Professing the Trinity
As Catholics we are familiar with the profession of faith, the Nicene Creed, which we pray every Sunday at the Holy Mass. Most of us also at some point learned the Apostle’s creed which, is an option to be used at Mass, however we are most familiar with it as part of the Rosary. Throughout the history of the Church, there have been a number of creeds or professions of faith which attempt to summarize what God has revealed to us about himself. In the traditional liturgy of the Church, on this Trinity Sunday, there was a custom of professing the Athanasian Creed, an ancient profession of faith summarizing what we believe about the most Holy Trinity. As part of our prayer the week, let’s spend some time praying with these profound statements of faith, even though we may not understand them fully. The Trinity is a mystery of God’s love revealed to us and can never be captured perfectly in any statement. Like any mystery, it requires reflection and prayer to give us moments of access to its depths, so let us take this ancient creed to prayer this week, reflecting on Our God who is Love and how he has revealed himself to us:
Whosoever will be saved, before all things it is necessary that he hold the Catholic Faith. Which Faith except everyone do keep whole and undefiled, without doubt he shall perish everlastingly. And the Catholic Faith is this, that we worship one God in Trinity and Trinity in Unity. Neither confounding the Persons, nor dividing the Substance. For there is one Person of the Father, another of the Son, and another of the Holy Spirit. But the Godhead of the Father, of the Son and of the Holy Spirit is all One, the Glory Equal, the Majesty Co-Eternal. Such as the Father is, such is the Son, and such is the Holy Spirit. The Father Uncreated, the Son Uncreated, and the Holy Spirit Uncreated. The Father Incomprehensible, the Son Incomprehensible, and the Holy Spirit Incomprehensible.
The Father Eternal, the Son Eternal, and the Holy Spirit Eternal and yet they are not Three Eternals but One Eternal. As also there are not Three Uncreated, nor Three Incomprehensibles, but One Uncreated, and One Incomprehensible. So likewise the Father is Almighty, the Son Almighty, and the Holy Spirit Almighty. And yet they are not Three Almighties but One Almighty.
So the Father is God, the Son is God, and the Holy Spirit is God. And yet they are not Three Gods, but One God. So likewise the Father is Lord, the Son Lord, and the Holy Spirit Lord. And yet not Three Lords but One Lord. For, like as we are compelled by the Christian verity to acknowledge every Person by Himself to be God and Lord, so are we forbidden by the Catholic Religion to say, there be Three Gods or Three Lords. The Father is made of none, neither created, nor begotten. The Son is of the Father alone; not made, nor created, but begotten. The Holy Spirit is of the Father, and of the Son neither made, nor created, nor begotten, but proceeding.
So there is One Father, not Three Fathers; one Son, not Three Sons; One Holy Spirit, not Three Holy Spirits. And in this Trinity none is before or after the other, None is greater or less than Another, but the whole Three Persons are Co-eternal together, and Co-equal. So that in all things, as is aforesaid, the Unity in Trinity, and the Trinity in Unity, is to be worshiped. He therefore that will be saved, must thus think of the Trinity.