the point that it could be said that he would be an unrivalled manager if the seat became vacant. He worked assiduously because he was influenced by the Legion handbook where it mentioned the ten principal virtues of our Lady as was identified by St Louis De Montfort. Legionaries were encouraged to practice one of her principal virtues daily. As the president of his praesidium, he tried to be at his best. It was his efforts to model his life after that of the Virgin Mary that so much influenced his lifestyle, leading him to being ranked among the best in the company he worked for. Sadly, the letter he found on his table was an immediate termination of appointment letter.

What could have gone wrong? And how did it happen without him receiving even a query or anything of such? It was later discovered that one of the ladies who had tried to seduce him a couple of times got so infuriated and frustrated that she had to offer herself to the CEO of the company and then set him up with blackmail to terminate Tony’s appointment with immediate effect. Her target was to get even with Tony. Tony tried getting an explanation but all efforts to get to the CEO proved abortive. Devasted, he left the office and soon went into depression.

Tony was so annoyed with himself, everyone and God that he renounced his Christian faith and swore never to be found near a church. About six months later he got the very disturbing news that the office building had collapsed, and not a single life was spared. He was terribly shaken that he developed a sudden rigour during the hot afternoon. He wept bitterly in the Chapel of his parish and begged God’s forgiveness for his foolishness. He then realised that God wanted to keep him alive, but let a lesser evil befall him to avert a greater evil that was impending. After a little while, Tony got another job following the recommendation of the CEO who apologised to him for his misdeeds.

A monk had excelled so much in the practice of meditation to the point he felt he then needed to know all there was to know about God. He endeavoured to know how he would achieve that until he was told about a guru who lived up the mountains. When he got up there, he told the guru the reason for his being there. He told him he wished to know everything about God. The guru replied in a rather amazing way telling him that a god that could be explained completely in human terms as he expected does not deserve his worship. God is a mystery above reason, and can never be fully understood by finite humans. How could finite beings comprehend an infinite and immaterial reality? The paradox I fondly use to explain this is that God hides himself in revealing himself.

 Having said so, I cannot pretend to be able to ever solve the problem of the difficulty in understanding the mystery of the Trinity. I do not even pretend to understand it a hundred per cent. It is impossible to comprehend! St Augustine’s experience even reinforces this because he found a little boy by the seashore scooping water with a bottle cover into a small hole he had dug by the corner. St Augustine asked to know what he was doing and got that awful response that he was trying to empty the sea into the hole. St Augustine laughed at him and asked him how on earth he thought it was possible to achieve such a task! The boy then reiterated and asked him how he thought he could comprehend the mystery of the Blessed Trinity while living on earth! St Augustine had earlier tried so much to understand the mystery of the Trinity before he got this response. And then he stopped bothering himself because he knew God had given him an answer through the boy. Of course, the boy disappeared after his response, and St Augustine realised it was an angel of God he had seen.

 The mystery of the Blessed Trinity is something that cannot be comprehended. As we see in the first story, Tony did not fully realise that God’s ways are not man’s (Isaiah 55:8-9), and he only used the human perspective to view the apparent mishap that befell him. He did not know it was for the greater good (Rom. 8:28). This is the same reason we see that God, according to our second story is inexplicably ubiquitous and inextricably infinite.

 The mystery of the Trinity is a dogma which is central to our Christian faith. As the Pope puts it, it is more a celebration of revelation than a theological exercise.
 The doctrine of the Blessed Trinity teaches us that there is one God but in three ‘Persons.’ The diagram of a triangle may help you understand this to an extent. Jesus did not mince words when he said that he is one with the Father (John 10:30 and in John 14:9 he reminds Philip that to have seen him is to have seen the Father).
 They share the same divine essence and same substance, they are equal, living in undivided unity and yet distinct and existing in perfect Trinity and perfect love. They are perfectly united through a relationship of interpenetration or mutual indwelling termed Trinitarian perichoresis. Although the Son proceeds from the Father, it is good to know that the Father was never without a son. The Father begot the Son from all eternity (John 1:1). Also, the Holy Spirit proceeds from the Father and the Son, and this does not make him inferior to any of them. The Father is not the Son, the Son is not the Father or the Holy Spirit, the Holy Spirit is not the Father or the Son, yet they are one (Deut. 6:4).

 A few other Biblical texts that show this revelation of the triune God out of many are the following:
a. In Mt 28:18-20 Jesus gives them the Trinitarian formula of baptism.
b. In 2 Cor. 13:14, Paul reveals the doxology which we use for sharing the grace.
c. Mt 3:16-17 reveals the Trinity at the baptism of Jesus, etc.

1. The relationship of God as a community of persons, so to speak, is a reminder that we have no existence without the other for we are all made in God’s image. We are bound to love, forgive, share and always consider the common good. It then means that our communities should be modelled after the cooperation and love that they share.
2. God’s ways are not ours, therefore, we are invited into a deeper understanding of God’s presence in our lives. We must learn to see God’s hands in whatever we face, for all things work together for good for those who love the Lord (Rom. 8:28). If you love the Lord, all things will surely work for your good. But will you remain steadfast in your profession of faith when these things happen? Or will you be like Tony? Will you try to consult native doctors or begin to trust in charms? It is only God’s grace that can sustain us.
3. We are created in the image of the triune God (Gen. 1:26): This means that we are children of God. We must therefore live as children of God that we are. The Holy Trinity is not a mystery to be merely believed, but also a reality to be lived. It means that we ought to enter into an intimate relationship with the triune God.
4. We are called to lead holy lives: The Trinity has a qualification which is “holy” used in describing it. We are called to be holy after the example of the Holy Trinity. We must therefore cast off works of darkness in our lives and live honourably (Eph. 5:11).


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