God as the Blessed Trinity

3 different meditations are presented below on the Blessed Trinity

Day 1

God as a Blessed 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).

-excerpt taken from http://www.newadvent.org/cathen/15047a.htm

"Thus the Kingdom of Heaven stands in this threefold life, where three are one, because it is a manifestation of the Deity, which is Three in One; the Father has His distinct manifestation in the Fire, which is always generating the Light; the Son has His distinct manifestation in the Light, which is always generated from the Fire; the Holy Ghost has His manifestation in the Spirit, that always proceeds from both, and is always united with them.  It is this eternal unbeginning Trinity in Unity of Fire, Light, and Spirit, that constitutes Eternal Nature, the Kingdom of Heaven, the heavenly Jerusalem, the Divine Life, the Beatific Visibility, the majestic Glory and Presence of God.  Through this Kingdom of Heaven, the Eternal Nature, is the invisible God, the incomprehensible Trinity, eternally breaking forth and manifesting itself in a boundless height and depth of blissful wonders, opening and displaying itself to all its creatures as in an infinite variation and endless multiplicity of its power, beauties, joys, and glories."

-excerpt taken from "An Appeal to All Who Doubt" from the Liberal and Mystical Writings of William Law, p 54

Day 2

God as the Blessed Trinity Pt 2

Perhaps an easier, better, more beautiful example of these abstract symbols of the Trinity than Law’s Fire, Light, and Spirit is that of Light, Life, and Love: a threefold picture of the Real which is constantly dwelt upon and elaborated by the Christian mystics. Transcendent Light, intangible but unescapable, ever emanating Its splendour through the Universe: indwelling, unresting, and energizing Life: desirous and directive Love—these are cardinal aspects of Reality to which they return again and again in their efforts to find words which will express something of the inexpressible truth.

( a ) LIGHT, ineffable and uncreated, the perfect symbol of pure undifferentiated Being: above the intellect, as St. Augustine reminds us, but known to him who loves. This Uncreated Light is the “deep yet dazzling darkness” of the Dionysian school, “dark from its surpassing brightness . . . as the shining of the sun on his course is as darkness to weak eyes.” It is St. Hildegarde’s lux vivens, Dante’s somma luce, wherein he saw multiplicity in unity, the ingathered leaves of all the universe: the Eternal Father, or Fount of Things. “For well we know,” says Ruysbroeck “that the bosom of the Father is our ground and origin, wherein our life and being is begun.”

( b ) LIFE, the Son, hidden Steersman of the Universe, the Logos, Fire, or cosmic Soul of Things. This out-birth or Concept of the Father’s Mind, which He possesses within Himself, as Battista Vernazza was told in her ecstasy, is that Word of Creation which since It is alive and infinite, no formula can contain. the Word eternally “spoken” or generated by the Transcendent Light. “This is why,” says Ruysbroeck again, “all that lives in the Father unmanifested in the Unity, is also in the Son actively poured forth in manifestation.” This life, then, is the flawless expression or character of the Father, Sapientia Patris. It is at once the personal and adorable comrade of the mystic’s adventure and the inmost principle, the sustaining power, of a dynamic universe; for that which intellect defines as the Logos or Creative Spirit, contemplative love knows as Wonderful, Counsellor, and Prince of Peace.

Since Christ, for the Christian philosopher, is Divine Life Itself—the drama of Christianity expressing this fact and its implications “in a point”—it follows that His active spirit is to be discerned, not symbolically, but in the most veritable sense, in the ecstatic and abounding life of the world. In the rapturous vitality of the birds, in their splendid glancing flight: in the swelling of buds and the sacrificial beauty of the flowers: in the great and solemn rhythms of the sea—there is somewhat of Bethlehem in all these things, somewhat too of Calvary in their self-giving pains. It was this re-discovery of Nature’s Christliness which Blake desired so passionately when he sang—

“I will not cease from mental fight,
Nor shall my sword sleep in my hand
Till we have built Jerusalem
In England’s green and pleasant land.”

Here then it is, on this pinnacle of faith, at the utmost boundaries of human speech, that mystical theology suddenly shows herself—not as the puzzle-headed constructor of impossible creeds, but as accepting and transmuting to a more radiant life those two profound but apparently contradictory metaphysical definitions of Reality which we have already discussed. Eternal Becoming, God immanent and dynamic, striving with and in His world: the unresting “flux of things” of Heracleitus, the crying aloud of that Word “which is through all things everlastingly”—the evolutionary world-process beloved of modern philosophers—is here placed once for all in true relation with pure transcendent and unmoved Being; the Absolute One of Xenophanes and the Platonists. This Absolute is discerned by mystic intuition as the “End of Unity” in whom all diversities must cease; the Ocean to which that ceaseless and painful Becoming, that unresting river of life, in which we are immersed, tends to return: the Son going to the Father.

-excerpt taken from Evelyn Underhill's Mysticism: A Study in Nature and Development of Spiritual Consciousness, p 115

Day 3

God as the Blessed Trinity Pt 3

( c ) LOVE, the principle of attraction, which seems to partake at once of the transcendental and the created worlds. If we consider the Father as Supreme Subject—“origin,” as Aquinas says, “of the entire procession of Deity” —and the Son or generated Logos as the Object of His thought, in whom, says Ruysbroeck, “He contemplates Himself and all things in an eternal Now”; then this personal Spirit of Love, il desiro e il velle, represents the relation between the two, and constitutes the very character of God. “The heavenly Father,” says Ruysbroeck, “as a living Ground, with all that lives in Him, is actively turned towards His Son as to His own Eternal Wisdom. And that same Wisdom, with all that lives in it, is actively turned back towards the Father, that is towards that very ground from which it comes forth. And of this meeting is born the third Person, between the Father and the Son, that is the Holy Spirit, their mutual Love.” Proceeding, according to Christian doctrine, from Light and Life, the Father and Son—implicit, that is, in both the Absolute Source and dynamic flux of things—this divine spirit of desire is found enshrined in our very selfhood; and is the agent by which that selfhood is merged in the Absolute Self. “My love is my weight,” said St. Augustine. It is the spiritual equivalent of that gravitation which draws all things to their place. Thus Bernard Holland says in his Introduction to Boehme’s “Dialogues,” “In a deep sense, the desire of the Spark of Life in the Soul to return to its Original Source is part of the longing desire of the universal Life for its own heart or centre. Of this longing, the universal attraction striving against resistance, towards a universal centre, proved to govern the phenomenal or physical world, is but the outer sheath and visible working.” Again, “Desire is everything in Nature; does everything. Heaven is Nature filled with divine Life attracted by Desire.”

“The best masters say,” says Eckhart, “that the love wherewith we love is the Holy Spirit. Some deny it. But this is always true: all those motives by which we are moved to love, in these is nothing else than the Holy Spirit.” 

“God wills,” says Ruysbroeck, gathering these scattered symbols to unity again, “that we should come forth from ourselves in this Eternal Light; that we should reunite ourselves in a supernatural manner with that image which is our true Life, and that we should possess it with Him actively and fruitively in eternal blessedness . . . this going forth of the contemplative is also in Love: for by fruitive love he overpasses his created being and finds and tastes the riches and delights which are God Himself, and which He causes to pour forth without ceasing in the most secret chamber of the soul, at that place where it is most like unto the nobility of God.”

Here only, in the innermost sanctuary of being, the soul’s “last habitation,” as St. Teresa said, is the truth which these symbols express truly known: for “as to how the Trinity is one and the Trinity in the Unity of the nature is one, whilst nevertheless the Trinity comes forth from the Unity, this cannot be expressed in words,” says Suso, “owing to the simplicity of that deep abyss. Hither it is, into this intelligible where that the spirit, spiritualizing itself, soars up; now flying in the measureless heights, now swimming in the soundless deeps, of the sublime marvels of the Godhead!”

-excerpt taken from Evelyn Underhill's Mysticism: A Study in Nature and Development of Spiritual Consciousness, p 116-7