The Holy Trinity

 The Triune God

File:Hendrick van balen Holy trinity.jpg

Holy Trinity, Hendrick van Balen, 1620, (Sint-Jacobskerk, Antwerp)

What Christians Believe
Why Christians Believe This
But How Can a Man be God?
Understanding the Trinity
God is Love
Relevant Scripture

The Blessed Trinity from the Catholic Encyclopedia

Prayers to the Triune God

What Christians Believe

The Athanasian Creed states,

Whoever wishes to be saved must, above all, keep the Catholic faith. For unless a person keeps this faith whole and entire, he will undoubtedly be lost forever. This is what the catholic faith teaches: we worship one God in the Trinity and the Trinity in unity. Neither confounding the Persons, nor dividing the substance. For there is one Person of the Father, another of the Son, another of the Holy Spirit.

But the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit have one divinity, equal glory, and coeternal majesty. What the Father is, the Son is, and the Holy Spirit is.

The Father is uncreated, the Son is uncreated, and the Holy Spirit is uncreated. The Father is boundless, the Son is boundless, and the Holy Spirit is boundless. The Father is eternal, the Son is eternal, and the Holy Spirit is eternal.

Nevertheless, there are not three eternal beings, but one eternal being. So there are not three uncreated beings, nor three boundless beings, but one uncreated being and one boundless being. Likewise, the Father is omnipotent, the Son is omnipotent, the Holy Spirit is omnipotent.

Yet there are not three omnipotent beings, but one omnipotent being. Thus the Father is God, the Son is God, and the Holy Spirit is God.

However, there are not three gods, but one God. The Father is Lord, the Son is Lord, and the Holy Spirit is Lord. However, there are not three lords, but one Lord. For as we are obliged by Christian truth to acknowledge every Person singly to be God and Lord, so too are we forbidden by the Catholic religion to say that there are three Gods or Lords.

The Father was not made, nor created, nor generated by anyone. The Son is not made, nor created, but begotten by the Father alone. The Holy Spirit is not made, nor created, nor generated, but proceeds from the Father and the Son. There is, then, one Father, not three Fathers; one Son, not three sons; one Holy Spirit, not three holy spirits. In this Trinity, there is nothing before or after, nothing greater or less. The entire three Persons are coeternal and coequal with one another. So that in all things, as is has been said above, the Unity is to be worshiped in Trinity and the Trinity in Unity.

He, therefore, who wishes to be saved, must believe thus about the Trinity. It is also necessary for eternal salvation that he believes steadfastly in the incarnation of our Lord Jesus Christ. Thus the right faith is that we believe and confess that our Lord Jesus Christ, the Son of God, is both God and man. As God, He was begotten of the substance of the Father before time; as man, He was born in time of the substance of His Mother. He is perfect God; and He is perfect man, with a rational soul and human flesh. He is equal to the Father in His divinity, but inferior to the Father in His humanity. Although He is God and man, He is not two, but one Christ. And He is one, not because His divinity was changed into flesh, but because His humanity was assumed unto God. He is one, not by a mingling of substances, but by unity of person. As a rational soul and flesh are one man: so God and man are one Christ. He died for our salvation, descended into Hell, and rose from the dead on the third day. He ascended into Heaven, sits at the right hand of God the Father almighty. From there He shall come to judge the living and the dead. At His coming, all men are to arise with their own bodies; and they are to give an account of their own deeds. Those who have done good deeds will go into eternal life; those who have done evil will go into the everlasting fire.

This is the Catholic faith. Everyone must believe it, firmly and steadfastly; otherwise He cannot be saved. Amen.

The Three Persons are not each a "partial God" or "aspects of God" or "manifestations of God." The Three Persons are each fully and truly 100% God in their essence and have each existed from the very beginning of time. One did not create or precede the Other. At the same time, the Three Persons are not Three separate "Gods"; they are ONE God! Later on, I will present some ways of trying to imagine this, but for now I'd like to focus on why Christians believe this.
 

Why Christians Believe This

We believe what we believe because we place our faith in the Church whose Sacred Scripture is replete with proofs of the Trinity!  (see relevant Scripture with commentary below) In the Old Testament, from the very first chapter of Genesis, when God says, "Let US make man in OUR image," to God's use of two different persons in Malachi 3:1, each and every Book of the Old Testament (Tanach) speaks of the triune nature of our God. Isaiah, in the 9th chapter and 6th verse of his book, very clearly predicts that the Messiah will be called "a Mighty GOD" -- and the Gospels make clear that's Who Messiah is! From the Catholic Encyclopedia:
 

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He declares that He will come to be the judge of all men (Matthew 25:31). In Jewish theology the judgment of the world was a distinctively Divine, and not a Messianic, prerogative.
 

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In the parable of the wicked husbandmen, He describes Himself as the son of the householder, while the Prophets, one and all, are represented as the servants (Matthew 21:33 sqq.).
 

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He is the Lord of Angels, who execute His command (Matthew 24:31).
 

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He approves the confession of Peter when he recognizes Him, not as Messias -- a step long since taken by all the Apostles -- but explicitly as the Son of God: and He declares the knowledge due to a special revelation from the Father (Matthew 16:16-17).
 

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Finally, before Caiphas He not merely declares Himself to be the Messias, but in reply to a second and distinct question affirms His claim to be the Son of God. He is instantly declared by the high priest to be guilty of blasphemy, an offense which could not have been attached to the claim to be simply the Messias (Luke 22:66-71).

At His Baptism, the Three Persons were manifest at once:

Matthew 3:13-17
Then cometh Jesus from Galilee to Jordan unto John, to be baptized of him. But John forbad him, saying, I have need to be baptized of thee, and comest thou to me? And Jesus answering said unto him, Suffer it to be so now: for thus it becometh us to fulfil all righteousness. Then he suffered him. And Jesus, when he was baptized, went up straightway out of the water: and, lo, the heavens were opened unto him, and he saw the Spirit of God descending like a dove, and lighting upon him: And lo a voice from heaven, saying, This is my beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased.

And the "Great Commission" to evangelize and baptize is crystal clear in naming the Three Persons:

Matthew 28:19
Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit.

The most common argument against the divinity of Christ (as opposed to His "mere" Messiah-ship) revolves around the Sh'ma (or "shema"), Deuteronomy 6:4, which reads, "Hear, O Israel: The LORD our God is one LORD" First, no Catholic doubts that God is one God! Second, the point of the verse is to emphasize that the ancient Israelites worshipped the true God as opposed to false, pagan, polytheistic gods. The text in Hebrew would read better as "Hear, O Israel: God is our God; God is One." Thirdly, the relevant Hebrew words include:

bulletYHWH, singular name for the Godhead
bulletElohim, which is the plural of Eloah, or "God"
bulletechad, which usually indicates a composite, such as "a flock" (singular) of geese (plural) or "a bunch" (singular) of grapes (plural)

Putting it all together we get: "Hear O Israel: YHWH (singular) is ELOHIM (plural) of us; YHWH (singular) is ECHAD (a word usually indicating a composite)."

But How Can a Man be God?

From the New Testament, some argue that Jesus wept, and ate, and slept -- how could He possibly be God? Humans can't be God! Mystery of mysteries! Jesus Himself told us He didn't expect us to easily understand (Philippians 2:6)! He took on a human nature. And He is divine, His humanity and divinity being in complete and perfect hypostasis. To believe this is not possible is sheer anthropomorphism; it is to limit God and try to "box Him in" to human understanding and daily experience. Humans can't be God? OK. But God can -- and did -- take on a human nature, just as Isaiah predicted:

Isaiah 9:6
For unto us a child is born, unto us a son is given: and the government shall be upon his shoulder: and his name shall be called Wonderful, Counsellor, The mighty GOD, The everlasting Father, The Prince of Peace.

Understanding the Trinity

In some ways we might not ever truly understand the Trinity, at least while we're on earth. It seems so paradoxical, so illogical to those who think of the Three Divine Persons as Three separate "Beings": 1+1+1=3? Yes! But change your operators -- 1X1X1=1! We have to loosen up our minds a little, and think in terms of Essences, not separate ontological realities. God is one Essence; He is "Being" itself. He is He Who called Himself "I AM." The Three Persons are of this same Divine Essence; they are the same Being, and are only distinct in Their relations with One Another.

But more interesting that this is one explanation of WHY God is in Three Persons -- and this is where things get good.

God is Love

Christians say all the time that "God is Love". Oh, and it's so true! And it is this understanding that can give us a foothold in our attempt to understand this Mystery because love needs an object. The Father isn't in Heaven eternally loving Himself; He has the Son. And the Son has the Father. And they have the Spirit, Who has Them. The Godhead must be triune because:

bulletGod is Love;
bulletLove needs an object;
bulletGod is self-sufficient and needs no one outside of God;
bulletLove is ever creative, abundant and life-giving! From Love proceeds Love!

The Father-Monarch did not create the Son, He begat Him. He did not create the Spirit, the Spirit proceeds from Him and the Son. But all this takes place outside of time, in God's dimension: He is triune eternally, from the beginning, and is complete in Himself.

There have been many attempts to symbolize the Trinity to make God understandable to us: St. Patrick used the shamrock, some use the three states of water to show that liquid water, steam, and ice all have the same essence (H20) while being three easily-identified entities.

But another symbol for the Trinity is the human family. Indeed, the family is an icon of the Trinity, that our being made in the image of the God, joining together as man and wife and becoming one flesh, helping God bring new life into the world, reflects beautifully the endless Love that is our triune God. Distinct persons, one family... Say there's a family whose last name is Caruso: each person of the Caruso family is fully, 100% "Caruso"; not a one of them is any less or more Caruso than another member of the Caruso family, though there are the Caruso father and the Caruso mother and the Caruso children. Each of these Carusos is a different person -- but the Caruso family is ONE family.

It is the same with God the Father, God the Son, and God the Holy Spirit! Each is God, not One is less God than another: three Persons, one God, one Being, one Divine Essence.

This analogy of "family" has its definite limitations (there is inequality in human families, but no inequality among the Divine Persons, so please keep that in mind); nonetheless, the analogy is the best I've heard. Gloria in excélsis Deo!

 

Relevant Scripture

Genesis 1:26-27
And God said, Let US make man in OUR image, after OUR likeness: and let them have dominion over the fish of the sea, and over the fowl of the air, and over the cattle, and over all the earth, and over every creeping thing that creepeth upon the earth. So God created man in HIS own image, in the image of God created HE him; male and female created he them. [Note the switching back and forth between singular and plural]

Genesis 2:24
Therefore shall a man leave his father and his mother, and shall cleave unto his wife: and they shall be one [Hebrew: echad, a word usually indicating a composite] flesh. [see Deuteronomy 6:4 below]

Exodus 3:14
And God said unto Moses, I AM THAT I AM: and he said, Thus shalt thou say unto the children of Israel, I AM [YHWH] hath sent me unto you. [see John 8:57-58 below]

Genesis 3:22
And the LORD God said, Behold, the man is become as one of US, to know good and evil: and now, lest he put forth his hand, and take also of the tree of life, and eat, and live for ever:

Genesis 11:7
Go to, let US go down, and there confound their language, that they may not understand one another's speech.

Genesis 16:7-13
And the angel of the LORD found her by a fountain of water in the wilderness, by the fountain in the way to Shur. And he said, Hagar, Sarai's maid, whence camest thou? and whither wilt thou go? And she said, I flee from the face of my mistress Sarai. And the angel of the LORD said unto her, Return to thy mistress, and submit thyself under her hands. And the angel of the LORD said unto her, I will multiply thy seed exceedingly, that it shall not be numbered for multitude. And the angel of the LORD said unto her, Behold, thou art with child and shalt bear a son, and shalt call his name Ishmael; because the LORD hath heard thy affliction. And he will be a wild man; his hand will be against every man, and every man's hand against him; and he shall dwell in the presence of all his brethren. And she called the name of the LORD that spake unto her, Thou GOD seest me: for she said, Have I also here looked after him that seeth me? [NIV: She gave this name to the LORD who spoke to her: "You are the God who sees me," for she said, "I have now seen the One who sees me." Here we have a Person being called "God" and "Lord", Who is making promises to Hagar that only God can fulfil -- and Who is referring to God in the third person]

Genesis 18:1-3
And the LORD appeared unto him [Abraham] in the plains of Mamre: and he sat in the tent door in the heat of the day; And he lift up his eyes and looked, and, lo, THREE men stood by him: and when he saw them, he ran to meet them from the tent door, and bowed himself toward the ground, And said, My LORD, if now I have found favour in thy sight, pass not away, I pray thee, from thy servant:

Genesis 32:28-30
And he [the "Angel"] said, Thy name shall be called no more Jacob, but Israel: for as a prince hast thou power with God and with men, and hast prevailed. And Jacob asked him, and said, Tell me, I pray thee, thy name. And he said, Wherefore is it that thou dost ask after my name? And he blessed him there. And Jacob called the name of the place Peniel: for I have seen God face to face, and my life is preserved. [Compare with Exodus 33:20: "And he [God the Father] said [to Moses], Thou canst not see my face: for there shall no man see me, and live." See also John 14:8-19 below. We can't see the face of God the Father -- but we can see the face of "the Angel" -- the second Person of the Trinity-- Who is God!].

Deuteronomy 6:4
Hear, O Israel: The LORD our God is one LORD [see Genesis 2:24 above. Note that the relevant Hebrew words include echad, usually indicating a composite, and Elohim, plural of Eloah, or "God", such that it would read, "Hear O Israel: YHWH (singular) is ELOHIM (plural) of us; YHWH (singular) is ECHAD (a word usually indicating a compound unity)". This verse, known as the Sh'ma, is meant to emphasize that God is Israel's God; the New Jewish translation translates it into English as, "the Lord our God, the Lord alone"]

Isaiah 6:8
Also I heard the voice of the Lord, saying, Whom shall I send, and who will go for US? Then said I, Here am I; send me.

Isaiah 9:6
For unto us a child is born, unto us a son is given: and the government shall be upon his shoulder: and his name shall be called Wonderful, Counsellor, The mighty GOD, The everlasting Father, The Prince of Peace.

Isaiah 44:6
Thus saith the LORD the King of Israel, and his redeemer the LORD of hosts; I am the first, and I am the last; and beside me there is no God. [see Revelation 1:17 below]

Isaiah 45:23
[Thus saith the Lord:] I have sworn by myself, the word is gone out of my mouth in righteousness, and shall not return, That unto me every knee shall bow, every tongue shall swear. [see Philippians 2:10-11 below]

Hosea 12:3-5
[Referring to Jacob wrestling with the "Angel" in Genesis 32:] In the womb he [Jacob] grasped his brother's heel; as a man he struggled with God. He struggled with the angel and overcame him; he wept and begged for his favor. He found him at Bethel and talked with him there --the LORD God Almighty, the LORD is his name of renown!

Zechariah 12:10
And I [God] will pour out on the house of David and the inhabitants of Jerusalem a spirit of grace and supplication. They will look on ME, the one they have pierced, and they will mourn for HIM as one mourns for an only child, and grieve bitterly for him as one grieves for a firstborn son.

Malachi 3:1
See, I will send my messenger, who will prepare the way before ME. Then suddenly THE LORD YOU ARE SEEKING WILL COME to his temple; the messenger of the covenant, whom you desire, will come," says the LORD Almighty.

Matthew 3:13-17
Then cometh Jesus from Galilee to Jordan unto John, to be baptized of him. But John forbad him, saying, I have need to be baptized of thee, and comest thou to me? And Jesus answering said unto him, Suffer it to be so now: for thus it becometh us to fulfil all righteousness. Then he suffered him. And Jesus, when he was baptized, went up straightway out of the water: and, lo, the heavens were opened unto him, and he saw the Spirit of God descending like a dove, and lighting upon him: And lo a voice from heaven, saying, This is my beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased.

Matthew 28:19
Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit. [note the use of the singular word "name" for the three Persons]

John 1:1-3
In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word WAS God. He was in the beginning with God; all things were made through him, and without him was not anything made that was made.

John 1:18
No man hath seen God at any time, the only begotten Son, which is in the bosom of the Father, he hath declared him. [NIV: "No one has ever seen God, but God the One and Only, who is at the Father's side, has made him known." See Genesis 16:7-13, 18:1-3, 32:28-30 above]

John 8:57-58
Then said the Jews unto him, Thou art not yet fifty years old, and hast thou seen Abraham? Jesus said unto them, Verily, verily, I say unto you, Before Abraham was, I AM. [see Exodus 3:14 above. Jesus didn't say "Yes, my Father gave Me a vision of Abraham" or "before Abraham was, I was"; He said "before Abraham was, I AM". When Jesus said these words, his audience knew exactly what He was saying, took it as blasphemy, and wanted to kill Him]

John 14:8-19
Jesus saith unto him, Have I been so long time with you, and yet hast thou not known me, Philip? he that hath seen me hath seen the Father; and how sayest thou then, Shew us the Father?

John 20:28
And Thomas answered and said unto him [Jesus], My LORD and my GOD.

Acts 2:34-36
For David is not ascended into the heavens: but he saith himself, The Lord said unto my Lord, Sit thou on my right hand, Until I make thy foes thy footstool. Therefore let all the house of Israel know assuredly, that God hath made the same Jesus, whom ye have crucified, both Lord and Christ.

2 Corinthians 13:14
The grace of the Lord Jesus Christ, and the love of God, and the communion of the Holy Ghost, be with you all

Philippians 2:6
[Jesus,] Who, being in the form of God, thought it not robbery to be equal with God [NIV: Who, being in very nature God, did not consider equality with God something to be grasped]

Philippians 2:10-11
That at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, of things in heaven, and things in earth, and things under the earth; And that every tongue should confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father. [see Isaiah 45:23 above]

1 John 5:7
For there are three that bear record in heaven, the Father, the Word, and the Holy Ghost: and these three are one.

Revelation 1:8
[Referring to God the Father:] I am the Alpha and the Omega,' says the Lord God, who is and who was and who is to come, the Almighty [see Isaiah 44:6 above and Revelation 1:17 below]

Revelation 1:17
[Referring to the Jesus:] And when I saw him, I fell at his feet as dead. And he laid his right hand upon me, saying unto me, Fear not; I am the first and the last [see Isaiah 44:6 and Revelation 1:8 above]

Revelation 2:8
And to the angel of the church in Smyrna write: 'The words of the First and the Last, who died and came to life' [see Isaiah 44:6 above]

Above Text Courtesy of Fisheaters

The Blessed Trinity

from the Catholic Encyclopedia

 

I. Dogma of the Trinity

II. Proof of the Doctrine from Scripture

III. Proof of the Doctrine from Tradition

IV. The Trinity as a Mystery

V. The Doctrine as Interpreted in Greek Theology

VI. The Doctrine as Interpreted in Latin Theology

 

I. THE DOGMA OF THE TRINITY

The Trinity is the term employed to signify the central doctrine of the Christian religion -- the truth that in the unity of the Godhead there are Three Persons, the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit, these Three Persons being truly distinct one from another. Thus, in the words of the Athanasian Creed: "the Father is God, the Son is God, and the Holy Spirit is God, and yet there are not three Gods but one God." In this Trinity of Persons the Son is begotten of the Father by an eternal generation, and the Holy Spirit proceeds by an eternal procession from the Father and the Son. Yet, notwithstanding this difference as to origin, the Persons are co-eternal and co-equal: all alike are uncreated and omnipotent. This, the Church teaches, is the revelation regarding God's nature which Jesus Christ, the Son of God, came upon earth to deliver to the world: and which she proposes to man as the foundation of her whole dogmatic system.

In Scripture there is as yet no single term by which the Three Divine Persons are denoted together. The word trias (of which the Latin trinitas is a translation) is first found in Theophilus of Antioch about A.D. 180. He speaks of "the Trinity of God [the Father], His Word and His Wisdom ("Ad. Autol.", II, 15). The term may, of course, have been in use before his time. Afterwards it appears in its Latin form of trinitas in Tertullian ("De pud." c. xxi). In the next century the word is in general use. It is found in many passages of Origen ("In Ps. xvii", 15). The first creed in which it appears is that of Origen's pupil, Gregory Thaumaturgus. In his Ekthesis tes pisteos composed between 260 and 270, he writes:

 

There is therefore nothing created, nothing subject to another in the Trinity: nor is there anything that has been added as though it once had not existed, but had entered afterwards: therefore the Father has never been without the Son, nor the Son without the Spirit: and this same Trinity is immutable and unalterable forever (P. G., X, 986).

It is manifest that a dogma so mysterious presupposes a Divine revelation. When the fact of revelation, understood in its full sense as the speech of God to man, is no longer admitted, the rejection of the doctrine follows as a necessary consequence. For this reason it has no place in the Liberal Protestantism of today. The writers of this school contend that the doctrine of the Trinity, as professed by the Church, is not contained in the New Testament, but that it was first formulated in the second century and received final approbation in the fourth, as the result of the Arian and Macedonian controversies. In view of this assertion it is necessary to consider in some detail the evidence afforded by Holy Scripture. Attempts have been made recently to apply the more extreme theories of comparative religion to the doctrine ot the Trinity, and to account for it by an imaginary law of nature compelling men to group the objects of their worship in threes. It seems needless to give more than a reference to these extravagant views, which serious thinkers of every school reject as destitute of foundation.

II. PROOF OF DOCTRINE FROM SCRIPTURE

A. New Testament

The evidence from the Gospels culminates in the baptismal commission of Matthew 28:20. It is manifest from the narratives of the Evangelists that Christ only made the great truth known to the Twelve step by step. First He taught them to recognize in Himself the Eternal Son of God. When His ministry was drawing to a close, He promised that the Father would send another Divine Person, the Holy Spirit, in His place. Finally after His resurrection, He revealed the doctrine in explicit terms, bidding them "go and teach all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost" (Matthew 28:18). The force of this passage is decisive. That "the Father" and "the Son" are distinct Persons follows from the terms themselves, which are mutually exclusive. The mention of the Holy Spirit in the same series, the names being connected one with the other by the conjunctions "and . . . and" is evidence that we have here a Third Person co-ordinate with the Father and the Son, and excludes altogether the supposition that the Apostles understood the Holy Spirit not as a distinct Person, but as God viewed in His action on creatures.

The phrase "in the name" (eis to onoma) affirms alike the Godhead of the Persons and their unity of nature. Among the Jews and in the Apostolic Church the Divine name was representative of God. He who had a right to use it was invested with vast authority: for he wielded the supernatural powers of Him whose name he employed. It is incredible that the phrase "in the name" should be here employed, were not all the Persons mentioned equally Divine. Moreover, the use of the singular, "name," and not the plural, shows that these Three Persons are that One Omnipotent God in whom the Apostles believed. Indeed the unity of God is so fundamental a tenet alike of the Hebrew and of the Christian religion, and is affirmed in such countless passages of the Old and New Testaments, that any explanation inconsistent with this doctrine would be altogether inadmissible.

The supernatural appearance at the baptism of Christ is often cited as an explicit revelation of Trinitarian doctrine, given at the very commencement of the Ministry. This, it seems to us, is a mistake. The Evangelists, it is true, see in it a manifestation of the Three Divine Persons. Yet, apart from Christ's subsequent teaching, the dogmatic meaning of the scene would hardly have been understood. Moreover, the Gospel narratives appear to signify that none but Christ and the Baptist were privileged to see the Mystic Dove, and hear the words attesting the Divine sonship of the Messias.

Besides these passages there are many others in the Gospels which refer to one or other of the Three Persons in particular and clearly express the separate personality and Divinity of each. In regard to the First Person it will not be necessary to give special citations: those which declare that Jesus Christ is God the Son, affirm thereby also the separate personality of the Father. The Divinity of Christ is amply attested not merely by St. John, but by the Synoptists. As this point is treated elsewhere, it will be sufficient here to enumerate a few of the more important messages from the Synoptists, in which Christ bears witness to His Divine Nature.

 

bulletHe declares that He will come to be the judge of all men (Matthew 25:31). In Jewish theology the judgment of the world was a distinctively Divine, and not a Messianic, prerogative.
bulletIn the parable of the wicked husbandmen, He describes Himself as the son of the householder, while the Prophets, one and all, are represented as the servants (Matthew 21:33 sqq.).
bulletHe is the Lord of Angels, who execute His command (Matthew 24:31).
bulletHe approves the confession of Peter when he recognizes Him, not as Messias -- a step long since taken by all the Apostles -- but explicitly as the Son of God: and He declares the knowledge due to a special revelation from the Father (Matthew 16:16-17).
bulletFinally, before Caiphas He not merely declares Himself to be the Messias, but in reply to a second and distinct question affirms His claim to be the Son of God. He is instantly declared by the high priest to be guilty of blasphemy, an offense which could not have been attached to the claim to be simply the Messias (Luke 22:66-71).

St. John's testimony is yet more explicit than that of the Synoptists. He expressly asserts that the very purpose of his Gospel is to establish the Divinity of Jesus Christ (John 20:31). In the prologue he identifies Him with the Word, the only-begotten of the Father, Who from all eternity exists with God, Who is God (John 1:1-18). The immanence of the Son in the Father and of the Father in the Son is declared in Christ's words to St. Philip: "Do you not believe, that I am in the Father, and the Father in Me?" (14:10), and in other passages no less explicit (14:7; 16:15; 17:21). The oneness of Their power and Their action is affirmed: "Whatever he [the Father] does, the Son also does in like manner" (5:19, cf. 10:38); and to the Son no less than to the Father belongs the Divine attribute of conferring life on whom He will (5:21). In 10:29, Christ expressly teaches His unity of essence with the Father: "That which my Father hath given me, is greater than all . . . I and the Father are one." The words, "That which my Father hath given me," can, having regard to the context, have no other meaning than the Divine Name, possessed in its fullness by the Son as by the Father.

Rationalist critics lay great stress upon the text: "The Father is greater than I" (14:28). They argue that this suffices to establish that the author of the Gospel held subordinationist views, and they expound in this sense certain texts in which the Son declares His dependence on the Father (5:19; 8:28). In point of fact the doctrine of the Incarnation involves that, in regard of His Human Nature, the Son should be less than the Father. No argument against Catholic doctrine can, therefore, be drawn from this text. So too, the passages referring to the dependence of the Son upon the Father do but express what is essential to Trinitarian dogma, namely, that the Father is the supreme source from Whom the Divine Nature and perfections flow to the Son. (On the essential difference between St. John's doctrine as to the Person of Christ and the Logos doctrine of the Alexandrine Philo, to which many Rationalists have attempted to trace it.)

In regard to the Third Person of the Blessed Trinity, the passages which can be cited from the Synoptists as attesting His distinct personality are few. The words of Gabriel (Luke 1:35), having regard to the use of the term, "the Spirit," in the Old Testament, to signify God as operative in His creatures, can hardly be said to contain a definite revelation of the doctrine. For the same reason it is dubious whether Christ's warning to the Pharisees as regards blasphemy against the Holy Spirit (Matthew 12:31) can be brought forward as proof. But in Luke 12:12, "The Holy Ghost shall teach you in the same hour what you must say" (Matthew 10:20, and Luke 24:49), His personality is clearly implied. These passages, taken in connection with Matthew 28:19, postulate the existence of such teaching as we find in the discourses in the Cenacle reported by St. John (14, 15, 16). We have in these chapters the necessary preparation for the baptismal commission. In them the Apostles are instructed not only as the personality of the Spirit, but as to His office towards the Church. His work is to teach whatsoever He shall hear (16:13) to bring back their minds the teaching of Christ (14:26), to convince the world of sin (16:8). It is evident that, were the Spirit not a Person, Christ could not have spoken of His presence with the Apostles as comparable to His own presence with them (14:16). Again, were He not a Divine Person it could not have been expedient for the Apostles that Christ should leave them, and the Paraclete take His place (16:7). Moreover, notwithstanding the neuter form of the word (pneuma), the pronoun used in His regard is the masculine ekeinos. The distinction of the Holy Spirit from the Father and from the Son is involved in the express statements that He proceeds from the Father and is sent by the Son (15:26; cf. 14:16, 14:26). Nevertheless, He is one with Them: His presence with the Disciples is at the same time the presence of the Son (14:17-18), while the presence of the Son is the presence of the Father (14:23).

In the remaining New Testament writings numerous passages attest how clear and definite was the belief of the Apostolic Church in the three Divine Persons. In certain texts the coordination of Father, Son, and Spirit leaves no possible doubt as to the meaning of the writer. Thus in II Corinthians 13:13, St. Paul writes: "The grace of our Lord Jesus Christ, and the charity of God, and the communication of the Holy Ghost be with you all." Here the construction shows that the Apostle is speaking of three distinct Persons. Moreover, since the names God and Holy Ghost are alike Divine names, it follows that Jesus Christ is also regarded as a Divine Person. So also, in I Corinthians 12:4-11: "There are diversities of graces, but the same Spirit; and there are diversities of ministries, but the same Lord: and there are diversities of operations, but the same God, who worketh all [of them] in all [persons]." (Cf. also Ephesians 4:4-6; 1 Peter 1:2-3)

But apart from passages such as these, where there is express mention of the Three Persons, the teaching of the New Testament regarding Christ and the Holy Spirit is free from all ambiguity. In regard to Christ, the Apostles employ modes of speech which, to men brought up in the Hebrew faith, necessarily signified belief in His Divinity. Such, for instance, is the use of the Doxology in reference to Him. The Doxology, "To Him be glory for ever and ever" (cf. 1 Chronicles 16:38; 29:11; Psalm 103:31; 28:2), is an expression of praise offered to God alone. In the New Testament we find it addressed not alone to God the Father, but to Jesus Christ (2 Timothy 4:18; 2 Peter 3:18; Revelation 1:6; Hebrews 13:20-21), and to God the Father and Christ in conjunction (Revelations 5:13, 7:10). Not less convincing is the use of the title Lord (Kyrios). This term represents the Hebrew Adonai, just as God (Theos) represents Elohim. The two are equally Divine names (cf. 1 Corinthians 8:4). In the Apostolic writings Theos may almost be said to be treated as a proper name of God the Father, and Kyrios of the Son (see, for example, 1 Corinthians 12:5-6); in only a few passages do we find Kyrios used of the Father (1 Corinthians 3:5; 7:17) or Theos of Christ. The Apostles from time to time apply to Christ passages of the Old Testament in which Kyrios is used, for example, I Corinthians 10:9 (Numbers 21:7), Hebrews 1:10-12 (Psalm 101:26-28); and they use such expressions as "the fear of the Lord" (Acts 9:31; 2 Corinthians 5:11; Ephesians 5:21), "call upon the name of the Lord," indifferently of God the Father and of Christ (Acts 2:21; 9:14; Romans 10:13). The profession that "Jesus is the Lord" (Kyrion Iesoun, Romans 10:9; Kyrios Iesous, 1 Corinthians 12:3) is the acknowledgment of Jesus as Jahweh. The texts in which St. Paul affirms that in Christ dwells the plenitude of the Godhead (Colossians 2:9), that before His Incarnation He possessed the essential nature of God (Philemon 2:6), that He "is over all things, God blessed for ever" (Romans 9:5) tell us nothing that is not implied in many other passages of his Epistles.

The doctrine as to the Holy Spirit is equally clear. That His distinct personality was fully recognized is shown by many passages. Thus He reveals His commands to the Church's ministers: "As they were ministering to the Lord and fasting, the Holy Ghost said to them: Separate me Saul and Barnabas . . ." (Acts 13:2). He directs the missionary journey of the Apostles: "They attempted to go into Bithynia, and the Spirit of Jesus suffered them not" (Acts 16:7; cf. Acts 5:3; 15:28; Romans 15:30). Divine attributes are affirmed of Him.

bulletHe possesses omniscience and reveals to the Church mysteries known only to God (1 Corinthians 2:10);
bulletit is He who distributes charismata (1 Corinthians 12:11);
bulletHe is the giver of supernatural life (2 Corinthians 3:8);
bulletHe dwells in the Church and in the souls of individual men, as in His temple (Romans 8:9-11; 1 Corinthians 3:16, 6:19).
bulletThe work of justification and sanctification is attributed to Him (1 Corinthians 6:11; Romans 15:16), just as in other passages the same operations are attributed to Christ (1 Corinthians 1:2; Galatians 2:17).

To sum up: the various elements of the Trinitarian doctrine are all expressly taught in the New Testament. The Divinity of the Three Persons is asserted or implied in passages too numerous to count. The unity of essence is not merely postulated by the strict monotheism of men nurtured in the religion of Israel, to whom "subordinate deities" would have been unthinkable; but it is, as we have seen, involved in the baptismal commission of Matthew 28:19, and, in regard to the Father and the Son, expressly asserted in John 10:38. That the Persons are co-eternal and coequal is a mere corollary from this. In regard to the Divine processions, the doctrine of the first procession is contained in the very terms Father and Son: the procession of the Holy Spirit from the Father and Son is taught in the discourse of the Lord reported by St. John (14-17).

B. Old Testament

The early Fathers were persuaded that indications of the doctrine of the Trinity must exist in the Old Testament and they found such indications in not a few passages. Many of them not merely believed that the Prophets had testified of it, they held that it had been made known even to the Patriarchs. They regarded it as certain that the Divine messenger of Genesis 16:7, 18, 21:17, 31:11; Exodus 3:2, was God the Son; for reasons to be mentioned below (III. B.) they considered it evident that God the Father could not have thus manifested Himself (cf. Justin, "Dial.", 60; Irenaeus, "Adv. haer.", IV, xx, 7-11; Tertullian, "Adv. Prax.", 15-16; Theoph., "Ad Autol.", ii, 22; Novat., "De Trin.", 18, 25, etc.). They held that, when the inspired writers speak of "the Spirit of the Lord", the reference was to the Third Person of the Trinity: and one or two (Irenaeus, "Adv. haer.", II, xxx, 9; Theophilus, "Ad. Aut.", II, 15; Hippolytus, "Con. Noet.", 10) interpret the hypostatic Wisdom of the Sapiential books, not, with St. Paul, of the Son (Hebrews 1:3; cf. Wisdom 7:25-26), but of the Holy Spirit. But in others of the Fathers is found what would appear to be the sounder view, that no distinct intimation of the doctrine was given under the Old Covenant. (Cf. Gregory Nazianzen, "Or. theol.", v, 26; Epiphanius, "Ancor." 73, "Haer.", 74; Basil, "Adv. Eunom.", II, 22; Cyril Alex., "In Joan.", xii, 20.)

Some of these, however, admitted that a knowledge of the mystery was granted to the Prophets and saints of the Old Dispensation (Epiph., "Haer.", viii, 5; Cyril Alex., "Con. Julian.," I). It may be readily conceded that the way is prepared for the revelation in some of the prophecies. The names Emmanuel (Isaiah 7:14) and God the Mighty (Isaiah 9:6) affirmed of the Messias make mention of the Divine Nature of the promised deliverer. Yet it seems that the Gospel revelation was needed to render the full meaning of the passages clear. Even these exalted titles did not lead the Jews to recognize that the Saviour to come was to be none other than God Himself. The Septuagint translators do not even venture to render the words God the Mighty literally, but give us, in their place,"the angel of great counsel." A still higher stage of preparation is found in the doctrine of the Sapiential books regarding the Divine Wisdom. In Proverbs 8, Wisdom appears personified, and in a manner which suggests that the sacred author was not employing a mere metaphor, but had before his mind a real person (cf. verses 22, 23). Similar teaching occurs in Ecclus., 24, in a discourse which Wisdom is declared to utter in "the assembly of the Most High", i. e. in the presence of the angels. This phrase certainly supposes Wisdom to be conceived as person. The nature of the personality is left obscure; but we are told thnt the whole earth is Wisdom's Kingdom, that she finds her delight in all the works of God, but that Israel is in a special manner her portion and her inheritance (Ecclus., 24:8-13).

In the Book of the Wisdom of Solomon we find a still further advance. Here Wisdom is clearly distinguished from Jehovah: "She is. . .a certain pure emanation of the glory of the almighty God. . .the brightness of eternal light, and the unspotted mirror of God's majesty, and the image of his goodness" (Wisdom 7:25-26. Cf. Hebrews 1:3). She is, moreover, described as "the worker of all things" (panton technitis, 7:21), an expression indicating that the creation is in some manner attributable to her. Yet in later Judaism this exalted doctrine suffered eclipse, and seems to have passed into oblivion. Nor indeed can it be said that the passage, even though it manifests some knowledge of a second personality in the Godhead, constitutes a revelation of the Trinity. For nowhere in the Old Testament do we find any clear indication of a Third Person. Mention is often made of the Spirit of the Lord, but there is nothing to show that the Spirit was viewed as distinct from Jahweh Himself. The term is always employed to signify God considered in His working, whether in the universe or in the soul of man. The matter seems to be correctly summed up by Epiphanius, when he says: "The One Godhead is above all declared by Moses, and the twofold personality (of Father and Son) is strenuously asuerted by the Prophets. The Trinity is made known by the Gospel" ("Haer.", Ixxiv).

III. PROOF OF THE DOCTRINE FROM TRADITION

A. The Church Fathers

In this section we shall show that the doctrine of the Blessed Trinity has from the earliest times been taught by the Catholic Church and professed by her members. As none deny this for any period subsequent to the Arian and Macedonian controversies, it will be sufficient if we here consider the faith of the first four centuries only. An argument of very great weight is provided in the liturgical forms of the Church. The highest probative force must necessarily attach to these, since they express not the private opinion of a single individual, but the public belief of the whole body of the faithful. Nor can it be objected that the notions of Christians on the subject were vague and confused, and that their liturgical forms reflect this frame of mind. On such a point vagueness was impossible. Any Christian might be called on to seal with his blood his belief that there is but One God. The answer of Saint Maximus (c. A.D. 250) to the command of the proconsul that he should sacrifice to the gods, "I offer no sacrifice save to the One True God," is typical of many such replies in the Acts of the martyrs. It is out of the question to suppose that men who were prepared to give their lives on behalf of this fundamental truth were in point of fact in so great confusion in regard to it that they were unaware whether their creed was monotheistic, ditheistic, or tritheistic. Moreover, we know that their instruction regarding the doctrines of their religion was solid. The writers of that age bear witness that even the unlettered were thoroughly familiar with the truths of faith (cf. Justin, "Apol.", I, 60; Irenaeus, "Adv. haer.", III, iv, n. 2).

(1) Baptismal formulas

We may notice first the baptismal formula, which all acknowledge to be primitive. It has already been shown that the words as prescribed by Christ (Matthew 28:19) clearly express the Godhead of the Three Persons as well as their distinction, but another consideration may here be added. Baptism, with its formal renunciation of Satan and his works, was understood to be the rejection of the idolatry of paganism and the solemn consecration of the baptised to the one true God (Tert., "De spect.", iv; Justin, "Apol.", I, iv). The act of consecration was the invocation over them of the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. The supposition that they regarded the Second and Third Persons as created beings, and were in fact consecrating themselves to the service of creatures, is manifestly absurd. St. Hippolytus has expressed the faith of the Church in the clearest terms: "He who descends into this laver of regeneration with faith forsakes the Evil One and engages himself to Christ, renounces the enemy and confesses that Christ is God . . . he returns from the font a son of God and a coheir of Christ. To Whom with the all holy, the good and lifegiving Spirit be glory now and always, forever and ever. Amen" ("Serm. in Theoph.", n. 10).

The doxologies

(2) The witness of the doxologies is no less striking. The form now universal, "Glory be to the Father, and to the Son, and to the Holy Ghost," so clearly expresses the Trinitarian dogma that the Arians found it necessary to deny that it had been in use previous to the time of Flavian of Antioch (Philostorgius, "Hist. eccl.", III, xiii). It is true that up to the period of the Arian controversy another form, "Glory to the Father, through the Son, in the Holy Spirit," had been more common (cf. I Clement, 58, 59; Justin, "Apol.", I, 67). This latter form is indeed perfectly consistent with Trinitarian belief: it, however, expresses not the coequality of the Three Persons, but their operation in regard to man. We live in the Spirit, and through Him we are made partakers in Christ (Galatians 5:25; Romans 8:9); and it is through Christ, as His members, that we are worthy to offer praise to God (Hebrews 13:15). But there are many passages in the ante-Nicene Fathers which show that the form, "Glory be to the Father and to the Son, and to [with] the Holy Spirit," was also in use.

bulletIn the narrative of St. Polycarp's martyrdom we read: "With Whom to Thee and the Holy Spirit be glory now and for the ages to come" (Mart. S. Polyc., n.14; cf. n. 22).
bulletClement of Alexandria bids men "give thanks and praise to the only Father and Son, to the Son and Father with the Holy Spirit" (Paed., III, xii).
bulletSt. Hippolytus closes his work against Noetus with the words: "To Him be glory and power with the Father and the Holy Spirit in Holy Church now and always for ever and ever. Amen" (Contra Noet., n. 18).
bulletDenis of Alexandria uses almost the same words: "To God the Father and to His Son Jesus Christ with the Holy Spirit be honour and glory forever and ever, Amen" (in St. Basil, "De Spiritu Sancto", xxix, n. 72).
bulletSt. Basil further tells us that it was an immemorial custom among Christians when they lit the evening lamp to give thanks to God with prayer: Ainoumen Patera kai Gion kai Hagion Pneuma Theou ("We praise the Father, and the Son, and the Holy Spirit of God").

(3) Other patristic writings

The doctrine of the Trinity is formally taught in every class of ecclesiastical writing. From among the apologists we may note Justin, "Apol." I, vi; Athenagoras, "Legat: pro Christ.", n. 12. The latter tells us that Christians "are conducted to the future life by this one thing alone, that they know God and His Logos, what is the oneness of the Son with the Father, what the communion of the Father with the Son, what is the Spirit, what is the unity of these three, the Spirit, the Son, and the Father, and their distinction in unity." It would be impossible to be more explicit. And we may be sure that an apologist, writing for pagans, would weigh well the words in which he dealt with this doctrine. Amongst polemical writers we may refer to Irenaeus, "Adv. haer.", I, xxii, IV, xx, 1-6. In these passages he rejects the Gnostic figment that the world was created by aeons who had emanated from God, but were not consubstantial with Him, and teaches the consubstantiality of the Word and the Spirit by Whom God created all things. Clement of Alexandria professes the doctrine in "Paedag." I, vi, and somewhat later Gregory Thaumaturgus, as we have already seen, lays it down in the most express terms in his creed (P.G., X, 986).

(4) As contrasted with heretical teachings

Yet further evidence regarding the Church's doctrine is furnished by a comparison of her teaching with that of heretical sects. The controversy with the Sabellians in the third century proves conclusively that she would tolerate no deviation from Trinitarian doctrine. Noetus of Smyrna, the originator of the error, was condemned by a local synod, about A.D. 200. Sabellius, who propagated the same heresy at Rome c. A.D. 220, was excommunicated by St. Callistus. It is notorious that the sect made no appeal to tradition: it found Trinitarianism in possession wherever it appeared -- at Smyrna, at Rome, in Africa, in Egypt. On the other hand, St. Hippolytus, who combats it in the "Contra Noetum," claims Apostolic tradition for the doctrine of the Catholic Church: "Let us believe, beloved brethren, in accordance with the tradition of the Apostles, that God the Word came down from heaven to the holy Virgin Mary to save man." Somewhat later (c. A.D. 260) Denis of Alexandria found that the error was widespread in the Libyan Pentapolis, and he addressed a dogmatic letter against it to two bishops, Euphranor and Ammonius. In this, in order to emphasize the distinction between the Persons, he termed the Son poiema tou Theou and used other expressions capable of suggesting that the Son is to be reckoned among creatures. He was accused of heterodoxy to St. Dionysius of Rome, who held a council and addressed to him a letter dealing with the true Catholic doctrine on the point in question. The Bishop of Alexandria replied with a defense of his orthodoxy entitled "Elegxhos kai apologia," in whioh he corrected whatever had been erroneous. He expressly professes his belief in the consubstantiality of the Son, using the very term, homoousios, which afterwards became the touchstone of orthodoxy at Nicaea (P. G., XXV, 505). The story of the controversy is conclusive as to the doctrinal standard of the Church. It shows us that she was firm in rejecting on the one hand any confusion of the Persons and on the other hand any denial of their consubstantiality.

The information we possess regarding another heresy -- that of Montanus -- supplies us with further proof that the doctrine of the Trinity was the Church's teaching in A.D. 150. Tertullian affirms in the clearest terms that what he held as to the Trinity when a Catholic he still holds as a Montanist ("Adv. Prax.", II, 156); and in the same work he explicitly teaches the Divinity of the Three Persons, their distinction, the eternity of God the Son (op. cit., xxvii). Epiphanius in the same way asserts the orthodoxy of the Montanists on this subject (Haer., lxviii). Now it is not to be supposed that the Montanists had accepted any novel teaching from the Catholic Church since their secession in the middle of the second century. Hence, inasmuch as there was full agreement between the two bodies in regard to the Trinity, we have here again a clear proof that Trinitarianism was an article of faith at a time when the Apostolic tradition was far too recent for any error to have arisen on apoint so vital.

B. Later Controversy

Notwithstanding the force of the arguments we have just summarized, a vigorous controversy has been carried on from the end of the seventeenth century to the present day regarding the Trinitarian doctrine of the ante-Nicene Fathers. The Socinian writers of the seventeenth century (e. g. Sand, "Nucleus historiae ecclesiastic", Amsterdam, 1668) asserted that the language of the early Fathers in many passages of their works shows that they agreed not with Athanasius, but with Arius. Petavius, who was at that period engaged on his great theological work, was convinced by their arguments, and allowed that at least some of these Fathers had fallen into grave errors. On the other hand, their orthodoxy was vigorously defended by the Anglican divine Dr. George Bull ("Defensio Fidei Nicaean", Oxford, 1685) and subsequently by Bossuet, Thomassinus, and other Catholic theologians. Those who take the less favorable view assert that they teach the following points inconsistent with the post-Nicene belief of the Church:

bulletThat the Son even as regards His Divine Nature is inferior and not equal to the Father;
bulletthat the Son alone appeared in the theophanies of the Old Testament, inasmuchas the Father is essentially invisible, the Son, however, not so;
bulletthat the Son is a created being;
bulletthat the generation of the Son is not eternal, but took place in time.

We shall examine these four points in order.

(1) In proof of the assertion that many of the Fathers deny the equality of the Son with the Father, passages are cited from Justin (Apol., I, xiii, xxxii), Irenaeus (Adv. haer., III, viii, n. 3), Clem. Alex. ("Strom." VII, ii), Hippolytus (Con. Noet., n. 14), Origen (Con. Cels., VIII, xv). Thus Irenaeus (loc. cit.) says: "He commanded, and they were created . . . Whom did He command? His Word, by whom, says the Scripture, the heavens were established. And Origen, loc. cit., says: "We declare that the Son is not mightier than the Father, but inferior to Him. And this belief we ground on the saying of Jesus Himself: "The Father who sent me is greater than I." Now in regard to these passages it must be borne in mind that there are two ways of considering the Trinity. We may view the Three Persons insofar as they are equally possessed of the Divine Nature or we may consider the Son and the Spirit as derivlng from the Father, Who is the sole source of Godhead, and from Whom They receive all They have and are. The former mode of considering them has been the more common since the Arian heresy. The latter, however, was more frequent previously to that period. Under this aspect, the Father, as being: tbe sole source of all, may be termed greater than the Son. Thus Athanasius, Basil, Gregory Nazianzen, Gregory of Nyssa, and the Fathers of the Council of Sardica, in their synodical letter, all treat our Lord's words, teaches "The Father is greater than I" as having reference to His Godhead (cf. Petavius, "De Trin.", II, ii, 7, vi, 11). From this point of view it may be said that in the creation of the world the Father commanded, the Son obeyed. The expression is not one which would have been employed by Latin writers who insist thst creation and all God's works proceed from Him as One and not from the Persons as distinct from each other. But this truth was unfamiliar to the early Fathers.

(2) Justin (Dial., n. 60) Irenaeus (Adv. haer., IV, xx, nn. 7, 11), Tertullian ("C. Marc.", II, 27; "Adv. Prax.", 15, 16), Novatian (De Trin., xviii, 25), Theophilus (Ad Autol., II, xxii), are accused of teaching that the theophanies were incompatible with the essential nature of the Father, yet not incompatible with that of the Son. In this case also the difficulty is largely removed if it be remembered that these writers regarded all the Divine operations as proceeding from the Three Persons as such, and not from the Godhead viewed as one. Now Revelation teaches us that in the work of the creation and redemption of the world the Father effects His purpose through the Son. Through Him He made the world; through Him He redeemed it; through Him He will judge it. Hence it was believed by these writers that, having regard to the present disposition of Providence, the theophanies could only have been the work of the Son. Moreover, in Colossians 1:15, the Son is expressly termed "the image of the invisible God" (eikon tou Theou rou aoratou). This expression they seem to have taken with strict literalness. The function of an eikon is to manifest what is itself hidden (cf. St. John Damascene, "De imagin.", III, n. 17). Hence they held that the work of revealing the Father belongs by nature to the Second Person of the Trinity, and concluded that the theophanies were His work.

(3) Expressions which appear to contain the statement that the Son was created are found in Clement of Alexandria (Strom., V, xiv; VI, vii), Tatian (Orat., v), Tertullian ("Adv. Prax." vi; "Adv. "Adv. Hermong.", xviii, xx), Origen (In Joan., I, n. 22). Clement speaks of Wisdom as "created before all things" (protoktistos), and Tatian terms the Word the "first-begotten work of (ergon prototokon) Of the Father. Yet the meaning of these authors is clear. In Colossians 1:16, St. Paul says that all things were created in the Son. This was understood to signify that creation took place according to exemplar ideas predetermined by God and existing in the Word. In view of this, it might be said that the Father created the Word, this term being used in place of the more accurate generated, inasmuch as the exemplar ideas of creation were communicated by the Father to the Son. Or, again, the actual Creation of the world might be termed the creation of the Word, since it takes place according to the ideas which exist in the Word. The context invariably shows that the passage is to be understood in one or another of these senses. The expression is undoubtedly very harsh, and it certainly would never have been employed but for the verse, Proverbs 8:22, which is rendered in the Septuagint and the old Latin versions, "The Lord created (ektise) me, who am the beginning of His ways." As the passage was understood as having reference to the Son, it gave rise to the question how it could be said that Wisdom was created (Origen, "Princ.", I, ii, n. 3). It is further to be remembered that accurate terminology in regard to the relations between the Three Persons was the fruit of the controversies which sprang up in the fourth century. The writers of an earlier period were not concerned with Arianism, and employed expressions which in the light of subsequent errors are seen to be not merely inaccurate, but dangerous. (4) Greater difficulty is perhaps presented by a series of passages which appear to assert that prior to the Creation of the world the Word was not a distinct hypostasis from the Father. These are found in Justin (C. Tryphon., lxi), Tatian (Con. Graecos, v), Athenagoras (Legat., x), Theophilus (Ad Autol., II, x, 22); Hippolytus (Con. Noet., x); Tertullian ("Adv. Prax.", v-vii; "Adv. Hermogenem" xviii). Thus Theophilus writes (op. cit., n. 22): "What else is this voice [heard in Paradise] but the Word of God Who is also His Son? . . . For before anything came into being, He had Him as a counsellor, being His own mind and thought [i.e. as the logos endiathetos, c. x]). But when God wished to make all that He had determined on, then did He beget Him as the uttered Word [logos prophorikos], the firstborn of all creation, not, however, Himself being left without Reason (logos), but having begotten Reason, and ever holding converse with Reason." Expressions such as these are undoubtedly due to the influence of the Stoic philosophy: the logos endiathetos and logos prophorikos were current conceptions of that school. It is evident that these apologists were seeking to explain the Christian Faith to their pagan readers in terms with which the latter were familiar. Some Catholic writers have indeed thought that the influence of their previous training did lead some of them into Subordinationism, although the Church herself was never involved in the error. Yet it does not seem necessary to adopt this conclusion. If the point of view of the writers be borne in mind, the expressions, strange as they are, will be seen not to be incompatible with orthodox belief. The early Fathers, as we have said, regarded Proverbs 8:22, and Colossians 1:15, as distinctly teaching that there is a sense in which the Word, begotten before all worlds, may rightly be said to have been begotten also in time. This temporal generation they conceived to be none other than the act of creation. They viewed this as the complement of the eternal generation, inasmuch as it is the external manifestation of those creative ideas which from all eternity the Father has communicated to the Eternal Word. Since, in the very same works which contain these perplexing expressions, other passages are found teaching explicitly the eternity of the Son, it appears most natural to interpret them in this sense. It should further be remembered that throughout this period theologians, when treating of the relation of the Divine Persons to each other, invariably regard them in connection with the cosmogony. Only later, in the Nicene epoch, did they learn to prescind from the question of creation and deal with the threefold Personality exclusively from the point of view of the Divine life of the Godhead. When that stage was reached expressions such as these became impossible.

IV. THE TRINITY AS A MYSTERY

The Vatican Council has explained the meaning to be attributed to the term mystery in theology. It lays down that a mystery is a truth which we are not merely incapable of discovering apart from Divine Revelation, but which, even when revealed, remains "hidden by the veil of faith and enveloped, so to speak, by a kind of darkness" (Const., "De fide. cath.", iv). In other words, our understanding of it remains only partial, even after we have accepted it as part of the Divine messege. Through analogies and types we can form a representative concept expressive of what is revealed, but we cannot attain that fuller knowledge which supposes that the various elements of the concept are clearly grasped and their reciprocal compatibility manifest. As regards the vindication of a mystery, the office of the natural reason is solely to show that it contains no intrinsic impossibility, that any objection urged against it on Reason. "Expressions such as these are undoubtedly the score that it violates the laws of thought is invalid. More than this it cannot do.

The Vatican Council further defined that the Christian Faith contains mysteries strictly so called (can. 4). All theologians admit that the doctrine of the Trinity is of the number of these. Indeed, of all revealed truths this is the most impenetrable to reason. Hence, to declare this to be no mystery would be a virtual denial of the canon in question. Moreover, our Lord's words, Matthew 11:27, "No one knoweth the Son, but the Father," seem to declare expressly that the plurality of Persons in the Godhead is a truth entirely beyond the scope of any created intellect. The Fathers supply many passages in which the incomprehensibility of the Divine Nature is affirmed. St. Jerome says, in a well-known phrase: "The true profession of the mystery of the Trinity is to own that we do not comprehend it" (De mysterio Trinitatus recta confessio est ignoratio scientiae -- "Proem ad 1. xviii in Isai."). The controversy with the Eunomians, who declared that the Divine Essence was fully expressed in the absolutely simple notion of "the Innascible" (agennetos), and that this was fully comprehensible by the human mind, led many of the Greek Fathers to insist on the incomprehensibility of the Divine Nature, more especially in regard to the internal processions. St. Basil. "In Eunom.", I, n. 14; St. Cyril of Jerusdem, "Cat.", VI; St. John Damascene, "Fid. Orth.", I, ii, etc., etc.).

At a later date, however, some famous names are to be found defending a contrary opinion Anselm ("Monol.", 64), Abelard ("ln Ep. ad Rom."), Hugo of St. Victor ("De sacram." III, xi), and Richard of St. Victor ("De Trin.", III, v) all declare that it is possible to assign peremptory reasons why God should be both One and Three. In explanation of this it should be noted that at that period the relation of philosophy to revealed doctrine was but obscurely understood. Only after the Aristotelean system had obtained recognition from theologians was this question thoroughly treated. In the intellectual ferment of the time Abelard initiated a Rationalistic tendency: not merely did he claim a knowledge of the Trinity for the pagan philosophers, but his own Trinitarian doctrine was practically Sabellian. Anselm's error was due not to Rationalism, but to too wide an application of the Augustinian principle "Crede ut intelligas". Hugh and Richard of St. Victor were, however, certainly influenced by Abelard's teaching. Raymond Lully's (1235-1315) errors in this regard were even more extreme. They were expressly condemned by Gregory XI in 1376. In the nineteenth century the influence of the prevailing Rationalism manifested itself in several Catholic writers. Frohschammer and Günther both asserted that the dogma of the Trinity was capable of proof. Pius IX reprobated their opinions on more than one occasion (Denzinger, 1655 sq., 1666 sq., 1709 sq.), and it was to guard against this tendency that the Vatican Council issued the decrees to which reference has been made. A somewhat similar, though less aggravated, error on the part of Rosmini was condemned, 14 December, 1887 (Denz., 1915).

V. THE DOCTRINE AS INTERPRETED IN GREEK THEOLOGY

A. Nature and Personality

The Greek Fathers approached the problem of Trinitarian doctrine in a way which differs in an important particular from that which, since the days of St. Augustine, has become traditional in Latin theology. In Latin theology thought fixed first on the Nature and only subsequently on the Persons. Personality is viewed as being, so to speak, the final complement of the Nature: the Nature is regarded as logically prior to the Personality. Hence, because God's Nature is one, He is known to us as One God before He can be known as Three Persons. And when theologians speak of God without special mention of a Person, conceive Him under this aspect. This is entirely different from the Greek point of view. Greek thought fixed primarily on the Three distinct Persons: the Father, to Whom, as the source and origin of all, the name of God (Theos) more especially belongs; the Son, proceeding from the Father by an eternal generation, and therefore rightly termed God also; and the Divine Spirit, proceeding from the Father through the Son. The Personality is treated as logically prior to the Nature. Just as human nature is something which the individual men possesses, and which can only be conceived as belonging to and dependent on the individual, so the Divine Nature is something which belongs to the Persons and cannot be conceived independently of Them.

The contrast appears strikingly in regard to the question of creation. All Western theologians teach that creation, like all God's external works, proceeds from Him as One: the separate Personalities do not enter into consideration. The Greeks invariably speak as though, in all the Divine works, each Person exercises a separate office. Irenaeus replies to the Gnostics, who held that the world was created by a demiurge other than the supreme God, by affirming that God is the one Creator, and that He made all things by His Word and His Wisdom, the Son and the Spirit (Adv. haer., I, xxii; II, iv, 4, 5, xxx, 9; IV, xx, 1). A formula often found among the Greek Fathers is that all things are from the Father and are effected by the Son in the Spirit (Athanasius, "Ad Serap.", I, xxxi; Basil, "De Spiritu Sancto", n. 38; Cyril of Alexandria, "De Trin. dial.", VI). Thus, too, Hippolytus (Con Noet., x) says that God has fashioned all things by His Word and His Wisdom creating them by His Word, adorning them by His Wisdom (gar ta genomena dia Logou kai Sophias technazetai, Logo men ktizon Sophia de kosmon). The Nicene Creed still preserves for us this point of view. In it we still profess our belief "in one God the Father Almighty, Creator of heaven and earth . . . and in one Lord Jesus Christ . . . by Whom all things were made . . . and in the Holy Ghost."

B. The Divine Unity

The Greek Fathers did not neglect to safeguard the doctrine of the Divine Unity, though manifestly their standpoint requires a different treatment from that employed in the West. The consubstantiality of the Persons is asserted by St. Irenaeus when he tells us that God created the world by His Son and His Spirit, "His two hands" (Adv. haer., IV, xx, 1). The purport of the phrase is evidently to indicate that the Second and Third Persons are not substantially distinct from the First. A more philosophical description is the doctrine of the Recapitulation (sygkephalaiosis). This seems to be first found in the correspondence between St. Denis of Alexandria and St. Dionysius of Rome. The former writes: "We thus [i.e., by the twofold procession] extend the Monad [the First Person] to the Trinity, without causing any division, and were capitulate the Trinity in the Monad without causing diminution" (outo men emeis eis te ten Triada ten Monada, platynomen adiaireton, kai ten Triada palin ameioton eis ten Monada sygkephalaioumetha -- P.G., XXV, 504). Here the consubstantiality is affirmed on the ground that the Son and Spirit, proceeding from the Father, are nevertheless not separated from Him; while they again, with all their perfections, can be regarded as contained within Him.

This doctrine supposes a point of view very different from that with which we are now familiar. The Greek Fathers regarded the Son as the Wisdom and power of the Father (1 Corinthians 1:24) in a formal sense, and in like manner, the Spirit as His Sanctity. Apart from the Son the Father would be without Hls Wisdom; apart from the Spirit He would be without His Sanctity. Thus the Son and the Spirit are termed "Powers" (Dynameis) of the Father. But while in creatures the powers and faculties are mere accidental perfections, in the Godhead they are subsistent hypostases. Denis of Alexandria regarding the Second and Third Persons as the Father's "Powers", speaks of the First Person as being "extended" to them, and not divided from them. And, since whatever they have and are flows from Him, this writer asserts that if we fix our thoughts on the sole source of Deity alone, we find in Him undiminished all that is contained in them.

The Arian controversy led to insistence on the Homoüsia. But with the Greeks this is not a starting point, but a conclusion, the result of reflective analysis. The sonship of the Second Person implies that He has received the Divine Nature in its fullness, for all generation implies the origination of one who is like in nature to the originating principle. But here, mere specific unity is out of the question. The Divine Essence is not capable of numerical multiplication; it is therefore, they reasoned, identically the same nature which both possess. A similar line of argument establishes that the Divine Nature as communicated to the Holy Spirit is not specifically, but numerically, one with that of the Father and the Son. Unity of nature was understood by the Greek Fathers as involving unity of will and unity of action (energeia). This they declared the Three Persons to possess (Athanasius, "Adv. Sabell.", xii, 13; Basil, "Ep. clxxxix," n. 7; Gregory of Nyssa, "De orat. dom.," John Damascene, "De fide orth.", III, xiv). Here we see an important advance in the theology of the Godhead. For, as we have noted, the earlier Fathers invariably conceive the Three Persons as each exercising a distinct and separate function.

Finally we have the doctrine of Circuminsession (perichoresis). By this is signified the reciprocal inexistence and compenetration of the Three Persons. The term perichoresis is first used by St. John Damascene. Yet the doctrine is found much earlier. Thus St. Cyril of Alexandria says that the Son is called the Word and Wisdom of the Father "because of the reciprocal inherence of these and the mind" (dia ten eis allela . . . ., hos an eipoi tis, antembolen). St. John Damascene assigns a twofold basis for this inexistence of the Persons. In some passages he explains it by the doctrine already mentioned, that the Son and the Spirit are dynameis of the Father (cf. "De recta sententia"). Thus understood, the Circuminsession is a corollary of the doctrine of Recapitulation. He also understands it as signifying the identity of essence, will, and action in the Persons. Wherever these are peculiar to the individual, as is the case in all creatures, there, he tells us, we have separate existence (kechorismenos einai). In the Godhead the essence, will, and action are but one. Hence we have not separate existence, but Circuminsession (perichoresis) (Fid. orth., I, viii). Here, then, the Circuminsession has its basis in the Homoüsia.

It is easy to see that the Greek system was less well adapted to meet the cavils of the Arian and Macedonian heretics than was that subsequently developedby St. Augustine. Indeed the controversies of the fourth century brought some of the Greek Fathers notably nearer to the positions of Latin theology. We have seen that they were led to affirm the action of the Three Persons to be but one. Didymus even employs expressions which seem to show that he, like the Latins, conceived the Nature as logically antecedent to the Persons. He understands the term God as signifying the whole Trinity, and not, as do the other Greeks, the Father alone: "When we pray, whether we say 'Kyrie eleison', or 'O God aid us', we do not miss our mark: for we include the whole of the Blessed Trinity in one Godhead" (De Trin., II, xix).

C. Mediate and Immediate Procession

The doctrine that the Spirit is the image of the Son, as the Son is the image of the Father, is characteristic of Greek theology. It is asserted by St. Gregory Thaumaturgus in his Creed. It is assumed by St. Athanasius as an indisputable premise in his controversy with the Macedonians (Ad Serap., I, xx, xxi, xxiv; II, i, iv). It is implied in the comparisons employed both by him (Ad Serap. I, xix) and by St. Gregory Nazianzen (Orat. xxxi, 31, 32), of the Three Divine Persons to the sun, the ray, the light; and to the source, the spring, and the stream. We find it also in St. Cyril of Alexandria ("Thesaurus assert.", 33), St. John Damascene ("Fid.orth." I, 13), etc. This supposes that the procession of the Son from the Father is immediate; that of the Spirit from the Father is mediate. He proceeds from the Father through the Son. Bessarion rightly observes that the Fathers who used these expressions conceived the Divine Procession as taking place, so to speak, along a straight line (P. G., CLXI, 224). On the other hand, in Western theology the symbolic diagram of the Trinity has ever been the triangle, the relations of the Three Persons one to another being precisely similar. The point is worth noting, for this diversity of symbolic representation leads inevitably to very different expressions of the same dogmatic truth. It is plain that these Fathers would have rejected no less firmly than the Latins the later Photian heresy that the Holy Spirit proceeds from the Father alone.

D. The Son

The Greek theology of the Divine Generation differs in certain particulars from the Latin. Most Western theologians base their theory on the name, Logos, given by St. John to the Second Person. This they understand in the sense of "concept" (verbum mentale), and hold that the Divine Generation is analogous to the act by which the created intellect produces its concept. Among Greek writers this explanation is unknown. They declare the manner of the Divine Generation to be altogether beyond our comprehension. We know by revelation that God has a Son; and various other terms besides Son employed regarding Him in Scripture, such as Word, Brightness of His glory, etc., show us that His sonship must be conceived as free from any relation. More we know not (cf. Gregory Nazianzen, "Orat. xxix", p. 8, Cyril of Jerusalem, "Cat.", xi, 19; John Damascene, "Fid. orth.", I, viii). One explanation only can be given, namely, that the perfection we call fecundity must needs be found in God the Absolutely Perfect (St. John Damascene, "Fid.orth.", I, viii). Indeed it would seem that the great majority of the Greek Fathers understood logos not of the mental thought; but of the uttered word ("Dion. Alex."; Athanasius, ibid.; Cyril of Alexandria, "De Trin.", II). They did not see in the term a revelation that the Son is begotten by way of intellectual procession, but viewed it as a metaphor intended to exclude the material associations of human sonship (Gregory of Nyssa, "C. Eunom.", IV; Gregory Nazianzen, "Orat. xxx", p. 20; Basil, "Hom. xvi"; Cyril of Alexandria, "Thesaurus assert.", vi).

We have already adverted to the view that the Son is the Wisdom and Power of the Father in the full and formal sense. This teaching constantly recurs from the time of Origen to that of St. John Damascene (Origen apud Athan., "De decr. Nic.", p. 27; Athanasius, "Con. Arianos", I, p. 19; Cyril of Alexandria, "Thesaurus"; John Damascene, "Fid.orth.", I, xii). It is based on the Platonic philosophy accepted by the Alexandrine School. This differs in a fundamental point from the Aristoteleanism of the Scholastic theologians. In Aristotelean philosophy perfection is always conceived statically. No actlon, transient or immanent, can proceed from any agent unless that agent, as statically conceived, possesses whatever perfection is contained in the action. The Alexandrine standpoint was other than this. To them perfection must be sought in dynamic activity. God, as the supreme perfection, is from all eternity self-moving, ever adorning Himself with His own attributes: they issue from Him and, being Divine, are not accidents, but subsistent realities. To these thinkers, therefore, there was no impossibility in the supposition that God is wise with the Wisdom which is the result of His own immanent action, powerful with the Power which proceeds from Him. The arguments of the Greek Fathers frequently presuppose this philosophy as their bssis; and unless it be clearly grasped, reasoning which on their premises is conclusive will appear to us invalid and fallacious. Thus it is sometimes urged as a reason for rejecting Arianism that, if there were a time when the Son was not, it follows that God must then have been devoid of Wisdom and of Power -- a conclusion from which even Arians would shrink.

E. The Holy Spirit

A point which in Western theology gives occasion for some discussion is the question as to why the Third Person of the Blessed Trinity is termed the Holy Spirit. St. Augustine suggests that it is because He proceeds from both the Father and the Son, and hence He rightly receives a name applicable to both (De Trin., xv, n. 37). To the Greek Fathers, who developed the theology of the Spirit in the light of the philosophical principles which we have just noticed, the question presented no difficulty. His name, they held, reveals to us His distinctive character as the Third Person, just as the names Father and Son manifest the distinctive characters of the First and Second Persons (cf. Gregory Thaumaturgus, "Ecth. fid."; Basil, "Ep. ccxiv", 4; Gregory Nazianzen, "Or. xxv", 16). He is autoagiotes, the hypostatic holiness of God, the holiness by which God is holy. Just as the Son is the Wisdom and Power by which God is wise and powerful, so the Spirit is the Holiness by which He is holy. Had there ever been a time, as the Macedonians dared to say, when the Holy Spirit was not, then at that time God would have not been holy (St. Gregory Nazianzen, "Orat. xxxi", 4).

On the other hand, pneuma was often understood in the light of John 10:22 where Christ, appearing to the Apostles, breathed on them and conferred on them the Holy Spirit. He is the breath of Christ (John Damascene, "Fid. orth.", 1, viii), breathed by Him into us, and dwelling in us as the breath of life by which we enjoy the supernatural life of God's children (Cyril of Alexandria, "Thesaurus"; cf. Petav., "De Trin", V, viii). The office of the Holy Spirit in thus elevating us to the supernatural order is, however, conceived in a manner somewhat different from that of Western theologians. According to Western doctrine, God bestows on man sanctifying grace, and consequent on that gift the Three Persons come to his soul. In Greek theology the order is reversed: the Holy Spirit does not come to us because we have received sanctifying grace; but it is through His presence we receive the gift. He is the seal, Himself impressing on us the Divine image. That Divine image is indeed realized in us, but the seal must be present to secure the continued existence of the impression. Apart from Him it is not found (Origen, "In Joan. ii", vi; Didymus, "De Spiritu Sancto", x, 11; Athanasius, "Ep. ad. Serap.", III, iii). This Union with the Holy Spirit constitutes our deification (theopoiesis). Inasmuch as He is the image of Christ, He imprints the likeness of Christ upon us; since Christ is the image of the Father, we too receive the true character of God's children (Athanasius, loc.cit.; Gregory Nazianzen, "Orat. xxxi", 4). It is in reference to this work in our regard that in the Nicaeno-Constantinopolitan Creed the Holy Spirit is termed the Giver of life (zoopoios). In the West we more naturally speak of grace as the life of the soul. But to the Greeks it was the Spirit through whose personal presence we live. Just as God gave natural life to Adam by breathing into his inanimate frame the breath of life, so did Christ give spiritual life to us when He bestowed on us the gift of the Holy Ghost.

VI. THE DOCTRINE AS INTERPRETED IN LATIN THEOLOGY

The transition to the Latin theology of the Trinity was the work of St. Augustine. Western theologians have never departed from the main lines which he laid down, although in the Golden Age of Scholasticism his system was developed, its details completed, and its terminology perfected. It received its final and classical form from St. Thomas Aquinas. But it is necessary first to indicate in what consisted the transition effected by St. Augustine. This may be summed up in three points:

bulletHe views the Divine Nature as prior to the Personalities. Deus is for him not God the Father,but the Trinity. This was a step of the first importance, safeguarding as it did alike the unity of God and the equality of the Persons in a manner which the Greek system could never do. As we have seen, one at least of the Greeks, Didymus, had adopted this standpoint and it is possible that Augustine may have derived this method of viewing the mystery from him. But to make it the basis for the whole treatment of the doctrine was the work of Augustine's genius.
bulletHe insists that every external operation God is due to the whole Trinity, and cannot be attributed to one Person alone, save by appropriation (see HOLY GHOST). The Greek Fathers had, as we have seen, been led to affirm that the action (energeia) of the Three Persons was one, and one alone. But the doctrine of appropriation was unknown to them, and thus the value of this conclusion was obscured by a traditional theology implying the distinct activities of Father, Son, and Holy Spirit.
bulletBy indicating the analogy between the two processions within the Godhead and the internal acts of thought and will in the human mind (De Trin., IX, iii, 3; X, xi, 17), he became the founder of the psychological theory of the Trinity, which, with a very few exceptions, was accepted by every subsequent Latin writer.

In the following exposition of the Latin doctrines, we shall follow St. Thomas Aquinas, whose treatment of the doctrine is now universally accepted by Catholic theologians. It should be observed, however, that this is not the only form in which the psychological theory has been proposed. Thus Richard of St. Victor, Alexander of Hales, and St. Bonaventure, while adhering in the main to Western tradition, were more influenced by Greek thought, and give us a system differing somewhat from that of St. Thomas.

A. The Son

Among the terms empIoyed in Scripture to designate the Second Person of the Blessed Trinity is the Word (John 1:1). This is understood by St. Thomas of the Verbum mentale, or intellectual concept. As applied to the Son, the name, he holds, signifies that He proceeds from the Father as the term of an intellectual procession, in a manner analogous to that in which a concept is generated by the human mind in all acts of natural knowledge. It is, indeed, of faith that the Son proceeds from the Father by a veritable generation. He is, says the Nicaeno-Constantinopolitan Creed, begotten before all worlds". But the Procession of a Divine Person as the term of the act by which God knows His own nature is rightly called generation. This may be readily shown. As an act of intellectual conception, it necessarily produces the likeness of the object known. And further, being Divine action, it is not an accidental act resulting in a term, itself a mere accident, but the act is the very substance of the Divinity, and the term is likewise substantial. A process tending necessarily to the production of a substantial term like in nature to the Person from Whom it proceeds is a process of generation. In regard to this view as to the procession of the Son, a difficulty was felt by St. Anselm (Monol., lxiv) on the score that it would seem to involve that each of the Three Persons must needs generate a subsistent Word. Since all the Powers possess the same mind, does it not follow, he asked, that in each case thought produces a similar term? This difficulty St. Thomas succeeds in removing. According to his psychology the formation of a concept is not essential to thought as such, though absolutely requisite to all natural human knowledge. There is, therefore, no ground in reason, apart from revelation, for holding that the Divine intellect produces a Verbum mentale. It is the testimony of Scripture alone which tells us that the Father has from all eternity begotten His consubstantial Word. But neither reason nor revelation suggests it in the case of the Second and Third Persons (I:34:1, ad 3).

Not a few writers of great weight hold that there is sufficient consensus among the Fathers and Scholastic theologians as to the meaning of the names Word and Wisdom (Proverbs 8), applied to the Son, for us to regard the intellectual procession of the Second Person as at least theologically certain, if not a revealed truth (cf. Suarez, "De Trin.", I, v, p. 4; Petav., VI, i, 7; Franzelin, "De Trin.", Thesis xxvi). This, however, seems to be an exaggeration. The immense majority of the Greek Fathers, as we have already noticed, interpret logos of the spoken word, and consider the significance of the name to lie not in any teaching as to intellectual procession, but in the fact that it implies a mode of generation devoid of all passion. Nor is the tradition as to the interpretation of Proverbs 8, in any sense unanimous. In view of these facts the opinion of those theologians seems the sounder who regard this explanation of the procession simply as a theological opinion of great probability and harmonizing well with revealed truth.

B. The Holy Spirit

Just as the Son proceeds as the term of the immanent act of the intellect, so does the Holy Spirit proceed as the term of the act of the Divine will. In human love, as St. Thomas teaches (I:27:3), even though the object be external to us, yet the immanent act of love arouses in the soul a state of ardour which is, as it were, an impression of the thing loved. In virtue of this the object of love is present to our affections, much as, by means of the concept, the object of thought is present to our intellect. This experience is the term of the internal act. The Holy Spirit, it is contended, proceeds from the Father and the Son as the term of the love by which God loves Himself. He is not the love of God in the sense of being Himself formally the love by which God loves; but in loving Himself God breathes forth this subsistent term. He is Hypostatic Love. Here, however, it is necessary to safeguard a point of revealed doctrine. It is of faith that the procession of the Holy Spirit is not generation. The Son is "the only begotten of the Father" (John 1:14). And the Athanasian Creed expressly lays it down that the Holy Ghost is "from the Father and the Son, neither made, nor created, nor begotten, but proceeding." If the immanent act of the intellect is rightly termed generation, on what grounds can that name be denied to the act of the will? The answers given in reply to this difficulty by St. Thomas, Richard of St. Victor, and Alexander of Hales are very different. It will be sufficient here to note St. Thomas's solution. Intellectual procession, he says, is of its very nature the production of a term in the likeness of the thing conceived. This is not so in regard to the act of the will. Here the primary result is simply to attract the subject to the object of his love. This difference in the acts explains why the name generation is applicable only to the act of the intellect. Generation is essentially the production of like by like. And no process which is not essentially of that character can claim the name.

The doctrine of the procession of the Holy Spirit by means of the act of the Divine will is due entirely to Augustine. It is nowhere found among the Greeks, who simply declare the procession of the Spirit to be beyond our comprehension, nor is it found in the Latins before his time. He mentions the opinion with favour in the "De fide et symbolo" (A.D. 393); and in the "De Trinitate" (A.D. 415) develops it at length. His teaching was accepted by the West. The Scholastics seek for Scriptural support for it in the name Holy Spirit. This must, they argue, be, like the names Father and Son, a name expressive of a relation within the Godhead proper to the Person who bears it. Now the attribute holy, as applied to person or thing, signifies that the being of which it is affirmed is devoted to God. It follows therefore that, when applied to a Divine Person as designating the relation uniting Him to the other Persons, it must signify that the procession determining His origin is one which of its nature involves devotion to God. But that by which any person is devoted to God is love. The argument is ingenious, but hardly convincing; and the same may be said of a somewhat similar piece of reasoning regarding the name Spirit (I:36:1). The Latin theory is a noble effort of the human reason to penetrate the verities which revelation has left veiled in mystery. It harmonizes, as we have said, with all the truths of faith. It is admirably adapted to assist us to a fuller comprehension of the fundamental doctrine of the Christian religion. But more than this must not be claimed. It does not possess the sanction of revelation.

C. The Divine Relations

The existence of relations in the Godhead may be immediately inferred from the doctrine of processions, and as such is a truth of Revelation. Where there is a real procession the principle and the term are really related. Hence, both the generation of the Son and the procession of the Holy Spirit must involve the existence of real and objective relations. This part of Trinitarian doctrine was familiar to the Greek Fathers. In answer to the Eunomian objection, that consubstantiality rendered any distinction between the Persons impossible, Gregory of Nyssa replies: "Though we hold that the nature [in the Three Persons] is not different, we do not deny the difference arising in regard of the source and that which proceeds from the source [ten katato aition kai to aitiaton diaphoran]; but in this alone do we admit that one Person differs from another" ("Quod non sunt tres dii"; cf. Gregory Nazianzen, "Or. theol.", V, ix; John Damascene, "F.O.", I, viii). Augustine insists that of the ten Aristotelean categories two, stance and relation, are found in God ("De Trin.", V, v). But it was at the hands the Scholastic theologians that the question received its full development. The results to which they led, though not to be reckoned as part of the dogma, were found to throw great light upon the mystery, and to be of vast service in the objections urged against it.

From the fact that there are two processions in Godhead, each involving both a principle and term, it follows that there must be four relations, two origination (paternitas and spiratio) and two of procession (filiatio and processio). These relations are what constitute the distinction between the Persons. They cannot be digtinguished by any absolute attribute, for every absolute attribute must belong to the infinite Divine Nature and this is common to the Three Persons. Whatever distinction there is must be in the relations alone. This conclusion is held as absolutely certain by all theologians. Equivalently contained in the words of St. Gregory of Nyssa, it was clearly enunciated by St. Anselm ("De process. Sp. S.", ii) and received ecclesiastical sanction in the "Decretum pro Jacobitis" in the form: "[In divinis] omnia sunt unum ubi non obviat relationis oppositio." Since this is so, it is manifest that the four relations suppose but Three Persons. For there is no relative opposition between spiration on the one hand and either paternity or filiation on the other. Hence the attribute of spiration is found in conjunction with each of these, and in virtue of it they are each distinguished from procession. As they share one and the same Divine Nature, so they possess the same virtus spirationis, and thus constitute a single originating principle of the Holy Spirit.

Inasmuch as the relations, and they alone, are distinct realities in the Godhead, it follows that the Divine Persons are none other than these relations. The Father is the Divine Paternity, the Son the Divine Filiation, the Holy Spirit the Divine Procession. Here it must be borne in mind that the relations are not mere accidental determinations as these abstract terms might suggest. Whatever is in God must needs be subsistent. He is the Supreme Substance, transcending the divisions of the Aristotelean categories. Hence, at one and the same time He is both substance and relation. (How it is that there should be in God real relations, though it is altogether impossible that quantity or quality should be found in Him, is a question involving a discussion regarding the metaphysics of relations, which would be out of place in an article such as the present.)

It will be seen that the doctrine of the Divine relations provides an answer to the objection that the dogma of the Trinity involves the falsity of the axiom that things which are identical with the same thing are identical one with another. We reply that the axiom is perfectly true in regard to absolute entities, to which alone it refers. But in the dogma of the Trinity when we affirm that the Father and Son are alike identical with the Divine Essence, we are affirming that the Supreme Infinite Substance is identical not with two absolute entities, but with each of two relations. These relations, in virtue of their nature as correlatives, are necessarily opposed the one to the other and therefore different. Again it is said that if there are Three Persons in the Godhead none can be infinite, for each must lack something which the others possess. We reply that a relation, viewed precisely as such, is not, like quantity or quality, an intrinsic perfection. When we affirm again it is relation of anything, we affirm that it regards something other than itself. The whole perfection of the Godhead is contained in the one infinite Divine Essence. The Father is that Essence as it eternally regards the Son and the Spirit; the Son is that Essence as it eternally regards the Father and the Spirit; the Holy Spirit is that Essence as it eternally regards the Father and the Son. But the eternal regard by which each of the Three Persons is constituted is not an addition to the infinite perfection of the Godhead.

The theory of relations also indicates the solution to the difficulty now most frequently proposed by anti-Trinitarians. It is urged that since there are Three Persons there must be three self-consciousnesses: but the Divine mind ex hypothesi is one, and therefore can possess but one self-consciousness; in other words, the dogma contains an irreconcilable contradiction. This whole objection rests on a petitio principii: for it takes for granted the identification of person and of mind with self-consciousness. This identification is rejected by Catholic philosophers as altogether misleading. Neither person nor mind is self-consciousness; though a person must needs possess self-consciousness, and consciousness attests the existence of mind (see PERSONALITY). Granted that in the infinite mind, in which the categories are transcended, there are three relations which are subsistent realities, distinguished one from another in virtue of their relative opposition then it will follow that the same mind will have a three-fold consciousness, knowing itself in three ways in accordance with its three modes of existence. It is impossible to establish that, in regard of the infinite mind, such a supposition involves a contradiction.

The question was raised by the Scholastics: In what sense are we to understand the Divine act of generation? As we conceive things, the relations of paternity and filiation are due to an act by which the Father generates the Son; the relations of spiration and procession, to an act by which Father and Son breathe forth the Holy Spirit. St. Thomas replies that the acts are identical with the relations of generation and spiration; only the mode of expression on our part is different (I:41:3, ad 2). This is due to the fact that the forms alike of our thought and our language are moulded upon the material world in which we live. In this world origination is in every case due to the effecting of a change. We call the effecting of the change action, and its reception passion. Thus, action and passion are different from the permanent relations consequent on them. But in the Godhead origination is eternal: it is not the result of change. Hence the term signifying action denotes not the production of the relation, but purely the relation of the Originator to the Originated. The terminology is unavoidable because the limitations of our experience force us to represent this relation as due to an act. Indeed throughout this whole subject we are hampered by the imperfection of human language as an instrument wherewith to express verities higher than the facts of the world. When, for instance, we say that the Son possesses filiation and spiration the terms seem to suggest that these are forms inherent in Him as in a subject. We know, indeed, that in the Divine Persons there can be no composition: they are absolutely simple. Yet we are forced to speak thus: for the one Personality, not withstanding its simplicity, is related to both the others, and by different relations. We cannot express this save by attributing to Him filiation and spiration (I:32:2).

D. Divine Mission

It has been seen that every action of God in regard of the created world proceeds from the Three Persons indifferently. In what sense, then, are we to understand such texts as "God sent . . . his Son into the world" (John 3:17), and "the Paraclete cometh, whom I will send you from the Father" (John 15:26)? What is meant by the mission of the Son and of the Holy Spirit? To this it is answered that mission supposes two conditions:

bulletThat the person sent should in some way proceed from the sender and
bulletthat the person sent should come to be at the place indicated.

The procession, however, may take place in various ways -- by command, or counsel, or even origination. Thus we say that a king sends a messenger, and that a tree sends forth buds. The second condition, too, is satisfied either if the person sent comes to be somewhere where previously he was not, or if, although he was already there, he comes to be there in a new manner. Though God the Son was already present in the world by reason of His Godhead, His Incarnation made Him present there in a new way. In virtue of this new presence and of His procession from the Father, He is rightly said to have been sent into the world. So, too, in regard to the mission of the Holy Spirit. The gift of grace renders the Blessed Trinity present to the soul in a new manner: that is, as the object of direct, though inchoative, knowledge and as the object of experimental love. By reason of this new mode of presence common to the whole Trinity, the Second and the Third Persons, inasmuch as each receives the Divine Nature by means of a procession, may be said to be sent into the soul.

The Catholic Encyclopedia, Volume XV
Copyright © 1912 by Robert Appleton Company
Nihil Obstat, October 1, 1912. Remy Lafort, S.T.D., Censor
Imprimatur. +John Cardinal Farley, Archbishop of New York

Courtesy of New Advent

 

Prayers in Honor of the Blessed Trinity

Ejaculations and Invocations

Gloria -Major Doxology

Act of Adoration and Thanksgiving

Omnipotence of the Father

Commemoration of the Holy Trinity Of Thy Tender Mercy
Act of Thanksgiving for Receiving the Sacrament of Baptism Gratiarum actio ad Trinitatem (Act of Thanksgiving to the Trinity)
Prayer to the Most Holy Trinity for a Happy Death Te Deum

Trisagium Angelicum (Angelic Trisagion)

Canticle of the Three Young Men

Ejaculations and Invocations

To the King of ages, immortal and invisible, the only God, be honor and glory for ever and ever. Amen.

From the Raccolta, #1

An Indulgence of 500 days, A plenary indulgence once a month on the usual conditions for the daily recitation of this prayer

Holy, Holy, Holy Lord of God of Hosts: the heavens and the earth are full of Thy glory.

From the Raccolta, #2

An Indulgence of 500 days, A plenary indulgence once a month on the usual conditions for the daily recitation of this prayer

With all our hearts and voice, we acknowledge, we praise and we bless Thee, God the Father unbegotten, Thee, the only-begotten Son, Thee, the Holy Ghost the Paraclete, O holy and undivided Trinity.

From the Raccolta, #3

An Indulgence of 500 days, A plenary indulgence once a month on the usual conditions for the daily recitation of this prayer

May the most just, the most high and the most lovable will of God be in all things done, praised and evermore exalted.

From the Raccolta, #4

An Indulgence of 500 days, A plenary indulgence once a month on the usual conditions for the daily recitation of this prayer

A plenary indulgence at the hour of death, to be gained by thoe who have recited it during life and who, after confession and Communion or at least an act of contrition, shall invoke the Name of Jesus, orally if possible, or at least in their hearts, and accept death from the hand of the Lord with resignation as being the wages of sin.

My God and my all

From the Raccolta, #5

An Indulgence of 300 days

My God, grant that I may love Thee, and let the only reward of my love be to love Thee more and more.

From the Raccolta, #6

An Indulgence of 300 days

My God, my only Good, Thou art all mine; may I be always Thine.

From the Raccolta, #7

An Indulgence of 300 days, A plenary indulgence once a month on the usual conditions for the daily recitation of this prayer

Blessed be the Name of the Lord!

From the Raccolta, #8

An Indulgence of 500 days, as often as this ejaculation is devoutly recited upon hearing blasphemies against God.

 

My God , I give Thee thanks for what Thou givest, and for what Thou takest away; Thy will be done.

 

From the Raccolta, #9

An Indulgence of 300 days

 

My God, make us to be of one mind in the truth and of one heart in charity.

 

From the Raccolta, #10

An Indulgence of 300 days

 

Teach me, O Lord, to do Thy will, for Thou art my God

 

From the Raccolta, #11

An Indulgence of 500 days, A plenary indulgence once a month on the usual conditions for the daily recitation of this prayer

 

a) O Most Holy Trinity, I adore Thee who art dwelling by Thy grace within my soul

b) O Most Holy Trinity, who art dwelling by Thy grace within my soul, make me love Thee more and more

c) O Most Holy Trinity, who art dwelling by Thy grace within my soul, sanctify me more and more

d) Abide with me, O Lord, be Thou my true joy.

 

From the Raccolta, #12

An Indulgence of 300 days for each of the above prayers even when recited seperately.

 

My God, pour forth Thy blessing and Thy mercies upon all persons and upon all souls in purgatory for whom, by reason of charity, gratitude and friendship, I am bound or desire to pray. Amen.

From the Raccolta, #13

An Indulgence of 300 days

O God, be merciful to me, the sinner

From the Raccolta, #14

An Indulgence of 500 days

O God, Thou art all powerful, make me a saint

From the Raccolta, #15

An Indulgence of 500 days

a) Holy God, Holy Strong One, Holy Immortal One, have mercy on us.

b) To Thee be praise, to Thee be glory, to Thee be thanksgiving through endless ages, O Blessed Trinity

From the Raccolta, #16

An Indulgence of 500 days, A plenary indulgence once a month on the usual conditions , if either ejaculation is recited daily with devotion for an entire month.

Blessing and glory and wisdom and thanksgiving, honor, might and power be unto our God for ever and ever. Amen.

From the Raccolta, #17

An Indulgence of 500 days, A plenary indulgence once a month on the usual conditions for the daily recitation of this prayer

Keep me, O lord , as the apple of Thine eye; beneath the shadow of Thy wings protect me

From the Raccolta, #18

An Indulgence of 500 days, A plenary indulgence once a month on the usual conditions for the daily recitation of this prayer

Into thy hands, O Lord,  I commend my spirit

From the Raccolta, #19

An Indulgence of 500 days, A plenary indulgence once a month on the usual conditions for the daily recitation of this prayer

O God, come unto my assistance: O Lord, Make haste to help me

From the Raccolta, #20

An Indulgence of 500 days, A plenary indulgence once a month on the usual conditions for the daily recitation of this prayer

Vouchsafe, O Lord, this day (or this night) to keep us without sin

From the Raccolta, #21

An Indulgence of 500 days, A plenary indulgence once a month on the usual conditions for the daily recitation of this prayer

Deliver me, O Lord, from mine enemies

From the Raccolta, #22

An Indulgence of 500 days, A plenary indulgence once a month on the usual conditions for the daily recitation of this prayer

O Lord, reward us not according to our sins which we have done, neither according to our iniquities

From the Raccolta, #22

An Indulgence of 500 days, A plenary indulgence once a month on the usual conditions for the daily recitation of this prayer

 

O Lord, remember not our former iniquities, and be merciful to our sins for Thy Name's sake

From the Raccolta, #23

An Indulgence of 500 days, A plenary indulgence once a month on the usual conditions for the daily recitation of this prayer

 

O Lord, remember not our former iniquities, and be merciful to our sins for Thy Name's sake

From the Raccolta, #24

An Indulgence of 500 days, A plenary indulgence once a month on the usual conditions for the daily recitation of this prayer

O Praise the Lord, all ye nations: praise Him, all ye peoples. For His mercy is confirmed upon us: and the truth of the Lord remaineth for ever.

From the Raccolta, #25

An Indulgence of 500 days, An indulgence of three years, if this prayer is said publicly A plenary indulgence once a month on the usual conditions for the daily recitation of this prayer

Holy Trinity, one God, have mercy on us.

From the Raccolta, #26

An Indulgence of 500 days, A plenary indulgence once a month on the usual conditions for the daily recitation of this prayer

 

From all sin deliver me, O Lord

 

From the Raccolta, #27

An Indulgence of 500 days, A plenary indulgence once a month on the usual conditions for the daily recitation of this prayer

 

Lord, i fear Thy justice, I implore Thy mercy; deliver me not to everlasting pains, grant that I may possess Thee in the midst of everlasting joys.

 

From the Raccolta, #28

An Indulgence of 300 days

 

All through Thee, with Thee, and in Thee, O my God!

 

From the Raccolta, #29

An Indulgence of 300 days

 

Most Holy Trinity, we adore Thee and through Mary we implore Thee. Give unto all mankind unity in the faith and courage faithfully to confess it

 

From the Raccolta, #30

An Indulgence of 300 days, A plenary indulgence once a month on the usual conditions for the daily recitation of this prayer

 

Lord, save us, we perish!

 

From the Raccolta, #31

An Indulgence of 500 days, A plenary indulgence once a month on the usual conditions for the daily recitation of this prayer

 

Thy will be done

 

From the Raccolta, #32

An Indulgence of 500 days, A plenary indulgence once a month on the usual conditions for the daily recitation of this prayer

 

O merciful Lord, Thou art never weary of speaking to my poor heart; grant me grace that, if today I hear Thy voice, my heart may not be hardened

 

From the Raccolta, #33

An Indulgence of 300 days

 

Lord , I am nothing, but, although nothing, I adore Thee

 

From the Raccolta, #34

An Indulgence of 300 days

 

Lord, I am my own enemy, when I seek my peace apart from Thee

 

From the Raccolta, #35

An Indulgence of 300 days

My God, I believe in Thee, I hope in Thee, I love Thee above all things with all my soul, with all my heart and with all my strength; I love thee because Thou art infinitely good and worthy of being loved; and because I love Thee, I repent with all my heart of having offended Thee; have mercy on me, a sinner. Amen.

From the Raccolta, #37

An Indulgence of 300 days

Lord, increase our faith

From the Raccolta, #38

An Indulgence of 500 days, A plenary indulgence once a month on the usual conditions for the daily recitation of this prayer

My God, I love Thee

From the Raccolta, #39

An Indulgence of 300 days

I believe in Thee, I hope in Thee, I love Thee, I adore Thee, O Blessed trinity, one God; have mercy on me now and at the hour of my death and save me.

From the Raccolta, #40

An Indulgence of 300 days

O my soul , love the Love that loves thee from eternity

From the Raccolta, #41

An Indulgence of 300 days

Almighty and everlasting God, give unto us an increase of faith, hope and charity; and, that we may deserve to obtain that which Thou dost promise, make us to love that which Thou dost command. through Christ our Lord. Amen.

From the Raccolta, #42

An Indulgence of 5 years, A plenary indulgence once a month on the usual conditions for the daily recitation of this prayer

Act of Adoration and Thanksgiving

(For the benefits which accrue to mankind from the Incarnation of the Son of God)

Most Holy Trinity, Father, Son and Holy Spirit, behold us prostrate in Thy divine presence.  We humble ourselves profoundly and beg of Thee the forgiveness of our sins.  We adore Thee, Almighty Father, and with hearts overflowing we thank Thee that Thou has given us Thy divine Son Jesus to be our Redeemer, and that He bequeathed Himself to us in the most august Eucharist even to the end of the world, revealing unto us the wondrous love of His Heart in this mystery of faith and love. 

(say one Glory Be to the Father, etc.)

O Word of God, dear Jesus our Redeemer, we adore Thee and with hearts overflowing we thank Thee for having taken human flesh upon Thee and become for our redemption both Priest and Victim in the sacrifice of the Cross, a sacrifice which, through the exceeding love of Thy Sacred Heart, Thou dost renew upon our altars every moment.  O High Priest, O divine Victim, give us the grace to honor Thy holy sacrifice in the most adorable Eucharist with the homage of Mary most holy and of all Thy Holy Church, triumphant, suffering and militant.  We offer ourselves wholly to Thee; of Thine infinite goodness and mercy do Thou accept our offering, unite it to Thine own and grant us Thy blessings. 

(Say one Glory Be to the Father, etc.)

O Divine Spirit the Paraclete, we adore Thee and with hearts overflowing we give Thee thanks that Thou hast, with such great love for us, wrought the ineffable blessings of the Incarnation of the Word of God, a blessing which is being continually extended and enlarged in the most august Sacrament of the Eucharist.  Ah, by this adorable mystery of love of the Sacred Heart of Jesus, do Thou grant unto us and all poor sinners Thy holy grace.  Pour forth Thy holy gifts upon us and upon all redeemed souls, and in an especial manner upon the visible head of the Church, the supreme Roman Pontiff, upon all Cardinals, Bishops and Pastors of souls, upon Priests and all other ministers of Thy sanctuary.  Amen. 

(Glory Be to the Father, etc.)

An indulgence of 3 years (S. C. Ind., Mar. 22, 1905; S. P. Ap., Dec. 9, 1932).  Raccolta No. 45

Commemoration of the Holy Trinity

Laudes Morning Prayer
BENEDICTA sit * sancta Creatrix et Gubernatrix omnium, sancta et individua Trinitas, nunc, semper, et per infinita saecula saeculorum. BLESSED be * the holy Creator and Ruler of all things, O holy and undivided Trinity, now, always, and throughout all the ages.
Vesperas Evening Prayer
TE DEUM * Patrem ingenitum, te Filium unigenitum, te Spiritum Sanctum Paraclitum, sanctam et individuam Trinitatem, toto corde et ore confitemur, laudamus, atque benedicimus: tibi gloria in saecula. O GOD, * unbegotten Father, only-begotten Son, Holy Spirit and Comforter, holy and undivided Trinity, with our whole heart and lips we confess Thee, we praise Thee, and we bless Thee. To Thee be glory forever.
V. Benedicamus Patrem et Filium cum Sancto Spiritu. V. Let us bless the Father and the Son with the Holy Spirit.
R. Laudemus et superexaltemus eum in saecula. R. Let us praise Him and exalt Him above all forever.
OMNIPOTENS sempiterne Deus, qui dedisti famulis tuis in confessione verae fidei, aeternae Trinitatis gloriam agnoscere, et in potentia maiestatis adorare Unitatem: quaesumus, ut eiusdem fidei firmitate ab omnibus semper muniamur adversis. Per Christum Dominum nostrum. Amen. ALMIGHTY and everlasting God, who hast given unto us Thy servants, by the profession of the true faith, to acknowledge the glory of the eternal Trinity, and, in the power of Thy divine Majesty, to worship the Unity; we beseech Thee, that by our steadfastness in this same faith, we may evermore be defended from all adversities. Through Christ our Lord. Amen.

Act of Thanksgiving for Receiving the Sacrament of Baptism

O MOST HOLY Trinity: Father, Son, and Holy Spirit, I thank Thee from the deep in my heart that Thou willed me to be born of Christian parents and led to the grace of holy Baptism. See that I again pledge and profess those things which my godparents pledged and professed in my name at the sacred font. I renounce, therefore, Satan and all his works and all his pomps. I believe in Thee God, the Father Almighty, creator of heaven and earth; I believe in Thee, Jesus Christ, the only Son of God, our Lord; I believe in Thee, Holy Spirit, Lord and giver of life. I believe in one holy catholic Church, the communion of saints, the remission of sins, the resurrection of the body and eternal life. Strengthen now, o Blessed Trinity, that which Thou hast worked in me in sacred Baptism, that through this Sacrament of divine nature I may flee from the corruption of cupidity and pursue the reward of eternal incorruption. Thou who livest and reignest forever. Amen

Prayer to the Most Holy Trinity for a Happy Death

PATER aeterne! rogo te per vitam et mortem acerbissimam dilectissimi Filii tui, per infinitam bonitatem tuam: concede mihi propitius, ut gratia tua semper vivam et moriar. ETERNAL Father, I ask Thee by the life and bitter death of the most beloved Son and by Thy infinite goodness, mercifully grant that I may always live and die in Thy grace.
Benignissime Iesu! rogo te per amorem Patris tui, quo te semper amplexus est, per ultima verba, quibus in cruce pendens Patri spiritum tuum commendasti, suscipe spiritum meum in vitae meae fine. O most kind Jesus, I ask Thee by Thy love of Thy Father, who always embraced Thee, and by Thy last word which Thou hanging on the Cross didst commend Thy spirit to the Father, receive my spirit at my life's end.
Sancte Spiritus! perfectam caritatem in me accende et in illa spiritum meum conforta, dum ex hac vita emigrem. Holy Spirit, enkindle perfect charity in me and strengthen my spirit with it until I leave this life.
Sanctissima Trinitas, unus Deus, miserere mei nunc et in hora mortis meae. Amen. O most holy Trinity, one God, have mercy on me now and in the hour of my death. Amen.

Trisagium Angelicum

This hymn of devotion to the Blessed Trinity is the official prayer of the Order of the Blessed Trinity, otherwise known as the Trinitarians. This devotion has been recited by them and their affiliates for centuries in praise of the Trinity.
IN nomine Patris et Filii et Spiritus Sancti. Amen. IN the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit. Amen.
V. Domine, labia mea aperies. V. Lord, open my lips.
R. Et os meum annuntiabit laudem tuam. R. And my mouth shall declare Thy praise.
V. Deus in adiutorium meum intende. V. O God, come to my assistance.
R. Domine, ad adiuvandum me festina. R. O Lord, make haste to help me.
V. Gloria Patri et Filio et Spiritui Sancto, V. Glory be to the Father, and to the Son, and to the Holy Spirit,
R. Sicut erat in principio, et nunc, et semper, et in saecula saeculorum. Amen. R. As it was in the beginning, is now and will be forever. Amen.
The decade below is recited three times, once for each member of the Trinity. The decade below is recited three times, once for each member of the Trinity.
All: Sanctus Deus, Sanctus fortis, Sanctus immortalis, miserere nobis. All: Holy God, Holy Strong One, Holy Immortal One, have mercy upon us.
V. Pater noster, qui es in caelis, sanctificetur nomen tuum. Adveniat regnum tuum. Fiat voluntas tua, sicut in caelo et in terra. Panem nostrum quotidianum da nobis hodie, et dimitte nobis debita nostra sicut et nos dimittimus debitoribus nostris. Et ne nos inducas in tentationem, sed libera nos a malo. Amen. V. Our Father, Who art in heaven, hallowed be Thy name. Thy kingdom come. Thy will be done, on earth as it is in heaven. Give us this day our daily bread and forgive us our trespasses as we forgive those who trespass against us. And lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil. Amen.
The following part of the decade is repeated nine times The following part of the decade is repeated nine times
V. Tibi laus, Tibi gloria, Tibi gratiarum actio in saecula sempiterna, O Beata Trinitas. V. To Thee, O Blessed Trinity, be praise, and glory, and thanksgiving, for ever and ever!
R. Sanctus, Sanctus, Sanctus Dominus Deus exercituum. Pleni sunt caeli et terra gloria tua. R. Holy, holy, holy Lord, God of hosts. Heaven and earth are filled with Thy glory.
V. Gloria Patri et Filio et Spiritui Sancto, V. Glory be to the Father, and to the Son, and to the Holy Spirit,
R. Sicut erat in principio, et nunc, et semper, et in saecula saeculorum. Amen. R. As it was in the beginning, is now and will be forever. Amen.
End of Decade End of Decade
Te Deum Patrem ingenitum, te Filium unigenitum, te Spiritum Sanctum Paraclitum, sanctam et individuam Trinitatem, toto corde et ore confitemur, laudamus, atque benedicimus: Tibi gloria in saecula. God the Father unbegotten, only-begotten Son, and Holy Spirit, the Comforter; holy and undivided Trinity, with all our heart and voice we acknowledge Thee, we praise Thee, and we bless Thee: Glory to Thee forever.
V. Benedicamus Patrem, et Filium cum Sancto Spiritu. V. Let us bless the Father, and the Son with the Holy Spirit.
R. Laudemus et superexaltemus eum in saecula. R. Be praised and exalted above all things forever.
Oremus. Let us pray,
Omnipotens sempiterne Deus, qui dedisti famulis tuis in confessione verae fidei, aeternae Trinitatis gloriam agnoscere, et in potentia maiestatis adorare Unitatem: quaesumus, ut eiusdem fidei firmitate, ab omnibus semper muniamur adversis. Per Christum Dominum nostrum. Almighty, ever-living God, who has permitted us Thy servants, in our profession of the true faith, to acknowledge the glory of the eternal Trinity, and in the power of that majesty to adore the Unity, grant, that by steadfastness in this same faith, we may be ever guarded against all adversity: through Christ our Lord.
All: Amen. All: Amen
All: Libera nos, salva nos, vivifica nos, O Beata Trinitas! All: Set us free, save us, vivify us, O Blessed Trinity!

Canticle of the Three Young Men

Benedicite Dominum, or the Canticle of the Three Young Men is taken from the Old Testament book of Daniel (Dan. 3, 57-88; 56). It is used at Lauds for Sundays and feast days.
BENEDICITE, omnia opera Domini, Domino; laudate et superexaltate eum in saecula. BLESS the Lord, all ye works of the Lord, praise and exalt Him above all forever.
BENEDICITE, caeli, Domino, benedicite, angeli Domini, Domino. BLESS the Lord all ye heavens; bless the Lord all ye angels of the Lord.
BENEDICITE, aquae omnes, quae super caelos sunt, Domino, benedicat omnis virtutis Domino. BLESS the Lord all ye waters that are above the heavens; let all powers bless the Lord.
BENEDICITE, sol et luna, Domino, benedicite, stellae caeli, Domino. BLESS the Lord, ye sun and moon; stars of heaven, bless the Lord.
BENEDICITE, omnis imber et ros, Domino, benedicite, omnes venti, Domino. BLESS the Lord, every shower and dew. All ye winds, bless the Lord.
BENEDICITE, ignis et aestus, Domino, benedicite, frigus et aestus, Domino. BLESS the Lord, ye fire and heat; cold and chill, bless ye the Lord.
BENEDICITE, rores et pruina, Domino, benedicite, gelu et frigus, Domino. BLESS the Lord, dews and hoar frosts; frost and cold, bless the Lord.
BENEDICITE, glacies et nives, Domino, benedicite, noctes et dies, Domino. BLESS the Lord, ice and snow; nights and days, bless the Lord.
BENEDICITE, lux et tenebrae, Domino, benedicite, fulgura et nubes, Domino. BLESS the Lord, light and darkness; lightning and clouds, bless the Lord.
BENEDICAT terra Dominum: laudet et superexaltet eum in saecula. LET the earth bless the Lord; let it praise and exalt Him above all forever.
BENEDICITE, montes et colles, Domino, benedicite, universa germinantia in terra, Domino. BLESS the Lord, ye mountains and hills; everything growing from the earth, bless the Lord.
BENEDICITE, maria et flumina, Domino, benedicite, fontes, Domino. BLESS the Lord, seas and rivers; fountains, bless the Lord.
BENEDICITE, cete, et omnia, quae moventur in aquis, Domino, benedicite, omnes volucres caeli, Domino. BLESS the Lord, ye whales and all that move in the waters; all you fowls of the air, bless the Lord.
BENEDICITE, omnes bestiae et pecora, Domino, benedicite, filii hominum, Domino. BLESS the Lord, all ye beasts and cattle; sons of men, bless the Lord.
BENEDICITE, Israel, Domino, laudate et superexaltate eum in saecula. BLESS the Lord, Israel,; praise and exalt Him above all for ever.
BENEDICITE, sacerdotes Domini, Domino, benedicite, servi Domini, Domino. BLESS the Lord, priests of the Lord, servants of the Lord, bless the Lord.
BENEDICITE, spiritus et animae iustorum, Domino, benedicite, sancti et humiles corde, Domino. BLESS the Lord, spirits and souls of the just; holy men of humble heart, bless the Lord.
BENEDICITE, Anania, Azaria, Misael, Domino, laudate et superexaltate eum in saecula. BLESS the Lord, Ananias, Azaria, and Misael; praise and exalt Him above all for ever.
BENEDICAMUS Patrem et Filium cum Sancto Spiritu; laudemus et superexaltemus eum in saecula. LET us bless the Father and the Son, with the Holy Spirit; let us praise and exalt Him above all for ever.
BENEDICTUS es in firmamento caeli et laudabilis et gloriosus in saecula.
Amen.
BLESSED art Thou, Lord, in the firmament of heaven; and worthy of praise, and glorious above all for ever.
Amen.

Gratiarum actio ad Trinitatem
Act of Thanksgiving to the Trinity

This prayer was written by St. Catherine of Siena (1347-1380), Doctor of the Church. The prayer is from her Dialogue on Divine Providence and appears in the Office of the Readings on her feast day, April 29.

O Deitas aeterna, o aeterna Trinitas, quae per unionem divinae naturae fecisti tantum valere pretium sanguinis unigeniti Filii tui! Tu, Trinitas aeterna, es quoddam mare profundum, in quo quanto plus quaero, plus invenio; et quanto plus invenio, plus quaero te. Tu quodammodo instabiliter animam satias; quoniam in abysso tua ita satias animam, quod semper remaneat esuriens atque famelica, te, Trinitas aeterna, peroptans desideransque te videre lumen in lumine tuo. O Eternal God! O Eternal Trinity! Through the union of Thy divine nature Thou hast made so precious the Blood of Thy only-begotten Son! O eternal Trinity, Thou art as deep a mystery as the sea, in whom the more I seek, the more I find; and the more I find, the more I seek. For even immersed in the depths of Thee, my soul is never satisfied, always famished and hungering for Thee, eternal Trinity, wishing and desiring to see Thee, the True Light.
GUSTAVI et vidi cum lumine intellectus, in lumine tuo abyssum tuam, aeterna Trinitas, atque pulchritudinem creatura tuae: propter quod intuendo meipsam in te, vidi me fore tuam imaginem: donante videlicet mihi te, Pater aeterne, de potentia tua et de sapientia tua, quae sapientia Unigenito tuo est appropriata. Spiritus vero Sanctus, qui procedit a te Patre et Filio tuo, dedit mihi voluntatem, per quam me facit aptam ad amandum. O eternal Trinity, with the light of understanding I have tasted and seen the depths of Thy mystery and the beauty of Thy creation. In seeing myself in Thee, I have seen that I will become like Thee. O eternal Father, from Thy power and Thy wisdom clearly Thou hast given to me a share of that wisdom which belongs to Thine Only-begotten Son. And truly hast the Holy Spirit, who procedeth from Thee, Father and Son, given to me the desire to love Thee.
NAM tu, Trinitas aeterna, factor es, et ego factura: unde cognovi, te illuminante, in recreatione quam me fecisti per sanguinem unigeniti Filii tui, quod amore captus es de pulchritudine facturae tuae. O eternal Trinity, Thou art my maker and I am Thy creation. Illuminated by Thee, I have learned that Thou hast made me a new creation through the Blood of Thy Only-begotten Son because Thou art captivated by love at the beauty of Thy creation.
O abyssus, o Trinitas aeterna, O Deitas, o mare profundum: et quid maius mihi dare poteras quam teipsum? Tu es ignis qui semper ardes et non consumeris; tu es qui consumis calore tuo quemcumque proprium amorem animae. Tu es iterum ignis qui tollis omnem frigiditatem, et illuminas mentes lumine tuo, quo lumine fecisti me cognoscere veritatem tuam. O eternal Trinity, O Divinity, O unfathomable abyss, O deepest sea, what greater gift could Thou givest me then Thy very Self? Thou art a fire that burns eternally yet never consumed, a fire that consumes with Thy heat my self-love. Again and again Thou art the fire who taketh away all cold heartedness and illuminateth the mind by Thy light, the light with which Thou hast made me to know Thy truth.
IN huius luminis speculo cognosco te summum bonum, bonum super omne bonum, bonum felix, bonum incomprehensibile, bonum inaestimabile, pulchritudinem super omnem pulchritudinem, sapientiam super omnem sapientiam: quia tu es ipsa sapientia, tu cibus angelorum qui igne caritatis te dedisti hominibus. BY this mirrored light I know Thou are the highest good, a good above all good, a fortunate good, an incomprehensible good, an unmeasurable good, a beauty above all beauty, a wisdom above all wisdom, for Thou art wisdom itself, the the food of angels, the fire of love that Thou givest to man.
TU vestimentum cooperiens nuditatem meam, pascis nos famelicos tua dulcedine, qua dulcis es absque ulla amaritudine. O Trinitas aeterna! THOU art the garment covering our nakedness. Thou feedest our family with Thy sweetness, a sweetness Thou art from which there is no trace of bitterness. O Eternal Trinity!

Gloria
Major Doxology

The Gloria is an ancient hymn of praise to the Trinity that has been in use in the Church since the second century. The opening line of the hymn is taken from Scripture (Lk 2:14), where the angels announce the birth of Christ to the shepherds. The hymn was composed in Greek some time in the second century and can be found recommended as a daily morning prayer in book VII of the Apostolic Constitutions (3rd/4th century). It was introduced to the west by St. Hilary of Poitiers (d 368), who was the first to introduce hymns into the Western Church.

St Hillary was an uncompromising foe of Arianism, a heresy which denied the divinity of Christ and was condemned at the Council of Nicea in 325. St. Hilary's opposition to Arianism earned himself the title of "Malleus Arianorum", the Hammer of the Arians, along with the ire of the Arian Emperor Constantius, who exiled him to Phrygia in 356. While St. Hilary was in Phrygia, he was exposed to the hymns in use amongst the eastern Christians of the time. Upon his return home he began to introduce hymns into the western liturgy, borrowing the Gloria from the east, as well as composing some of his own. The Latin translation of the Gloria below, which has been used since the late 4th century, is likely his. The hymn has been an integral part of the Mass of the western Rites since the 5th century.

GLORIA in excelsis Deo et in terra pax hominibus bonae voluntatis. GLORY to God in the highest, and peace on earth to men of good will.
LAUDAMUS te, benedicimus te, adoramus te, glorificamus te, gratias agimus tibi propter magnam gloriam tuam, Domine Deus, Rex caelestis, Deus Pater omnipotens. WE praise Thee, we bless Thee, we adore Thee, we glorify Thee, we give Thee thanks for Thy great glory, O Lord God, heavenly King, God the Father Almighty.
DOMINE Fili unigenite, Iesu Christe, Domine Deus, Agnus Dei, Filius Patris, qui tollis peccata mundi, miserere nobis; qui tollis peccata mundi, suscipe deprecationem nostram. Qui sedes ad dexteram Patris, miserere nobis. O Lord Jesus Christ, only begotten Son, Lord God, Lamb of God, Son of the Father, Thou who takest away the sins of the world, have mercy on us; Thou who takest away the sins of the world, receive our prayer. Thou who sittest at the right hand of the Father, have mercy on us.
QUONIAM tu solus Sanctus, tu solus Dominus, tu solus Altissimus, Iesu Christe, cum Sancto Spiritu in gloria Dei Patris. Amen. FOR Thou alone art the Holy One, Thou alone art the Lord, Thou alone art the Most High, Jesus Christ, with the Holy Spirit, in the glory of God the Father. Amen.

Omnipotence of the Father

OMNIPOTENCE of the Father, help my frailty and save me from the depths of misery. Wisdom of the Son, direct all my thoughts, words, and deeds. Love of the Holy Spirit, be Thou the source of all the operations of my mind, that they may ever be conformed to God's good pleasure. Amen.

Raccolta, #53; S. C. Ind. March 15, 1890; S. P. Ap., Sept. 12, 1936.

An Indulgence of 500 days

Of Thy Tender Mercy

OF Thy tender mercy, we beseech Thee, O Lord, loose the bonds of our sins, and through the intercession of Mary, the blessed and ever-Virgin Mother of God, together with that of Saint Joseph and Thy blessed Apostles Peter and Paul, and of all Thy Saints, keep us Thy servants and our dwelling places in all holiness; cleanse from sin and endow with virtue all those who are joined to us by kindred, affinity and friendship; grant unto us peace and safety; remove far from us our enemies, both visible and invisible; repress all our carnal desires; grant us wholesome air; bestow Thy charity upon our friends and enemies; guard Thy city; preserve our Pontiff N.; defend all prelates and princes and Thine entire Christian people from every adversity. Let Thy blessing be evermore upon us, and do Thou grant unto all the faithful departed rest ever-lasting. Amen.

From Raccolta #50, Leo XII, Rescript in his own hand, July 9, 1828; S. P. Ap. Dec. 9, 1932

An Indulgence of 3 years, A plenary indulgence once a month on the usual conditions for the daily recitation of this prayer

Te Deum

Te Deum, also sometimes called the Ambrosian Hymn because if its association with St. Ambrose, is a traditional hymn of joy and thanksgiving. First attributed to Sts. Ambrose, Augustine, or Hilary, it is now accredited to Nicetas, Bishop of Remesiana (4th century). It is used at the conclusion of the Office of the Readings for the Liturgy of the Hours on Sundays outside Lent, daily during the Octaves of Christmas and Easter, and on Solemnities and Feast Days. The petitions at the end were added at a later time and are optional. A partial indulgence is granted to the faithful who recite it in thanksgiving and a plenary indulgence is granted if the hymn is recited publicly on the last day of the year.
TE DEUM laudamus: te Dominum confitemur. O GOD, we praise Thee: we acknowledge Thee to be the Lord.
Te aeternum Patrem omnis terra veneratur. Everlasting Father, all the earth doth worship Thee.
Tibi omnes Angeli; tibi Caeli et universae Potestates; To Thee all the Angels, the Heavens and all the Powers,
Tibi Cherubim et Seraphim incessabili voce proclamant: all the Cherubim and Seraphim, unceasingly proclaim:
Sanctus, Sanctus, Sanctus, Dominus Deus Sabaoth. Holy, Holy, Holy, Lord God of Hosts!
Pleni sunt caeli et terra maiestatis gloriae tuae. Heaven and earth are full of the Majesty of Thy glory.
Te gloriosus Apostolorum chorus, The glorious choir of the Apostles,
Te Prophetarum laudabilis numerus, the wonderful company of Prophets,
Te Martyrum candidatus laudat exercitus. the white-robed army of Martyrs, praise Thee.
Te per orbem terrarum sancta confitetur Ecclesia, Holy Church throughout the world doth acknowledge Thee:
Patrem immensae maiestatis: the Father of infinite Majesty;
Venerandum tuum verum et unicum Filium; Thy adorable, true and only Son;
Sanctum quoque Paraclitum Spiritum. and the Holy Spirit, the Comforter.
Tu Rex gloriae, Christe. O Christ, Thou art the King of glory!
Tu Patris sempiternus es Filius. Thou art the everlasting Son of the Father.
Tu ad liberandum suscepturus hominem, non horruisti Virginis uterum. Thou, having taken it upon Thyself to deliver man, didst not disdain the Virgin's womb.
Tu, devicto mortis aculeo, aperuisti credentibus regna caelorum. Thou overcame the sting of death and hast opened to believers the Kingdom of Heaven.
Tu ad dexteram Dei sedes, in gloria Patris. Thou sitest at the right hand of God, in the glory of the Father.
Iudex crederis esse venturus. We believe that Thou shalt come to be our Judge.
Te ergo quaesumus, tuis famulis subveni: quos pretioso sanguine redemisti. We beseech Thee, therefore, to help Thy servants whom Thou hast redeemed with Thy Precious Blood.
Aeterna fac cum sanctis tuis in gloria numerari. Make them to be numbered with Thy Saints in everlasting glory.
V. Salvum fac populum tuum, Domine, et benedic hereditati tuae. V. Save Thy people, O Lord, and bless Thine inheritance!
R. Et rege eos, et extolle illos usque in aeternum. R. Govern them, and raise them up forever.
V. Per singulos dies benedicimus te. V. Every day we thank Thee.
R. Et laudamus nomen tuum in saeculum, et in saeculum saeculi. R. And we praise Thy Name forever, yea, forever and ever.
V. Dignare, Domine, die isto sine peccato nos custodire. V. O Lord, deign to keep us from sin this day.
R. Miserere nostri, Domine, miserere nostri. R. Have mercy on us, O Lord, have mercy on us.
V. Fiat misericordia tua, Domine, super nos, quemadmodum speravimus in te. V. Let Thy mercy, O Lord, be upon us, for we have hoped in Thee.
R. In te, Domine, speravi: non confundar in aeternum. R. O Lord, in Thee I have hoped; let me never be put to shame.

 

 

God the Father

First Person of the Holy Trinity

 

File:The Creation of Adam.jpg

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Father or God the Father, the First Person of the Blessed Trinity. He is truly Father as He begets a coeternal and coequal Son, to whom He imparts the plentitude of His Nature and in Whom He contemplates His own perfect image. By nature God is Our Creator and Lord, and we are His creatures and subjects. By sin we are His enemies and deserve His chastisements. By grace, however, He lovingly pardons us, adopts us as sons and daughters, and destines us to share in the life and beatitude of His only begotten Son, Jesus Christ, . Thus by Divine adoption God is Our Father and we are His children. This adoption is effected through sanctifying grace, a Divine quality or supernatural habit infused into the soul of God, which blossom into the vision of glory in life eternal.- Pohle-Preuss, The Divine Trinity, St. L., 1922; Marmion, Christ the Life of the Soul, St. L., 1923

 

Prayers to God the Father

O Pater misericordiarum (O Father of Mercies)

O God, Who in the Glorious Transfiguration

My God, I Believe in Thee Let us Turn Towards the Lord God

O Omnium Domine (O Lord of All)

Eternal father, I offer thee

Domine sancte, Pater omnipotens (O Holy Lord, Father Almighty)

Perenne Lumen in Templo Aeterni (Perpetual Light in the Eternal Temple)

Prayer of St. Clement I

Eternal Father, I Offer unto Thee the infinite satisfaction

O Pater misericordiarum
O Father of Mercies

O PATER misericordiarum, fons omnis boni, te supplex exoro per sacratissimum tuique amantissimum Cor Iesu dilectissimi Filii tui, Domini et Redemptoris nostri, in quo tibi semper bene complaces, dignare concedere mihi gratiam vivae fidei, firmae spei et ardentis caritatis erga te et proximum meum: insuper gratiam vere dolendi de omnibus peccatis meis una cum firmissimo proposito te in posterum numquam offendendi; ut secundum divinum beneplacitum tuum semper vivere, voluntatem tuam sanctissimam corde magno et animo volenti in omnibus adimplere, et in amore tuo usque ad finem vitae meae perseverare valeam. Amen. O FATHER of mercies, from whom cometh all that is good, I offer my humble petitions unto Thee through the Most Sacred Heart of Jesus, Thy dearly beloved Son, our Lord and Redeemer, in whom Thou art always well pleased and who loves Thee so much. Grant me the grace of a lively faith, a firm hope and an ardent charity toward Thee and toward my neighbor. Grant me also the grace to be truly penitent for all my sins together with a firm purpose of never offending Thee again; so that I may be enabled to live always according to Thy divine good-pleasure, to do Thy most holy will in all things with a generous and willing heart, and to persevere in Thy love even to the end of my life. Amen

 

From the Raccolta #65 (S. C. Ind. April 21, 1818; S. P. Ap., March 23, 1936).

An indulgence of 3 years

Domine sancte, Pater omnipotens
O Holy Lord, Father Almighty

The text of this prayer appears in the Stimulus Divini Amoris. In the past this work has been attributed to St. Bonaventure (1218-1274) and to Henri of Beaume (d. 1439), but it is actually the work of Jacobus Mediolanensis (13th/14th century).
DOMINE sancte, Pater omnipotens, aeterne Deus, propter tuam largitatem et Filii tui, qui pro me sustinuit passionem et mortem, et Matris eius excellentissimam sanctitatem, atque omnium Sanctorum merita, concede mihi peccatori, et omni tuo beneficio indigno, ut te solum diligam, tuum amorem semper sitiam, beneficium passionis continuo in corde habeam, meam miseriam recognoscam, et ab omnibus conculcari et contemni cupiam; nihil me contristet nisi culpa. Amen.

O HOLY Lord, Father Almighty, everlasting God, for the sake of Thy bounty and that of Thy Son, who for me endured suffering and death; for the sake of the most excellent holiness of His Mother and the merits of all the Saints, grant unto me a sinner, unworthy of all Thy blessings, that I may love Thee only, may ever thirst for Thy love, may have continually in my heart the benefits of Thy passion, may acknowledge my own wretchedness and may desire to be trampled upon and be despised by all men; let nothing grieve me save guilt. Amen.

 

From the Raccolta #66; Pius IX, Rescript in his own hand, April 11, 1874; S. P. Ap., Dec 13, 1932.

An Indulgence of 3 years, A plenary indulgence once a month on the usual conditions for the daily recitation of this prayer

O God, Who in the Glorious Transfiguration

O GOD, who in the glorious Transfiguration of Thine only-begotten Son didst confirm the mysteries of faith by the witness of the Fathers, and in wondrous wise didst fore-token the perfect adoption of sons by the voice descending from the shining cloud; mercifully grant unto us to be made coheirs with the very King of glory and bestow upon us a partaking of His glory. Through the same Christ our Lord. Amen.

From the Raccolta, #67; S.C. Ind., Dec 14, 1889; S. P. Ap., March 26, 1936

An Indulgence of 5 years, A plenary indulgence once a month on the usual conditions for the daily recitation of this prayer

 

Eternal father, I offer thee

 

Eternal father, I offer thee the sacrifice wherein thy dear son Jesus offered Himself upon the Cross and which He now renews upon the altar, to adore Thee and to render to Thee that honor which is Thy due, acknowledging Thy supreme dominion over all things and their absolute dependence on Thee, for Thou art our first beginning and our last end; to give Thee thanks for countless benefits received; to appease Thy justice provoked to anger by so many sins, and to offer Thee worthy satisfaction for the same; and finally to implore Thy grace and mercy for myself, for all those who are in tribulation and distress, for all poor sinners, for the whole world and for the blessed souls in purgatory

 

From the Raccolta, #68

An Indulgence of 3 years for devoutly making this act of oblation at the beginning of  Mass, A plenary indulgence , if this act of devotion is performed on every holy day of obligation for one month, even if it is said at a Mass of obligation, provided one has gone to confession, received Holy Communion, and prayed according to the intention of the Sovereign Pontiff.

Eternal Father, I Offer unto Thee the infinite satisfaction

Written by Saint Margaret Alacoque

Eternal Father, I Offer unto Thee the infinite satisfaction which Jesus rendered to Thy justice in behalf of sinners upon the tree of the Cross; and I pray  that Tghou wouldst make the merits of His Precious Blood available to all guilty souls to whom sin has brought death; may they rise again to the life of grace and glorify Thee for ever.

Eternal Father, I offer Thee the fervent devotion of the Sacred Heart of Jesus in satisfaction for the lukewarmness and cowardice of Thy chosen people, imploring Thee by the burning love which made Him suffer death, that it may please Thee to rekindle their hearts now so lukewarm in Thy service, and to set them on fire with Thy love, that they may love Thee for ever.

Eternal Father, I offer Thee the submission of Jesus to Thy will, and I ask of Thee, through His merits, the fullness of all grace and the accomplishments of all grace and the accomplishments of all Thy holy will. Blessed be God!

From the Raccolta, #68

An Indulgence of 3 years, A plenary indulgence once a month on the usual conditions for the daily recitation of this prayer

Let us Turn Towards the Lord God

Written by St. Augustine (354-430) to conclude several of his sermons. This one is found in his Sermo CLXXXIII

LET us turn towards the Lord God and Father Almighty, and with a pure heart let us give Him sincere thanks as well as our littleness will allow: Let us with our whole hearts beseech His extraordinary clemency, that He may vouchsafe to hear our prayers according to His good pleasure. May He by His power drive our enemies far from us, lest we fall under the sway of the evil one in act or thought. May He increase our faith, rule our mind, give us spiritual thoughts, and at last lead us to His blessedness, through Jesus Christ His Son. Amen

As quoted from P. L., xxxviii, c. 994. by Liturgical Prayer, Its History & Spirit, Fernand Cabrol, OSB, P.J. Kenedy & Sons. 1921

My God, I Believe in Thee

MY GOD, I believe in Thee, hope in Thee, and love Thee above all things with all my soul, with all my heart and with all my strength; I love Thee because Thou art infinitely good and worthy of being loved; and because I love Thee, I repent with all my heart of having offended Thee. Have mercy on me, a sinner. Amen.

From the Raccolta, # 37; S.C. Ind. Nov. 21, 1885; S. P. Ap., March 23, 1936.

An Indulgence of 300 days

 

O Omnium Domine
O Lord of All

By St. Gregory Nazianzen (329-389), Bishop and Doctor of the Church

O OMNIUM Domine et effector ac praecipue huius figmenti! O LORD and Creator of all, and especially of this Thy creature!
O Deus tuorum hominum et Pater ac gubernator! O God and Father and Ruler of Thy people!
O vitae et mortis arbiter! O Arbiter of life and death!
O nostrarum animarum custos et benefactor! O Guardian and Benefactor of our souls!
O QUI omnia facis, et tempestive, atque, ut ipse pro sapientiae tuae et administrationis altitudine nosti, artifice Verbo transmutas, nunc quidem Caesarium, discessus nostri primitias, quaeso, suscipe. O THOU who makest all, and in due season transformest all by the power of Thy Word according to Thy wisdom and deep designs, receive now, I beg Thee, those who have gone before us.
NOS vero quoque opportuno tempore suscipe, tamdiu in carne vitam nostram moderatus, quamdiu conducibile fuerit; et quidem suscipe ob metum tuum paratos et non turbatos, neque in extremo die terga vertentes atque invito animo, quemadmodum solent qui mundo et carni addicti sunt, hinc abstractos et avulsos, sed prompte et alacriter ad beatam illam et longaevam vitam proficiscentes, quae est in Christo Iesu Domino nostro, cui gloria in saecula saeculorum. Amen. RECEIVE us too at the opportune time, until Thou hast restrained us in our fleshly life for as long as it will have been to our advantage. Indeed receive us prepared by fear of Thee and not troubled, nor turning back on that day of death, nor unwilling like those who are accustomed to the world and addicted to the flesh. Instead, may we set out eagerly for that everlasting and blessed life which is in Christ Jesus our Lord. To Him be glory for ever and ever. Amen.

Prayer of St. Clement I

This prayer is found in the writings of Pope St. Clement I (c 38 - c 101) in his letter to the Corinthians

GIVE us the grace, Lord, to hope in Thy Name, to which all creatures owe their being. Open the eyes of our hearts to know Thee alone, the Most High in the highest heavens, whose dwelling is in the holy of holies. Thou abasest the arrogance of the proud, frustrate the designs of the godless, humble the lofty and exalt the lowly, makest wealthy and poor, Thou slayest, Thou savest and Thou bringest to life. Alone the Benefactor of spirits and God of all flesh, Thy gaze penetrates the depths, Thou observest the doings of men. Helper of those in peril, Savior of those in despair, Creator of all that draws breath, Thou causest the peoples on the earth to multiply and from them all choose those who love Thee through Jesus Christ, Thy beloved Son. Through Him Thou hast instructed us, sanctified us, honored us.

WE ask Thee, O Lord, to be our supporter and our helper. To those of us who are afflicted, free us, pity the lowly, raise the fallen, show thyself to the needy, heal the sick, convert Thy wayward people, feed the hungry, deliver our captives, support the weak, encourage the faint-hearted. Let all nations know that Thou alone art God and Jesus Christ is Thy Son, and we are Thy people, the sheep of Thy flock.

TRULY Thou hast established the world and revealed Thy decrees. Thou art faithful through all generations, just in judgment, admirable in strength and majesty, wise in building, prudent in establishment, goodness in everything seen, faithful to those who put their trust in Thee, and kind and merciful. Dismiss from us our iniquities, our injustices, our sins and our failings.

DO not hold the sins of Thy servants against them, but purify us by Thy truth, and direct our steps that in holiness and justice and simplicity of heart we may walk and so do what is good and pleasing in Thy sight and in the sight of our leaders.

O Lord, let the light of your face shine upon us, so that we may enjoy Thy blessings in peace, protected by Thy strong hand, and freed from all sin by Thy outstretched arm; and deliver us from those who hate us unjustly.

GRANT peace and concord to us and to all mankind, even as Thou gavest it to our forefathers when they devoutly called upon Thee in faith and in truth. Thou alone art able to bestow these and even greater benefits upon us. We praise Thee through our high priest and the patron of our souls, Jesus Christ. Through Him be glory and majesty to Thee now and throughout all generations, for ever and ever. Amen.

Perenne Lumen in Templo Aeterni
Perpetual Light in the Eternal Temple

Written by St. Columban (c543-615), abbot

DOMINE, da mihi, rogo te, in nomine Iesu Christi Filii tui, Dei mei, illam quae nescit cadere caritatem, ut mea lucerna accendi sciat, exstingui nesciat; mihi ardeat, aliis luceat. O LORD, in the name of Jesus Christ, Thy Son and my God, I ask Thee to give me the love that never fails so that my lantern may always be lighted, never failing, burning within me within me and giving light to others.
TU, Christe, lucernas nostras accendere digneris, dulcissime nobis salvator noster, quo perpetuae luceant in templo tuo, ac perenne lumen a te perenni lumine accipiant, ut tenebrae nostrae illuminentur, mundi autem tenebrae a nobis fugentur. THOU, O Christ, our sweetest Savior, deign to light our lamps so that they may burn forever in Thy temple, may they receive eternal light from Thee, the Eternal Light, and by it may our darkness be illuminated and the darkness of the world dispelled from us.
SIC lumen tuum meae largiaris, rogo, Iesu mi, lucernae, ut illius luce illa sancta sanctorum mihi appareant, quae te aeternum Pontificem aeternorum in antibus magni illius tui templi illic intrantem habeant, quo te iugiter tantummodo videam, aspiciam, desiderem; tantum te amans conspiciam ac coram te mea semper lucerna luceat, ardeat. O my Jesus, I beg Thee to give Thy light to my lantern, so that I may see by its light the Holy of Holies, which has Thee, the eternal High Priest, entering among the great columns of Thy temple. May I see Thee only, look upon Thee, desire Thee; may I gaze lovingly upon Thee alone and before Thee may my lamp always shine, always burn.
TUUM sit, quaeso, te nobis pulsantibus monstrare, amantissime Salvator, ut te intelligentes, tantum te amemus, te solum amemus, te solum desideremus, te solum meditemur die ac nocte, semper te cogitemus; et in tantum nobis tuum inspirare digneris amorem, quantum te amari Deum decet ac diligi; ut omnia interiora nostra tua occupet dilectio, totosque nos tuus possideat amor, totos nostros sensus tua impleat caritas, ut praeter te aliud amare nesciamus, qui sempiternus es; quo tanta caritas aquis multis huius aeris et huius terrae et huius maris exstingui in nobis nequeat iuxta illud: Et aquae multae non potuerunt extinguere caritatem. MOST Loving Savior, I beseech Thee, be pleased to show Thyself to us who knock, that in knowing Thee we may love Thee only, that we may love Thee alone, that we may desire Thee alone, that we may meditate day and night on Thee alone, and that we may always contemplate Thee alone. Deign to inspire in us as much of Thy love as is fitting to be received by Thee as God, so that our whole being may be occupied by Thy love, so that Thy love may possess us completely, so that it may fill our senses, and so that we may not know any other love but for Thee, Who art eternal. May so great a love in us be unable to be extinguished by the many waters of this earth, sea, and sky. Many waters have not been able to extinguish love.
QUOD in nobis quoque compleri vel ex parte possit, te donante Domino nostro Iesu Christo, cui gloria in saecula saeculorum. Amen. MAY this too be fulfilled in us or at least in part, by Thy gift, our Lord Jesus Christ, to whom be glory forever and ever. Amen.

 

God the Holy Ghost

Third Person of the Holy Trinity

The Holy Spirit descending at Pentecost by Anthony van Dyck (1618)

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I. SYNOPSIS OF THE DOGMA
II. CHIEF ERRORS
III. THE THIRD PERSON OF THE BLESSED TRINITY
IV. PROCESSION OF THE HOLY GHOST
V. FILIOQUE
VI. GIFTS OF THE HOLY GHOST
VII. FRUITS OF THE HOLY GHOST
VIII. SINS AGAINST THE HOLY GHOST
IX. PRAYERS TO THE HOLY GHOST

I. SYNOPSIS OF THE DOGMA

The doctrine of the Catholic Church concerning the Holy Ghost forms an integral part of her teaching on the mystery of the Holy Trinity, of which St. Augustine (De Trin., I, iii, 5), speaking with diffidence, says: "In no other subject is the danger of erring so great, or the progress so difficult, or the fruit of a careful study so appreciable". The essential points of the dogma may be resumed in the following propositions:

bulletThe Holy Ghost is the Third Person of the Blessed Trinity.
bulletThough really distinct, as a Person, from the Father and the Son, He is consubstantial with Them; being God like Them, He possesses with Them one and the same Divine Essence or Nature.
bulletHe proceeds, not by way of generation, but by way of spiration, from the Father and the Son together, as from a single principle.

Such is the belief the Catholic faith demands.

II. CHIEF ERRORS

All the theories and all the Christian sects that have contradicted or impugned, in any way, the dogma of the Trinity, have, as a logical consequence, threatened likewise the faith in the Holy Ghost. Among these, history mentions the following:

bulletIn the second and third centuries, the dynamic or modalistic Monarchians (certain Ebionites, it is said, Theodotus of Byzantium, Paul of Samosata, Praxeas, Noëtus, Sabellius, and the Patripassians generally) held that the same Divine Person, according to His different operations or manifestations, is in turn called the Father, the Son, and the Holy Ghost; so they recognized a purely nominal Trinity.
bulletIn the fourth century and later, the Arians and their numerous heretical offspring: Anomans or Eunomians, Semi-Arians, Acacians, etc., while admitting the triple personality, denied the consubstantiality. Arianism had been preceded by the Subordination theory of some ante-Nicene writers, who affirmed a difference and a gradation between the Divine Persons other than those that arise from their relations in point of origin.
bulletIn the sixteenth century, the Socinians explicitly rejected, in the name of reason, along with all the mysteries of Christianity, the doctrine of Three Persons in One God.
bulletMention may also be made of the teachings of Johannes Philoponus (sixth century), Roscellinus, Gilbert de la Porrée, Joachim of Flora (eleventh and twelfth centuries), and, in modern times, Günther, who, by denying or obscuring the doctrine of the numerical unity of the Divine Nature, it reality set up a triple deity.

In addition to these systems and these writers, who came in conflict with the true doctrine about the Holy Ghost only indirectly and as a logical result of previous errors, there were others who attacked the truth directly:

bulletTowards the middle of the fourth century, Macedonius, Bishop of Constantinople, and, after him a number of Semi-Arians, while apparently admitting the Divinity of the Word, denied that of the Holy Ghost. They placed Him among the spirits, inferior ministers of God, but higher than the angels. They were, under the name of Pneumatomachians, condemned by the Council of Constantinople, in 381 (Mansi, III, col. 560).
bulletSince the days of Photius, the schismatic Greeks maintain that the Holy Ghost, true God like the Father and the Son, proceeds from the former alone.

III. THE THIRD PERSON OF THE BLESSED TRINITY

This heading implies two truths:

bulletThe Holy Ghost is a Person really distinct as such from the Father and the Son;
bulletHe is God and consubstantial with the Father and the Son.

The first statement is directly opposed to Monarchianism and to Socinianism; the second to Subordinationism, to the different forms of Arianism, and to Macedonianism in particular. The same arguments drawn from Scripture and Tradition may be used generally to prove either assertion. We will, therefore, bring forward the proofs of the two truths together, but first call particular attention to some passages that demonstrate more explicitly the distinction of personality.

A. Scripture. In the New Testament the word spirit and, perhaps, even the expression spirit of God signify at times the soul or man himself, inasmuch as he is under the influence of God and aspires to things above; more frequently, especially in St. Paul, they signify God acting in man; but they are used, besides, to designate not only a working of God in general, but a Divine Person, Who i&neither the Father nor the Son, Who is named together with the Father, or the Son, or with Both, without the context allowing them to be identified. A few instances are given here. We read in John, xiv, 16, 17: "And I will ask the Father, and he shall give you another Paraclete, that he may abide with, you for ever. The spirit of truth, whom the world cannot receive"; and in John, xv, 26: "But when the Paraclete cometh, whom I will send you from the Father, the Spirit of truth, who proceedeth from the Father, he shall give testimony of me." St. Peter addresses his first epistle, i, 1-2, "to the strangers dispersed . . . elect, according to the foreknowledge of God the Father, unto the sanctification of the Spirit, unto obedience and sprinkling of the blood of Jesus Christ". The Spirit of consolation and of truth is also clearly distinguished in John 16:7, 13-15, from the Son, from Whom He receives all He is to teach the Apostles, and from the Father, who has nothing that the Son also does not possess. Both send Him, but He is not separated from Them, for the Father and the Son come with Him when He descends into our souls (John 14:23).

Many other texts declare quite as clearly that the Holy Ghost is a Person, a Person distinct from the Father and the Son, and yet One God with Them. In several places St. Paul speaks of Him as if speaking of God. In Acts 28:25, he says to the Jews: "Well did the Holy Ghost speak to our fathers by Isaias the prophet"; now the prophecy contained in the next two verses is taken from Isaias 6:9-10, where it is put in the mouth of the "King the Lord of hosts". In other places he uses the words God and Holy Ghost as plainly synonymous. Thus he writes, I Corinthians 3:16: "Know you not, that you are the temple of God, and that the Spirit of God dwelleth in you?" and in 6:19: "Or know you not, that your members are the temple of the Holy Ghost, who is in you . . . ?" St. Peter asserts the same identity when he thus remonstrates with Ananias (Acts 5:3-4): "Why hath Satan tempted thy heart, that thou shouldst lie to the Holy Ghost . . . ? Thou hast not lied to men, but to God." The sacred writers attribute to the Holy Ghost all the works characteristic of Divine power. It is in His name, as in the name of the Father and of the Son, that baptism is to be given (Matthew 28:19). It is by His operation that the greatest of Divine mysteries, the Incarnation of the Word, is accomplished (Matthew 1:18, 20; Luke 1:35). It is also in His name and by His power that sins are forgiven and souls sanctified: "Receive ye the Holy Ghost. Whose sins you shall forgive, they are forgiven them" (John 20:22-23); "But you are washed, but you are sanctified, but you are justified in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, and the Spirit of our God" (1 Corinthians 6:11); "The charity of God is poured forth in our hearts, by the Holy Ghost, who is given to us" (Romans 5:5). He is essentially the Spirit of truth (John 14:16-17; 15:26), Whose office it is to strengthen faith (Acts 6:5), to bestow wisdom (Acts 6:3), to give testimony of Christ, that is to say, to confirm His teaching inwardly (John 15:26), and to teach the Apostles the full meaning of it (John 14:26; 16:13). With these Apostles He will abide for ever (John 14:16). Having descended on them at Pentecost, He will guide them in their work (Acts 8:29), for He will inspire the new prophets (Acts 11:28; 13:9), as He inspired the Prophets of the Old Law (Acts 7:51). He is the source of graces and gifts (1 Corinthians 12:3-11); He, in particular, grants the gift of tongues (Acts 2:4; 10:44-47). And as he dwells in our bodies sanctifies them (1 Corinthians 3:16; 6:19),so will and them he raise them again, one day, from the dead (Romans 8:11). But he operates especially in the soul, giving it a new life (Romans 8:9 sq.), being the pledge that God has given us that we are his children (Romans 8:14-16; 2 Corinthians 1:22; 5:5; Galatians 4:6). He is the Spirit of God, and at the same time the Spirit of Christ (Romans 8:9); because He is in God, He knows the deepest mysteries of God (1 Corinthians 2:10-11), and He possesses all knowledge. St. Paul ends his Second Epistle to the Corinthians (13:13) with this formula of benediction, which might be called a blessing of the Trinity: "The grace of our Lord Jesus Christ, and the charity of God, and the communication of the Holy Ghost be with you all." -- Cf. Tixeront, "Hist. des dogmes", Paris, 1905, I, 80, 89, 90,100,101.

B. Tradition. While corroborating and explaining the testimony of Scripture, Tradition brings more clearly before us the various stages of the evolution of this doctrine.

As early as the first century, St. Clement of Rome gives us important teaching about the Holy Ghost. His "Epistle to the Corinthians" not only tells us that the Spirit inspired and guided the holy writers (viii, 1; xlv, 2); that He is the voice of Jesus Christ speaking to us in the Old Testament (xxii, 1 sq.); but it contains further, two very explicit statements about the Trinity. In c. xlvi, 6 (Funk, "Patres apostolici", 2nd ed., I,158), we read that "we have only one God, one Christ, one only Spirit of grace within us, one same vocation in Christ". In lviii, 2 (Funk, ibid., 172), the author makes this solemn affirmation; zo gar ho theos, kai zo ho kyrios Iesous Christos kai to pneuma to hagion, he te pistis kai he elpis ton eklekton, oti . . . which we may compare with the formula so frequently met with in the Old Testament: zo kyrios. From this it follows that, in Clement's view, kyrios was equally applicable to ho theos (the Father), ho kyrios Iesous Christos, and to pneuma to hagion; and that we have three witnesses of equal authority, whose Trinity, moreover, is the foundation of Christian faith and hope.

The same doctrine is declared, in the second and third centuries, by the lips of the martyrs, and is found in the writings of the Fathers. St. Polycarp (d. 155), in his torments, thus professed his faith in the Three Adorable Persons ("Martyrium sancti Polycarpi" in Funk op. cit., I, 330): "Lord God Almighty, Father of Thy blessed and well beloved Son, Jesus Christ . . . in everything I praise Thee, I bless Thee, I glorify Thee by the eternal and celestial pontiff Jesus Christ, Thy well beloved Son, by whom, to Thee, with Him and with the Holy Ghost, glory now and for ever!"

St. Epipodius spoke more distinctly still (Ruinart, "Acta mart.", Verona edition, p. 65): "I confess that Christ is God with the Father and the Holy Ghost, and it is fitting that I should give back my soul to Him Who is my Creator and my Redeemer."

Among the apologists, Athenagoras mentions the Holy Ghost along with, and on the same plane as, the Father and the Son. "Who would not be astonished", says he (Legat. pro christian., n. 10, in P.G., VI, col. 909), "to hear us called atheists, us who confess God the Father, God the Son and the Holy Ghost, and hold them one in power and distinct in order [. . . ten en te henosei dynamin, kai ten en te taxei diairesin]?"

Theophilus of Antioch, who sometimes gives to the Holy Ghost, as to the Son, the name of Wisdom (sophia), mentions besides (Ad Autol., lib. I, n. 7, and II, n. 18, in P.G., VI, col. 1035, 1081) the three terms theos, logos, sophia and, being the first to apply the characteristic word that was afterwards adopted, says expressly (ibid., II, 15) that they form a trinity (trias).

Irenæus looks upon the Holy Ghost as eternal (Adv. Hær., V, xii, n. 2, in P.G., VII, 1153), existing in God ante omnem constitutionem, and produced by him at the beginning of His ways (ibid., IV, xx, 3). Considered with regard to the Father, the Holy Ghost is his wisdom (IV, xx, 3); the Son and He are the "two hands" by which God created man (IV, præf., n. 4; IV, xx, 20; V, vi, 1). Considered with regard to the Church, the same Spirit is truth, grace, a pledge of immortality, a principle of union with God; intimately united to the Church, He gives the sacraments their efficacy and virtue (III, xvii, 2, xxiv, 1; IV, xxxiii, 7; V, viii, 1).

St. Hippolytus, though he does not speak at all clearly of the Holy Ghost regarded as a distinct person, supposes him, however, to be God, as well as the Father and the Son (Contra Noët., viii, xii, in P.G., X, 816, 820).

Tertullian is one of the writers of this age whose tendency to Subordinationism is most apparent, and that in spite of his being the author of the definitive formula: "Three persons, one substance". And yet his teaching on the Holy Ghost is in every way remarkable. He seems to have been the first among the Fathers to affirm His Divinity in a clear and absolutely precise manner. In his work "Adversus Praxean" lie dwells at length on the greatness of the Paraclete. The Holy Ghost, he says, is God (c. xiii in P.L., II, 193); of the substance of the Father (iii, iv in P.L., II, 181-2); one and the same God with the Father and the Son (ii in P.L., II, 180); proceeding from the Father through the Son (iv, viii in P.L., II, 182, 187); teaching all truth (ii in P.L., II, 179).

St. Gregory Thaumaturgus, or at least the Ekthesis tes pisteos, which is commonly attributed to him, and which dates from the period 260-270, gives us this remarkable passage (P.G., X, 933 sqq.): "One is God, Father of the living Word, of the subsisting Wisdom. . . . One the Lord, one of one, God of God, invisible of invisible. . .One the Holy Ghost, having His subsistence from God. . . . Perfect Trinity, which in eternity, glory, and power, is neither divided, nor separated. . . . Unchanging and immutable Trinity."

In 304, the martyr St. Vincent said (Ruinart, op. cit., 325): "I confess the Lord Jesus Christ, Son of the Father most High, one of one; I recognize Him as one God with the Father and the Holy Ghost."

But we must come down towards the year 360 to find the doctrine on the Holy Ghost explained both fully and clearly. It is St. Athanasius who does so in his "Letters to Serapion" (P.G., XXVI, col. 525 sq.). He had been informed that certain Christians held that the Third Person of the Blessed Trinity was a creature. To refute them he questions the Scriptures, and they furnish him with arguments as solid as they are numerous. They tell him, in particular, that the Holy Ghost is united to the Son by relations just like those existing between the Son and the Father; that He is sent by the Son; that He is His mouth-piece and glorifies Him; that, unlike creatures, He has not been made out of nothing, but comes forth from God; that He performs a sanctifying work among men, of which no creature is capable; that in possessing Him we possess God; that the Father created everything by Him; that, in fine, He is immutable, has the attributes of immensity, oneness, and has a right to all the appellations that are used to express the dignity of the Son. Most of these conclusions he supports by means of Scriptural texts, a few from amongst which are given above. But the writer lays special stress on what is read in Matthew 28:19. "The Lord", he writes (Ad Serap., III, n. 6, in P.G., XXVI, 633 sq.), "founded the Faith of the Church on the Trinity, when He 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.' If the Holy Ghost were a creature, Christ would not have associated Him with the Father; He would have avoided making a heterogeneous Trinity, composed of unlike elements. What did God stand in need of? Did He need to join to Himself a being of different nature? . . . No, the Trinity is not composed of the Creator and the creature."

A little later, St. Basil, Didymus of Alexandria, St. Epiphanius, St. Gregory of Nazianzus, St. Ambrose, and St. Gregory of Nyssa took up the same thesis ex professo, supporting it for the most part with the same proofs. All these writings had prepared the way for the Council of Constantinople which, in 381, condemned the Pneumatomachians and solemnly proclaimed the true doctrine. This teaching forms part of the Creed of Constantinople, as it is called, where the symbol refers to the Holy Ghost, "Who is also our Lord and Who gives life; Who proceeds from the Father, Who is adored and glorified together with the Father and the Son; Who spoke by the prophets". Was this creed, with these particular words, approved by the council of 381? Formerly that was the common opinion, and even in recent times it has been held by authorities like Hefele, Hergenröther, and Funk; other historians, amongst whom are Harnack and Duchesne, are of the contrary opinion; but all agree in admitting that the creed of which we are speaking was received and approved by the Council of Chalcedon, in 451, and that, at least from that time, it became the official formula of Catholic orthodoxy.

IV. PROCESSION OF THE HOLY GHOST

We need not dwell at length on the precise meaning of the Procession in God. (See TRINITY.) It will suffice here to remark that by this word we mean the relation of origin that exists between one Divine Person and another, or between one and the two others as its principle of origin. The Son proceeds from the Father; the Holy Ghost proceeds from the Father and the Son. The latter truth will be specially treated here.

A. That the Holy Ghost proceeds from the Father has always been admitted by all Christians; the truth is expressly stated in John, xv, 26. But the Greeks, after Photius, deny that He proceeds from the Son. And yet such is manifestly the teaching of Holy Scripture and the Fathers.

(1) In the New Testament

(a) The Holy Ghost is called the Spirit of Christ (Romans 8:9), the Spirit of the Son (Galatians 4:6), the Spirit of Jesus (Acts 16:7). These terms imply a relation of the Spirit to the Son, which can only be a relation of origin. This conclusion is so much the more indisputable as all admit the similar argument to explain why the Holy Ghost is called the Spirit of the Father. Thus St. Augustine argues (In Joan., tr. xcix, 6, 7 in P.L., XXXV, 1888): "You hear the Lord himself declare: 'It is not you that speak, but the Spirit of your Father that speaketh in you'. Likewise you hear the Apostle declare: 'God hath sent the Spirit of His Son into your hearts. Could there then be two spirits, one the spirit of the Father, the other the spirit of the Son? Certainly not. Just as there is only one Father, just as there is only one Lord or one Son, so there is only one Spirit, Who is, consequently, the Spirit of both. . . Why then should you refuse to believe that He proceeds also from the Son, since He is also the Spirit of the Son? If He did not proceed from Him, Jesus, when He appeared to His disciples after His Resurrection, would not have breathed on them, saying: 'Receive ye the Holy Ghost'. What, indeed, does this breathing signify, but that the Spirit proceeds also from Him?" St. Athanasius had argued in exactly the same way (De Trinit. et Spir. S., n. 19, in P.G., XXVI, 1212), and concluded: "We say that the Son of God is also the source of the Spirit."

(b) The Holy Ghost receives from the Son, according to John 16:13-15: "When he, the Spirit of truth, is come he will teach you all truth. For he shall not speak of himself; but what things soever he shall hear, he shall speak; and the things that are to come, he shall shew you. He shall glorify me; because he shall receive of mine, and shall shew it to you. All things whatsoever the Father hath, are mine. Therefore I said, that he shall receive of mine, and shew it to you." Now, one Divine Person can receive from another only by Procession, being related to that other as to a principle. What the Paraclete will receive from the Son is immanent knowledge, which He will afterwards manifest exteriorly. But this immanent knowledge is the very essence of the Holy Ghost. The latter, therefore, has His origin in the Son, the Holy Ghost proceeds from the Son. "He shall not speak of Himself", says St. Augustine (In Joan., tr. xcix, 4, in P.L., XXXV, 1887), "because He is not from Himself, but He shall tell you all He shall have heard. He shall hear from him from whom He proceeds. In His case, to hear is to know, and to know is to be. He derives His knowledge from Him from Whom He derives His essence." St. Cyril of Alexandria remarks that the words: "He shall receive of mine" signify "the nature" which the Holy Ghost has from the Son, as the Son has His from the Father (De Trinit., dialog. vi, in P.G., LXXV, 1011). Besides, Jesus gives this reason of His assertion: "He shall receive of mine": "All things whatsoever the Father hath, are mine Now, since the Father has with regard to the Holy Ghost the relation we term Active Spiration, the Son has it also; and in the Holy Ghost there exists, consequently, with regard to both, Passive Spiration or Procession.

(2) The same truth has been constantly held by the Fathers

This fact is undisputed as far as the Western Fathers are concerned; but the Greeks deny it in the case of the Easterns. We will cite, therefore, a few witnesses from among the latter. The testimony of St. Athanasius has been quoted above, to the effect that "the Son is the source of the Spirit", and the statement of Cyril of Alexandria that the Holy Ghost has His "nature" from the Son. The latter saint further asserts (Thesaur., assert. xxxiv in P.G., LXXV, 585); "When the Holy Ghost comes into our hearts, He makes us like to God, because He proceeds from the Father and the Son"; and again (Epist., xvii, Ad Nestorium, De excommunicatione in P.G., LXXVII, 117): "The Holy Ghost is not unconnected with the Son, for He is called the Spirit of Truth, and Christ is the Truth; so He proceeds from Him as well as from God the Father." St. Basil (De Spirit. S., xviii, in P.G., XXXII, 147) wishes us not to depart from the traditional order in mentioning the Three Divine Persons, because "as the Son is to the Father, so is the Spirit to the Son, in accordance with the ancient order of the names in the formula of baptism". St. Epiphanius writes (Ancor., viii, in P. G., XLIII, 29, 30) that the Paraclete "is not to be considered as unconnected with the Father and the Son, for He is with Them one in substance and divinity", and states that "He is from the Father and the Son"; a little further, he adds (op. cit., xi, in P.G., XLIII, 35):" No one knows the Spirit, besides the Father, except the Son, from Whom He proceeds and of Whom He receives." Lastly, a council held at Seleucia in 410 proclaims its faith "in the Holy Living Spirit, the Holy Living Paraclete, Who proceeds from the Father and the Son" (Lamy, "Concilium Seleuciæ", Louvain, 1868).

However, when we compare the Latin writers, as a body, with the Eastern writers, we notice a difference in language: while the former almost unanimously affirm that the Holy Ghost proceeds from the Father and from the Son, the latter generally say that He proceeds from the Father through the Son. In reality the thought expressed by both Greeks and Latins is one and the same, only the manner of expressing it is slightly different: the Greek formula ek tou patros dia tou ouiou expresses directly the order according to which the Father and the Son are the principle of the Holy Ghost, and implies their equality as principle; the Latin formula expresses directly this equality, and implies the order. As the Son Himself proceeds from the Father, it is from the Father that He receives, with everything else, the virtue that makes Him the principle of the Holy Ghost. Thus, the Father alone is principium absque principio, aitia anarchos prokatarktike, and, comparatively, the Son is an intermediate principle. The distinct use of the two prepositions, ek (from) and dia (through), implies nothing else. In the thirteenth and fourteenth centuries, the Greek theologians Blemmidus Beccus, Calecas, and Bessarion called attention to this, explaining that the two particles have the same signification, but that from is better suited to the First Person, Who is the source of the others, and through to the Second Person, Who comes from the Father. Long before their time St. Basil had written (De Spir. S., viii, 21, in P.G., XXXII, 106): "The expression di ou expresses acknowledgment of the primordial principle [ tes prokatarktikes aitias]"; and St. Chrysostom (Hom. v in Joan., n. 2, in P.G., LIX, 56): "If it be said through Him, it is said solely in order that no one may imagine that the Son is not generated": It may be added that the terminology used by the Eastern and Western writers, respectively, to express the idea is far from being invariable. Just as Cyril, Epiphanius, and other Greeks affirm the Procession ex utroque, so several Latin writers did not consider they were departing from the teaching of their Church in expressing themselves like the Greeks. Thus Tertullian (Contra Prax., iv, in P.L., II, 182): "Spiritum non aliunde puto quam a Patre per Filium"; and St. Hilary (De Trinit., lib., XII, n. 57, in P.L., X, 472), addressing himself to the Father, protests that he wishes to adore, with Him and the Son "Thy Holy Spirit, Who comes from Thee through thy only Son". And yet the same writer had said, a little higher (op. cit., lib. II, 29, in P.L., X, 69), "that we must confess the Holy Ghost coming from the Father and the Son", a clear proof that the two formulæ were regarded as substantially equivalent.

B. Proceeding both from the Father and the Son, the Holy Ghost, nevertheless, proceeds from Them as from a single principle. This truth is, at the very least insinuated in the passage of John, xvi, 15 (cited above), where Christ establishes a necessary connection between His own sharing in all the Father has and the Procession of the Holy Ghost. Hence it follows, indeed, that the Holy Ghost proceeds from the two other Persons, not in so far as They are distinct, but inasmuch as Their Divine perfection is numerically one. Besides, such is the explicit teaching of ecclesiastical tradition, which is concisely put by St. Augustine (De Trin., lib. V, c. xiv, in P.L., XLII, 921): "As the Father and the Son are only one God and, relatively to the creature, only one Creator and one Lord, so, relatively to the Holy Ghost, They are only one principle." This doctrine was defined in the following words by the Second Ecumenical Council of Lyons [Denzinger, "Enchiridion" (1908), n. 460]: "We confess that the Holy Ghost proceeds eternally from the Father and the Son, not as from two principles, but as from one principle, not by two spirations, but by one single spiration." The teaching was again laid down by the Council of Florence (ibid., n. 691), and by Eugene IV in his Bull "Cantate Domino" (ibid., n. 703 sq.).

C. It is likewise an article of faith that the Holy Ghost does not proceed, like the Second Person of the Trinity, by way of generation. Not only is the Second Person alone called Son in the Scriptures, not only is He alone said to be begotten, but He is also called the only Son of God; the ancient symbol that bears the name of Saint Athanasius states expressly that "the Holy Ghost comes from the Father and from the Son not made not created, not generated, but proceeding ". As we are utterly incapable of otherwise fixing the meaning of the mysterious mode affecting this relation of origin, we apply to it the name spiration, the signification of which is principally negative and by way of contrast, in the sense that it affirms a Procession peculiar to the Holy Ghost and exclusive of filiation. But though we distinguish absolutely and essentially between generation and spiration, it is a very delicate and difficult task to say what the difference is. St. Thomas (I, Q. xxvii), following St. Augustine (Do Trin., XV, xxvii), finds the explanation and, as it the were, the epitome, of the doctrine in principle that, in God, the Son proceeds through the Intellect and the Holy Ghost through the Will. The Son is, in the language of Scripture, the image of the Invisible God, His Word, His uncreated wisdom. God contemplates Himself and knows Himself from all eternity, and, knowing Himself, He forms within Himself a substantial idea of Himself, and this substantial thought is His Word. Now every act of knowledge is accomplished by the production in the intellect of a representation of the object known; from this head, then the process offers a certain analogy with generation, which is the production by a living being of a being partaking of the same nature; and the analogy is only so much the more striking when there is question of this act of Divine knowledge, the eternal term of which is a substantial being, consubstantial within the knowing subject. As to the Holy Ghost, according to the common doctrine of theologians, He proceeds through the will. The Holy Spirit, as His name indicates, is Holy in virtue of His origin, His spiration; He comes therefore from a holy principle; now holiness resides in the will, as wisdom is in the intellect. That is also the reason why He is so often called par excellence, in the writings of the Fathers, Love and Charity. The Father and the Son love one another from all eternity, with a perfect ineffable love; the term of this infinite fruitful mutual love is Their Spirit Who is co-eternal and con-substantial with Them. Only, the Holy Ghost is not indebted to the manner of His Procession precisely for this perfect resemblance to His principle, in other words for His consubstantiality; for to will or love an object does not formally imply the production of its immanent image in the soul that loves, but rather a tendency, a movement of the will towards the thing loved, to be united to it and enjoy it. So, making every allowance for the feebleness of our intellects in knowing, and the unsuitability of our words for expressing the mysteries of the Divine life, if we can grasp how the word generation, freed from all the imperfections of the material order may be applied by analogy to the Procession of the Word, so we may see that the term can in no way befittingly applied to the Procession of the Holy Ghost.

V. FILIOQUE

Having treated of the part taken by the Son in the Procession of the Holy Ghost, we come next to consider the introduction of the expression Filioque into the Creed of Constantinople. The author of the addition is unknown, but the first trace of it is found in Spain. The Filioque was successively introduced into the Symbol of the Council of Toledo in 447, then, in pursuance of an order of another synod held in the same place (589), it was inserted in the Niceno-Constantinopolitan Creed. Admitted likewise into the Symbol Quicumque, it began to appear in France in the eighth century. It was chanted in 767, in Charlemagne's chapel at Gentilly, where it was heard by ambassadors from Constantine Copronymnus. The Greeks were astonished and protested, explanations were given by the Latins, and many discussions followed. The Archbishop of Aquileia, Paulinus, defended the addition at the Council of Friuli, in 796. It was afterwards accepted by a council held at Aachen, in 809. However, as it proved a stumbling-block to the Greeks Pope Leo III disapproved of it; and, though he entirely agreed with the Franks on the question of the doctrine, he advised them to omit the new word. He himself caused two large silver tablets, on which the creed with the disputed expression omitted was engraved to be erected in St. Peter's. His advice was unheeded by the Franks; and, as the conduct and schism of Photius seemed to justify the Westerns in paying no more regard to the feelings of the Greeks, the addition of the words was accepted by the Roman Church under Benedict VIII (cf. Funk, "Kirchengeschichte", Paderborn, 1902, p. 243).

The Greeks have always blamed the Latins for making the addition. They considered that, quite apart from the question of doctrine involved by the expression, the insertion was made in violation of a decree of the Council of Ephesus, forbidding anyone "to produce, write, or compose a confession of faith other than the one defined by the Fathers of Nicæa". Such a reason will not bear examination. Supposing the truth of the dogma (established above), it is inadmissible that the Church could or would have deprived herself of the right to mention it in the symbol. If the opinion be adhered to, and it has strong arguments to support it, which considers that the developments of the Creed in what concerns the Holy Ghost were approved by the Council of Constantinople (381), at once it might be laid down that the bishops at Ephesus (431) certainly did not think of condemning or blaming those of Constantinople. But, from the fact that the disputed expression was authorized by the Council of Chalcedon, in 451, we conclude that the prohibition of the Council of Ephesus was never understood, and ought not to be understood, in an absolute sense. It may be considered either as a doctrinal, or as a merely disciplinary pronouncement. In the first case it would exclude any addition or modification opposed to, or at variance with, the deposit of Revelation; and such seems to be its historic import, for it was proposed and accepted by the Fathers to oppose a formula tainted with Nestorianism. In the second case considered as a disciplinary measure, it can bind only those who are not the depositaries of the supreme power in the Church. The latter, as it is their duty to teach the revealed truth and to preserve it from error, possess, by Divine authority, the power and right to draw up and propose to the faithful such confessions of faith as circumstances may demand. This right is as unconfinable as it is inalienable.

VI. GIFTS OF THE HOLY GHOST

This title and the theory connected with it, like the theory of the fruits of the Holy Ghost and that of the sins against the Holy Ghost, imply what theologians call appropriation. By this term is meant attributing especially to one Divine Person perfections and exterior works which seem to us more clearly or more immediately to be connected with Him, when we consider His personal characteristics, but which in reality are common to the Three Persons. It is in this sense that we attribute to the Father the perfection of omnipotence, with its most striking manifestations, e.g. the Creation, because He is the principle of the two other Persons; to the Son we attribute wisdom and the works of wisdom, because He proceeds from the Father by the Intellect; to the Holy Ghost we attribute the operations of grace and the sanctification of souls, and in particular spiritual gifts and fruits, because He proceeds from the Father and the Son as Their mutual love and is called in Holy Writ the goodness and the charity of God.

The gifts of the Holy Ghost are of two kinds: the first are specially intended for the sanctification of the person who receives them; the second, more properly called charismata, are extraordinary favours granted for the help of another, favours, too, which do not sanctify by themselves, and may even be separated from sanctifying grace. Those of the first class are accounted seven in number, as enumerated by Isaias (11:2-3), where the prophet sees and describes them in the Messias. They are the gifts of wisdom, understanding, counsel, fortitude, knowledge, piety (godliness), and fear of the Lord.

 

bulletThe gift of wisdom, by detaching us from the world, makes us relish and love only the things of heaven.
bulletThe gift of understanding helps us to grasp the truths of religion as far as is necessary.
bulletThe gift of counsel springs from supernatural prudence, and enables us to see and choose correctly what will help most to the glory of God and our own salvation.
bulletBy the gift of fortitude we receive courage to overcome the obstacles and difficulties that arise in the practice of our religious duties.
bulletThe gift of knowledge points out to us the path to follow and the dangers to avoid in order to reach heaven.
bulletThe gift of piety, by inspiring us with a tender and filial confidence in God, makes us joyfully embrace all that pertains to His service.
bulletLastly, the gift of fear fills us with a sovereign respect for God, and makes us dread, above all things, to offend Him.

As to the inner nature of these gifts, theologians consider them to be supernatural and permanent qualities, which make us attentive to the voice of God, which render us susceptible to the workings of actual grace, which make us love the things of God, and, consequently, render us more obedient and docile to the inspirations of the Holy Ghost.

But how do they differ from the virtues? Some writers think they are not really distinct from them, that they are the virtues inasmuch as the latter are free gifts of God, and that they are identified essentially with grace, charity, and the virtues. That opinion has the particular merit of avoiding a multiplication of the entities infused into the soul. Other writers look upon the gifts as perfections of a higher order than the virtues; the latter, they say, dispose us to follow the impulse and guidance of reason; the former are functionally intended to render the will obedient and docile to the inspirations of the Holy Ghost. For the former opinion, see Bellevüe, "L'uvre du Saint-Esprit" (Paris, 1902), 99 sq.; and for the latter, see St. Thomas, I-II, Q. lxviii, a. 1, and Froget, "De l'habitation du Saint-Esprit dans les âmes justes" (Paris, 1900), 378 sq.

The gifts of the second class, or charismata, are known to us partly from St. Paul, and partly from the history of the primitive Church, in the bosom of which God plentifully bestowed them. Of these "manifestations of the Spirit", "all these things [that] one and the same Spirit worketh, dividing to every one according as he will", the Apostle speaks to us, particularly in I Corinthians 12:6-11; I Corinthians 12:28-31; and Romans 12:6-8.

In the first of these three passages we find nine charismata mentioned: the gift of speaking with wisdom, the gift of speaking with knowledge, faith, the grace of healing, the gift of miracles, the gift of prophecy, the gift of discerning spirits, the gift of tongues, the gift of interpreting speeches. To this list we must at least add, as being found in the other two passages indicated, the gift of government, the gift of helps, and perhaps what Paul calls distributio and misericordia. However, exegetes are not all agreed as to the number of the charismata, or the nature of each one of them; long ago, St. Chrysostom and St. Augustine had pointed out the obscurity of the question. Adhering to the most probable views on the subject, we may at once classify the charismata and explain the meaning of most of them as follows. They form four natural groups:

bulletTwo charismata which regard the teaching of Divine things: sermo sapientiæ, sermo scientiæ, the former relating to the exposition of the higher mysteries, the latter to the body of Christian truths.
bulletThree charismata that lend support to this teaching: fides, gratia sanitatum, operatio virtutum. The faith here spoken of is faith in the sense used by Matthew 17:19: that which works wonders; so it is, as it were, a condition and a part of the two gifts mentioned with it.
bulletFour charismata that served to edify, exhort, and encourage the faithful, and to confound the unbelievers: prophetia, discretio spirituum, genera linguarum, interpretatio sermonum. These four seem to fall logically into two groups; for prophecy, which is essentially inspired pronouncement on different religious subjects, the declaration of the future being only of secondary import, finds its complement and, as it were, its check in the gift of discerning spirits; and what, as a rule, would be the use of glossololia -- the gift of speaking with tongues -- if the gift of interpreting them were wanting?
bulletLastly there remain the charismata that seem to have as object the administration of temporal affairs, amid works of charity: gubernationes, opitulationes, distributiones. Judging by the context, these gifts, though conferred and useful for the direction and comfort of one's neighbour, were in no way necessarily found in all ecclesiastical superiors.

The charismata, being extraordinary favours and not requisite for the sanctification of the individual, were not bestowed indiscriminately on all Christians. However, in the Apostolic Age, they were comparatively common, especially in the communities of Jerusalem, Rome, and Corinth. The reason of this is apparent: in the infant Churches the charismata were extremely useful, and even morally necessary, to strengthen the faith of believers, to confound the infidels, to make them reflect, and to counterbalance the false miracles with which they sometimes prevailed. St. Paul was careful (I Corinthians 12, 13, 14) to restrict authoritatively the use of these charismata within the ends for which they were bestowed, and thus insist upon their subordination to the power of the hierarchy. Cf. Batiffol, "L'Eglise naissante et le catholicisme" (Paris, 1909), 36. (See CHARISMATA.)

VII. FRUITS OF THE HOLY GHOST

Some writers extend this term to all the supernatural virtues, or rather to the acts of all these virtues, inasmuch as they are the results of the mysterious workings of the Holy Ghost in our souls by means of His grace. But, with St. Thomas, I-II, Q. lxx, a. 2, the word is ordinarily restricted to mean only those supernatural works that are done joyfully and with peace of soul. This is the sense in which most authorities apply the term to the list mentioned by St. Paul (Galatians 5:22-23): "But the fruit of the Spirit is, charity, joy, peace, patience, benignity, goodness, longanimity, mildness, faith, modesty, continency, chastity." Moreover, there is no doubt that this list of twelve -- three of the twelve are omitted in several Greek and Latin manuscripts -- is not to be taken in a strictly limited sense, but, according to the rules of Scriptural language, as capable of being extended to include all acts of a similar character. That is why the Angelic Doctor says: "Every virtuous act which man performs with pleasure is a fruit." The fruits of the Holy Ghost are not habits, permanent qualities, but acts. They cannot, therefore, be confounded with the virtues and the gifts, from which they are distinguished as the effect is from its cause, or the stream from its source. The charity, patience, mildness, etc., of which the Apostle speaks in this passage, are not then the virtues themselves, but rather their acts or operations; for, however perfect the virtues may be, they cannot be considered as the ultimate effects of grace, being themselves intended, inasmuch as they are active principles, to produce something else, i.e. their acts. Further, in order that these acts may fully justify their metaphorical name of fruits, they must belong to that class which are performed with ease and pleasure; in other words, the difficulty involved in performing them must disappear in presence of the delight and satisfaction resulting from the good accomplished.

VIII. SINS AGAINST THE HOLY GHOST

The sin or blasphemy against the Holy Ghost is mentioned in Matthew 12:22-32; Mark 3:22-30; Luke 12:10 (cf. 11:14-23); and Christ everywhere declares that it shall not be pardoned. In what does it consist? If we examine all the passages alluded to, there can be little doubt as to the reply.

Let us take, for instance, the account given by St. Matthew which is more complete than that of the other Synoptics. There had been brought to Christ "one possessed with a devil, blind and dumb: and he healed him, so that he spoke and saw". While the crowd is wondering, and asking: "Is not this the Son of David?", the Pharisees, yielding to their wonted jealousy, and shutting their eyes to the light of evidence, say: "This man casteth not out devils but by Beelzebub the prince of the devils." Jesus then proves to them this absurdity, and, consequently, the malice of their explanation; He shows them that it is by "the Spirit of God" that He casts out devils, and then He concludes: "therefore I say to you: Ever sin and blasphemy shall be forgiven men, but the blasphemy of the Spirit shall not be forgiven. And whosoever shall speak a word against the Son of man, it shall be forgiven him: but he that shall speak against the Holy Ghost, it shall not he forgiven him, neither in this world, nor in the world to come."

So, to sin against the Holy Ghost is to confound Him with the spirit of evil, it is to deny, from pure malice, the Divine character of works manifestly Divine. This is the sense in which St. Mark also defines the sin question; for, after reciting the words of the Master: "But he that shall blaspheme against the Holy Ghost shall never have forgiveness", he adds at once: "Because they said: He hath an unclean spirit." With this sin of pure downright malice, Jesus contrasts the sin "against the Son of man", that is the sin committed against Himself as man, the wrong done to His humanity in judging Him by His humble and lowly appearance. This fault, unlike the former, might he excused as the result of man's ignorance and misunderstanding.

But the Fathers of the Church, commenting on the Gospel texts we are treating of, did not confine themselves to the meaning given above. Whether it be that they wished to group together all objectively analogous cases, or whether they hesitated and wavered when confronted with this point of doctrine, which St. Augustine declares (Serm. ii de verbis Domini, c. v) one of the most difficult in Scripture, they have proposed different interpretations or explanations.

St. Thomas, whom we may safely follow, gives a very good summary of opinions in II-II, Q. xiv. He says that blasphemy against the Holy Ghost was and may be explained in three ways.

bulletSometimes, and in its most literal signification, it has been taken to mean the uttering of an insult against the Divine Spirit, applying the appellation either to the Holy Ghost or to all three Divine persons. This was the sin of the Pharisees, who spoke at first against "the Son of Man", criticizing the works and human ways of Jesus, accusing Him of loving good cheer and wine, of associating with the publicans, and who, later on, with undoubted bad faith, traduced His Divine works, the miracles which He wrought by virtue of His own Divinity.
bulletOn the other hand, St. Augustine frequently explains blasphemy against the Holy Ghost to be final impenitence, perseverance till death in mortal sin. This impenitence is against the Holy Ghost, in the sense that it frustrates and is absolutely opposed to the remission of sins, and this remission is appropriated to the Holy Ghost, the mutual love of the Father and the Son. In this view, Jesus, in Matthew 12 and Mark 3 did not really accuse the Pharisees of blaspheming the Holy Ghost, He only warned them against the danger they were in of doing so.
bulletFinally, several Fathers, and after them, many scholastic theologians, apply the expression to all sins directly opposed to that quality which is, by appropriation, the characteristic quality of the Third Divine Person. Charity and goodness are especially attributed to the Holy Ghost, as power is to the Father and wisdom to the Son. Just, then, as they termed sins against the Father those that resulted from frailty, and sins against the Son those that sprang from ignorance, so the sins against the Holy Ghost are those that are committed from downright malice, either by despising or rejecting the inspirations and impulses which, having been stirred in man's soul by the Holy Ghost, would turn him away or deliver him from evil.

It is easy to see how this wide explanation suits all the circumstances of the case where Christ addresses the words to the Pharisees. These sins are commonly reckoned six: despair, presumption, impenitence or a fixed determination not to repent, obstinacy, resisting the known truth, and envy of another's spiritual welfare.

The sins against the Holy Ghost are said to be unpardonable, but the meaning of this assertion will vary very much according to which of the three explanations given above is accepted. As to final impenitence it is absolute; and this is easily understood, for even God cannot pardon where there is no repentance, and the moment of death is the fatal instant after which no mortal sin is remitted. It was because St. Augustine considered Christ's words to imply absolute unpardonableness that he held the sin against the Holy Ghost to be solely final impenitence. In the other two explanations, according to St. Thomas, the sin against the Holy Ghost is remissable -- not absolutely and always, but inasmuch as (considered in itself) it has not the claims and extenuating circumstance, inclining towards a pardon, that might be alleged in the case of sins of weakness and ignorance. He who, from pure and deliberate malice, refuses to recognize the manifest work of God, or rejects the necessary means of salvation, acts exactly like a sick man who not only refuses all medicine and all food, but who does all in his power to increase his illness, and whose malady becomes incurable, due to his own action. It is true, that in either case, God could, by a miracle, overcome the evil; He could, by His omnipotent intervention, either nuillify the natural causes of bodily death, or radically change the will of the stubborn sinner; but such intervention is not in accordance with His ordinary providence; and if he allows the secondary causes to act, if He offers the free human will of ordinary but sufficient grace, who shall seek cause of complaint? In a word, the irremissableness of the sins against the Holy Ghost is exclusively on the part of the sinner, on account of the sinner's act.

The Catholic Encyclopedia, Volume VII
Copyright © 1910 by Robert Appleton Company
Nihil Obstat, June 1, 1910. Remy Lafort, S.T.D., Censor
Imprimatur. +John Cardinal Farley, Archbishop of New York

Courtesy of New Advent

Prayers to the Holy Ghost

Invocations to the Holy Ghost

Grant, we beseech Thee
O Holy Ghost, Creator

O Sancte Spiritus (O Holy Spirit)

Veni, Sancte Spiritus! (Come, O Holy Spirit!)

Veni, Creator Spiritus (Come Holy Spirit, Creator Blest)
Come, Thou holy Paraclete Veni, Sancte Spiritus (Come, Holy Spirit)
Come Holy Ghost

St. Pius X's Prayer to the Holy Ghost

O Holy Ghost, who on the solemn day of Pentecost  
   
   
   
   

Invocations to the Holy Ghost

O Holy Ghost, Ghost of truth, come into our hearts; shed the brightness of Thy light upon the nations, that they may please Thee in unity of faith.

From the Raccolta #277

An Indulgence of 300 days

 

O Holy Ghost, sweet Guest of my soul, abide in me and grant that I may ever abide in Thee.

 

From the Raccolta #278

An Indulgence of 300 days

 

God the Holy Ghost, have mercy on us.

 

From the Raccolta #279

An Indulgence of 500 days, A plenary indulgence once a month on the usual conditions for the daily recitation of this invocation

 

May the grace of the Holy Ghost enlighten our senses and our hearts

 

From the Raccolta #280

An Indulgence of 500 days, A plenary indulgence once a month on the usual conditions for the daily recitation of this invocation

 

May our hearts be cleansed, O Lord, by the inpouring of the Holy Ghost, and may He render them fruitful by watering them with His heavenly dew

 

From the Raccolta #281

An Indulgence of 500 days, A plenary indulgence once a month on the usual conditions for the daily recitation of this invocation

 

Veni, Sancte Spiritus
Come, Holy Ghost

VENI, Sancte Spiritus, reple tuorum corda fidelium, et tui amoris in eis ignem accende. COME, Holy Ghost, fill the hearts of Thy faithful and kindle in them the fire of Thy love.
V. Emitte Spiritum tuum et creabuntur;
R. Et renovabis faciem terrae.
V. Send forth Thy Spirit and they shall be created
R. And Thou shalt renew the face of the earth. Amen.
Oremus:
DEUS, qui corda fidelium Sancti Spiritus illustratione docuisti: da nobis in eodem Spiritu recta sapere, et de eius semper consolatione gaudere. Per Christum Dominum nostrum. Amen.
Let us pray:
O GOD, Who taught the hearts of the faithful by the light of the Holy Spirit, grant that, by the gift of the same Spirit, we may be always truly wise, and ever rejoice in His consolation. Through Christ our Lord. Amen.

Grant, we beseech Thee

GRANT, we beseech Thee, Almighty God, that we may so please Thy Holy Spirit by our earnest entreaties, that we may by His grace both be freed from all temptations and merit to receive the forgiveness of our sins. Through Christ our Lord. Amen.

From the Raccolta #59; (S. P. Ap., Nov. 22, 1934)

An Indulgence of 5 years, A plenary indulgence once a month on the usual conditions for the daily recitation of this prayer

 

O Holy Ghost, Creator

O HOLY GHOST, Creator, mercifully assist Thy Catholic Church, and by Thy heavenly power strengthen and establish her against the assaults of all her enemies; and by Thy love and grace renew the spirit of Thy servants whom Thou hast anointed, that in Thee they may glorify the Father and His only-begotten Son, Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.

From the Raccolta # 288 (S. C. Ind., Aug. 26, 1889; S. P. Ap., Oct. 14, 1935)

An Indulgence of 500 days

O Sancte Spiritus
O Holy Spirit

O SANCTE SPIRITUS, qui sollemni Pentecostes die repente per dispertitas linguas tamquam ignis in Apostolos descendens, intra cenaculum congregatos, ita eorum mentes illuminasti, eorum animos incendisti, eorumque voluntates roborasti, ut inde per universum mundum proficiscerentur et ubicumque animose fidenterque Iesu Christi doctrinam annuntiarent, eamque suo profuso cruore obsignarent, renova, quaesumus, in animas quoque nostras prodigiales gratiae tuae effusiones. O HOLY GHOST, who on the solemn day of Pentecost didst suddenly descend upon the Apostles gathered in the Upper Room in parted tongues as it were of fire and didst so enlighten their minds, inflame their hearts, and strengthen their wills, that henceforth they went through the entire world and courageously and confidently proclaimed everywhere the teaching of Christ and sealed it with the shedding of their blood, renew, we beseech Thee, the wondrous outpouring of Thy grace in our hearts also.
Quanta mentes nostrae ignorantia laborant circa naturam gravitatemque divinarum veritatum, quae obiectum fidei efficiunt, sine qua salutem nemini sperare licet. Quot aberrationes a iusta terrenorum bonorum aestimatione, quae saepius animae ipsimet anteponuntur. Quam saepe corda nostra non, ut debent, Creatoris amore palpitant, sed ignobiliter creaturarum cupidine. Quam saepe falso humani iudicii respectu impellimur, cum debemus Iesu Christi praecepta palam profiteri, eaque sincere et cum rerum etiam iactura in vitae usum deducere. Quanta infirmitas in amplectenda ferendaque sereno libentique animo huius vitae cruce, quae christianum solummodo potest divini Magistri sui discipulum dignum efficere. How grievously our minds are afflicted with ignorance concerning the nature and dignity of those divine truths which form the object of faith, without which no man may hope for salvation. How far men go astray from a just estimation of earthly goods, which too often are put before the soul itself. How often our hearts do not beat with love of the Creator as they ought, but rather with an ignoble lust for creatures. How often are we led by a false respect for human judgment, when we ought to profess openly the precepts of Jesus Christ and to reduce them to action with a sincere heart and with, if need be, of our worldly substance. What weakness we manifest in embracing and carrying with a serene and willing heart the crosses of this life, which alone can make the Christian a worthy follower of his divine Master.
O Sancte Spiritus, mentes nostras illumina, corda nostra purifica, voluntatesque nostra redintegra; ita quidem ut infinitum animae nostrae pretium plane cognoscamus, itemque peritura huius mundi bona pro nihilo habeamus; ut Deum supra res omnes adamemus, eiusque amore proximos, quemadmodum nosmetipsos, diligamus; ut fidem nostram non modo palam demonstrare ne timeamus, sed de eadem potius gloriemur; ut denique non tantum res prosperas sed res etiam adversas quasi de manu Domini accipiamus, confisi prorsus omnia Eum in eorum bonum esse conversurum, qui erga Eum amore ferantur. Fac, quaesumus, ut nos, suavibus gratiae tuae impulsionibus constanter respondentes ac perseveranti animo operantes bonum, amplissimam sempiternae gloriae messem aliquando accipere mereamur. Amen. O Holy Ghost, enlighten our minds, cleanse our hearts, and give new strength to our wills; to such a degree, at least, that we may clearly recognize the value of our soul, and in a like manner, despise the perishable goods of this world; that we may love God above all things, and, for the love of Him, our neighbor as ourselves; that we may not only be free from fear in professing our faith publicly, but rather may glory in it; finally, that we may accept not only prosperity but also adversity as from the hand of the Lord, with all confidence that He will turn all things into good for those who lovingly tend towards Him. Grant, we beseech Thee, that we, by constantly answering the sweet impulses of Thy grace and doing that which is good with a persevering heart, may deserve one day to receive the rich reward of glory everlasting. Amen.

 

From the Raccolta #291 (S. P. Ap., May 31, 1941).

An Indulgence of 3 years, A plenary indulgence once a month on the usual conditions for the daily recitation of this prayer

 

Veni, Sancte Spiritus!
Come, O Holy Spirit

This prayer is taken from On Revelation and Trials by St. Mary Magdalene de Pazzi (1566-1607)

VENI, Sancte Spiritus. Veniat unio Patris, beneplacitum Verbi. Tu, Spiritus veritatis, es praemium sanctorum, refrigerium animarum, lux tenebrarum, pauperum divitiae, amantium thesaurus, esurientium satietas, consolatio peregrinorum; tu denique ille es, in quo omnes thesauri continentur. COME, O Holy Ghost. Let this pearl of the Father and delight of the Son come. O Spirit of truth, Thou art the reward of the saints, refreshment of souls, light in the darkness, riches of the poor, treasure of lovers, feeder of the hungry, and comfort of wayfarers; indeed Thou art the one in whom all treasures are contained.
Veni, qui descendens in Mariam fecisti, ut, carnem sumeret Verbum, atque in nobis operare per gratiam quod in illa es per gratiam naturamque operatus. Come, Thou who came to Mary so the Word might become flesh and also work in us through grace as Thou worked in her through grace and nature.
Veni, qui es omnis castae cogitationis alimentum, fons omnis clementiae, omnis puritatis cumulus. Come, Thou who art nourishment of every chaste thought, font of all mercy, and sum total of all purity.
Veni et in nobis absume quicquid impedit ne nos absumamur in te. Come and consume in us whatever impedes us from being consumed in Thee.
Amen. Amen.

Veni, Creator Spiritus
Come Holy Spirit, Creator Blest

One of the most widely used hymns in the Church, Veni, Creator Spiritus, is attributed to Rabanus Maurus (776-856). It is used at Vespers, Pentecost, Dedication of a Church, Confirmation, and Holy Orders and whenever the Holy Spirit is solemnly invoked. A partial indulgence is granted to the faithful who recite it. A plenary indulgence is granted if it is recited on January 1st or on the feast of Pentecost.

VENI, Creator Spiritus,
mentes tuorum visita,
imple superna gratia
quae tu creasti pectora.
COME, Holy Ghost, Creator blest,
and in our souls take up Thy rest;
come with Thy grace and heavenly aid
to fill the hearts which Thou hast made.
Qui diceris Paraclitus,
altissimi donum Dei,
fons vivus, ignis, caritas,
et spiritalis unctio.
O comforter, to Thee we cry,
O heavenly gift of God Most High,
O fount of life and fire of love,
and sweet anointing from above.
Tu, septiformis munere,
digitus paternae dexterae,
Tu rite promissum Patris,
sermone ditans guttura.
Thou in Thy sevenfold gifts are known;
Thou, finger of God's hand we own;
Thou, promise of the Father, Thou
Who dost the tongue with power imbue.
Accende lumen sensibus:
infunde amorem cordibus:
infirma nostri corporis
virtute firmans perpeti.
Kindle our sense from above,
and make our hearts o'erflow with love;
with patience firm and virtue high
the weakness of our flesh supply.
Hostem repellas longius,
pacemque dones protinus:
ductore sic te praevio
vitemus omne noxium.
Far from us drive the foe we dread,
and grant us Thy peace instead;
so shall we not, with Thee for guide,
turn from the path of life aside.
Per te sciamus da Patrem,
noscamus atque Filium;
Teque utriusque Spiritum
credamus omni tempore.
Oh, may Thy grace on us bestow
the Father and the Son to know;
and Thee, through endless times confessed,
of both the eternal Spirit blest.
Deo Patri sit gloria,
et Filio, qui a mortuis
surrexit, ac Paraclito,
in saeculorum saecula.
Amen.
Now to the Father and the Son,
Who rose from death, be glory given,
with Thou, O Holy Comforter,
henceforth by all in earth and heaven.
Amen.

From the Raccolta #283

An Indulgence of 5 years, A plenary indulgence once a month on the usual conditions for the daily recitation of this prayer

Come, Thou holy Paraclete

Come, Thou holy Paraclete, And from Thy celestial seat Send Thy light and brilliancy: Father of the poor, draw near; Giver of all gifts, be here; Come, the soul's true radiancy.

Come, of comforters the best, Of the soul the sweetest guest, Come in toil refreshingly: Thou in labor rest most sweet, Thou art shadow from the heat, Comfort in adversity.

O Thou Light, most pure and blest, Shine within the inmost breast Of Thy faithful company. Where Thou art not, man hath naught; Every holy deed and thought Comes from Thy divinity.

What is soilèd, make Thou pure; What is wounded, work its cure; What is parchèd, fructify; What is rigid, gently bend; What is frozen, warmly tend; Strengthen what goes erringly.

Fill Thy faithful, who confide In Thy power to guard and guide, With Thy sevenfold mystery. Here Thy grace and virtue send: Grant salvation to the end, And in Heav'n felicity.

From the Raccolta #282

An Indulgence of 5 years, A plenary indulgence once a month on the usual conditions for the daily recitation of this prayer

Come Holy Ghost

Come Holy Ghost and fill the hearts of Thy faithful, and kindle in them the fire of Thy love.

V. Send forth Thy Spirit and they shall be created

R. and Thou shall renew the face of the earth.

Let us pray,

Oh God who didst instruct the hearts of the faithful by the light of the Holy Spirit, grant that by the gift of the same Spirit we may be always truly wise, and ever rejoice in His consolation, through Christ our Lord. Amen.

From the Raccolta #287

An Indulgence of 5 years, A plenary indulgence once a month on the usual conditions for the daily recitation of this prayer

 

St. Pius X's Prayer to the Holy Ghost

Holy Ghost, divine Spirit of light and love. I consecrate to You my understanding, my heart and my will, my whole being for time and for eternity.

May my understanding be always submissive to Your heavenly inspirations and to the teachings of the Holy Catholic Church, of which You are the infallible Guide.

May my heart be ever inflamed with love of God and of my neighbor; may my will be ever conformed to the divine Will, and may my whole life be a faithful imitation of the life and virtues of Our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ, to whom with the Father and You, Holy Ghost, be honor and glory forever. Amen.

From the Raccolta #289

An Indulgence of 500 days

O Holy Ghost, who on the solemn day of Pentecost

O Holy Ghost, who on the solemn day of Pentecost didst suddenly descend upon the Apostle gathered in the Upper Room in parted tongues as it were of fire and dist so enlighten their minds, inflame their hearts, and strengthen their wills, that thenceforth they went through the entire world and courageously and confidently proclaimed everywhere the teaching of Christ and sealed it with the shedding of their blood, renew, we beseech Thee, the wondrous outpouring of Thy grace in our hearts also.

How  grievously our minds are afflicted with ignorance concerning the nature and dignity of those divine truths which form the object if faith, without which no man may hope for salvation. How far men go astray from a just estimation of earthly goods, which too often are put before the soul itself. How often our hearts do not beat with love of the Creator as they ought, bit rather with an ignoble lust for creatures. How often are we led by a false respect for human judgment, when we ought to profess openly the precepts of Jesus Christ and to reduce them to action with a sincere heart and with the loss, if need be, of our worldly substance. What weakness we manifest in embracing and carrying with a serene and willing heart the crosses of this life, which alone can make the Christian a worthy follower of his divine Master

O Holy Ghost, enlighten our minds, cleanse our hearts, and give new strength to our wills; to such a degree, at least, that we may clearly recognize the value of our soul, and in like manner, despise the perishable goods of this world; that we may love God above all things, and, for the love of Him, our neighbor as ourselves; that we may not only be free from fear in professing our faith publicly, but rather may glory in it; finally, that we may accept not only prosperity but also adversity as from the hand of the Lord, with all confidence that He will turn all things into good for those who lovingly tend towards Him. Grant , we beseech Thee, that we, by constantly answering the sweet impulses of Thy grace and doing that which is good with a persevering heart, may deserve one day to receive the rich reward of  glory everlasting. Amen.

From the Raccolta #291

An Indulgence of 3 years, A plenary indulgence once a month on the usual conditions for the daily recitation of this prayer