The Solemnity of The Most Holy Trinity

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God so loved the world that he gave his only Son, so that everyone who believes in him might not perish but might have eternal life.

OPENING PRAYER

Prayer of Thanks

O eternal God! Father, Son, and Holy Ghost; the beginning and end of all things; in whom we live and move and have our being; prostrate before Thee in body and soul, I adore Thee. I bless Thee and give Thee thanks. What return can I make to Thee, O God, for all that Thou hast done for me? I will bless Thy Holy Name, and serve Thee all the days of my life. Bless the Lord, O my soul, and let all that is within me bless His Holy Name. Amen.

http://catholicharboroffaithandmorals.comPrayers%20and%20Devotions%20to%20the%20Trinity.html

COLLECT

God our Father, who by sending into the world

the Word of truth and the Spirit of sanctification

made known to the human race your wondrous mystery,

grant we pray, that in professing the true faith,

we may acknowledge the Trinity of eternal glory

and adore your Unity, powerful in majesty.

Through our Lord Jesus Christ, your Son,

who lives and reigns with you in the unity

of the Holy Spirit,

one God, for ever and ever.

READING I

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Ex 34:4b-6, 8-9

Early in the morning Moses went up Mount Sinai

as the LORD had commanded him,

taking along the two stone tablets.

Having come down in a cloud, the LORD stood with Moses there

and proclaimed his name, “LORD.”

Thus the LORD passed before him and cried out,

“The LORD, the LORD, a merciful and gracious God,

slow to anger and rich in kindness and fidelity.”

Moses at once bowed down to the ground in worship.

Then he said, “If I find favor with you, O Lord,

do come along in our company.

This is indeed a stiff-necked people; yet pardon our wickedness and sins,

and receive us as your own.”

CATECHISM OF THE CATHOLIC CHURCH (CCC)

CCC 210 After Israel’s sin, when the people had turned away from God to worship the golden calf, God hears Moses’ prayer of intercession and agrees to walk in the midst of an unfaithful people, thus demonstrating his love.1 When Moses asks to see his glory, God responds “I will make all my goodness pass before you, and will proclaim before you my name ‘the LORD’ [YHWH].”2 Then the LORD passes before Moses and proclaims, “YHWH, YHWH, a God merciful and gracious, slow to anger, and abounding in steadfast love and faithfulness”; Moses then confesses that the LORD is a forgiving God.3

CCC 214 God, “HE WHO IS”, revealed himself to Israel as the one “abounding in steadfast love and faithfulness”.4 These two terms express summarily the riches of the divine name. In all his works God displays, not only his kindness, goodness, grace and steadfast love, but also his trustworthiness, constancy, faithfulness and truth. “I give thanks to your name for your steadfast love and your faithfulness.”5 He is the Truth, for “God is light and in him there is no darkness”; “God is love”, as the apostle John teaches.6

CCC 2577 From this intimacy with the faithful God, slow to anger and abounding in steadfast love,7 Moses drew strength and determination for his intercession. He does not pray for himself but for the people whom God made his own. Moses already intercedes for them during the battle with the Amalekites and prays to obtain healing for Miriam.8 But it is chiefly after their apostasy that Moses “stands in the breach” before God in order to save the people.9 The arguments of his prayer – for intercession is also a mysterious battle – will inspire the boldness of the great intercessors among the Jewish people and in the Church: God is love; he is therefore righteous and faithful; he cannot contradict himself; he must remember his marvelous deeds, since his glory is at stake, and he cannot forsake this people that bears his name.

1 Cf. Ex 32; 33: 12-17.

2 Ex 33:18-19.

3 Ex 34:5-6; cf. 34:9.

4 Ex 34:6.

5 Ps 138:2; cf. Ps 85:11.

6 I Jn 1:5; 4:8.

7 Cf. Ex 34:6.

8 Cf. Ex 17:8-12; Num 12:13-14.

9 Ps 106:23; cf. Ex 32:1-34:9.

APPLICATION

The mystery of the Blessed Trinity–three Persons in one God–was not revealed to the Jews of the Old Testament. They were not yet fit to accept this truth. Surrounded as they were by nations that practiced polytheism (many gods) there would be danger that the Jews would see three Gods in the Trinity–it would look like polytheism to them. Hence it was not revealed to them and therefore we have no Trinitarian text in the Old Testament which could be read on this feast of the Blessed Trinity.

The text chosen gives the basis for its eventual revelation., Yahweh made a covenant with the Israelites. He made them his Chosen People, though whom he would eventually send his divine Son and the Holy Spirit to give man–the whole chosen human race–the possibility and the means of reaching the destination that he had planned for them from all eternity. The covenant made by Yahweh with Moses on Mount Sinai was the preparation for the revelation of the dogma of the Blessed Trinity and its relationship with our salvation.

The Israelites were stubborn, unfaithful and ungrateful to God in spite of all he did for them. Yet God was long suffering. He put up with them for centuries and in spite of their infidelities he proved himself faithful to his promises. He sent to them (and to us through them) the Messiah–the promised King, Priest and Prophet (teacher) who brought to a happy conclusion the divine plan for mankind.

If the Israelites were stubborn and so often unfaithful. what can we say of ourselves? They were so ungrateful and so forgetful of favors received, but are we not ungrateful and forgetful too of even greater favors? We have a better knowledge of God’s love and mercy than the Israelites had. Are we not worse than they? They saw the power of God so often used in their favor; we have seen the weakness of God, as it were, the Son of God who took our human nature and suffered and died for our sake, and we can and do forget this infinite love of God for us.

Yahweh (the particular name for himself which he gave as a special favor to the Israelites) was with the Chosen People all through their journeying in the desert and eventually he led them by his almighty power into the promised land of Canaan. His divine Son whose name Jesus, means savior of all men, became one with us in his human nature and, as he promised, is with us daily leading us into the real promised land which he won for us through the humiliation and sufferings which his Incarnation brought on him. Yahweh fed the Israelites in the desert with manna to give them strength to reach Canaan. Christ, his Son, has given us his own body and blood under the mysterious form of the Blessed Eucharist to be our spiritual sustenance on our journey to heaven.

Is there really any comparison between what God did for the Chosen People of the Old Testament and what he has done and is daily doing for us–the Chosen People of the New Covenant? Yet How unworthy we prove ourselves of this his infinite love, how ungrateful we so frequently are for this divine interest in our eternal welfare! True, we are dealing with a God of mercy, a God who is long-suffering, a God abounding in steadfast love. But let us not put all these loving qualities of our good God too much to the test. He will never let us down but we could let ourselves down by presuming too much on God’s loving kindness and forgetting that he does ask of us certain proofs of our love in return.

One simple resolution on this great feastday would be to promise to make the sign of the cross as an act of dedication and thanksgiving to the loving Father, Son and Holy Spirit, who have already done and are daily continuing to do so much in order to bring us to heaven.

RESPONSORIAL PSALM

Ps Dn 3:52, 53, 54, 55, 56

Glory and praise for ever!

Blessed are you, O Lord, the God of our fathers,

praiseworthy and exalted above all forever;

And blessed is your holy and glorious name,

praiseworthy and exalted above all for all ages.

Glory and praise for ever!

Blessed are you in the temple of your holy glory,

praiseworthy and glorious above all forever.

Glory and praise for ever!

Blessed are you on the throne of your kingdom,

praiseworthy and exalted above all forever.

Glory and praise for ever!

Blessed are you who look into the depths

from your throne upon the cherubim,

praiseworthy and exalted above all forever.

Glory and praise for ever!

READING II

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2 Cor 13:11-13

Brothers and sisters, rejoice.

Mend your ways, encourage one another,

agree with one another, live in peace,

and the God of love and peace will be with you.

Greet one another with a holy kiss.

All the holy ones greet you.

The grace of the Lord Jesus Christ

and the love of God

and the fellowship of the Holy Spirit be with all of you.

CATECHISM OF THE CATHOLIC CHURCH (CCC)

CCC 1109 The epiclesis is also a prayer for the full effect of the assembly’s communion with the mystery of Christ. “The grace of the Lord Jesus Christ and the love of God and the fellowship of the Holy Spirit”1 have to remain with us always and bear fruit beyond the Eucharistic celebration. The Church therefore asks the Father to send the Holy Spirit to make the lives of the faithful a living sacrifice to God by their spiritual transformation into the image of Christ, by concern for the Church’s unity, and by taking part in her mission through the witness and service of charity.

1 2 Cor 13:13.

APPLICATION

By celebrating the feast of the three divine Persons today, we too are invoking on ourselves the blessings St. Paul invoked on the Corinthian Christians. We need the grace of Our Lord Jesus Christ if we are to reach heaven. He has already put us on the right road by baptism, and has made us receptacles of grace, but that is only the first step although a supernatural one. Every human act we perform in the state of grace-even our eating and drinking, and our daily tasks–is moving us along the road to heaven. But if we lose the divine grace through mortal sin, all our actions, even holy actions, are useless as regards our heavenward journey.

The love of God, the true paternal interest of the Father, as well as the fellowship of the Holy Spirit who is within us, inspiring us to good works, will also be always with us unless we deliberately cut ourselves off from their influence by serious sin.

The Blessed Trinity through Jesus Christ has foreseen this possibility. God knows our weaknesses and our inclination to do what is evil, better than we know them ourselves, and he has provided us with an easy and an accessible remedy. He has left to his Church the Sacrament of Penance in which our sins can be wiped out provided we are sincere in repenting of them. If it should happen that this sacrament is not available, the Church teaches us, following Christ’s instruction, that a sincere act of contrition which implies and contains an act of love for God will likewise blot out our sins and bring us back once more into, the family of the Blessed Trinity. In this case however, if and when we get the opportunity of confessing these sins in the Sacrament of Penance, we must do so.

While we see the absolute necessity then of being in God’s grace and friendship, in close union with the Holy Trinity, if we are to proceed toward heaven, we see how easy the good and loving God has made this for us. Should anybody be so foolish as to think that sins can keep us from heaven, one glimpse of the past history of the Church will suffice to change his mind. Among the canonized martyrs and saints (to say nothing of the millions of saints who are not officially canonized) for every one adult saint who has preserved his baptismal innocence through life, countless had some sins but repented of them and had them forgiven.

It is not sins that will keep us from heaven, but the refusal to repent of them. Let us all take courage then on this great feast of the Blessed Trinity. The three divine Persons want us in heaven. They have proved this already in the past; they are proving it daily in the Church. If we appreciate what the Blessed Trinity has done and is doing for us, and if we show our sincere gratitude by frequent acts of thanksgiving–a simple “thank you, God,” a reverent making of the sign of the cross, a symbol which reminds us of the lengths God went to in order to give us a place in heaven–if we develop this sense of gratitude we need never fear. Should we fall through human weakness, the three Persons are there to help us and put us on the right road to heaven once more.

“The grace of the Lord Jesus Christ, the love of God and the fellowship of the Holy Spirit be with you all” now and forever.

GOSPEL

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Jn 3:16-18

God so loved the world that he gave his only Son,

so that everyone who believes in him might not perish

but might have eternal life.

For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world,

but that the world might be saved through him.

Whoever believes in him will not be condemned,

but whoever does not believe has already been condemned,

because he has not believed in the name of the only Son of God.

http://www.usccb.org/bible/readings/061117.cfm

CATECHISM OF THE CATHOLIC CHURCH (CCC)

CCC 219 God’s love for Israel is compared to a father’s love for his son. His love for his people is stronger than a mother’s for her children. God loves his people more than a bridegroom his beloved; his love will be victorious over even the worst infidelities and will extend to his most precious gift: “God so loved the world that he gave his only Son.”1

CCC 432 The name “Jesus” signifies that the very name of God is present in the person of his Son, made man for the universal and definitive redemption from sins. It is the divine name that alone brings salvation, and henceforth all can invoke his name, for Jesus united himself to all men through his Incarnation,2 so that “there is no other name under heaven given among men by which we must be saved.”3

CCC 444 The Gospels report that at two solemn moments, the Baptism and the Transfiguration of Christ, the voice of the Father designates Jesus his “beloved Son”.4 Jesus calls himself the “only Son of God”, and by this title affirms his eternal pre-existence.5 He asks for faith in “the name of the only Son of God”.6 In the centurion’s exclamation before the crucified Christ, “Truly this man was the Son of God”,7 that Christian confession is already heard. Only in the Paschal mystery can the believer give the title “Son of God” its full meaning.

CCC 458 The Word became flesh so that thus we might know God’s love: “In this the love of God was made manifest among us, that God sent his only Son into the world, so that we might live through him.”8 “For God so loved the world that he gave his only Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life.”9

CCC 679 Christ is Lord of eternal life. Full right to pass definitive judgment on the works and hearts of men belongs to him as redeemer of the world. He “acquired” this right by his cross. The Father has given “all judgment to the Son”.10 Yet the Son did not come to judge, but to save and to give the life he has in himself.11 By rejecting grace in this life, one already judges oneself, receives according to one’s works, and can even condemn oneself for all eternity by rejecting the Spirit of love.12

CCC 706 Against all human hope, God promises descendants to Abraham, as the fruit of faith and of the power of the Holy Spirit.13 In Abraham’s progeny all the nations of the earth will be blessed. This progeny will be Christ himself,14 in whom the outpouring of the Holy Spirit will “gather into one the children of God who are scattered abroad.”15 God commits himself by his own solemn oath to giving his beloved Son and “the promised Holy Spirit. .. [who is] the guarantee of our inheritance until we acquire possession of it.”16

1 Jn 3:16; cf. Hos 11:1; Is 49:14-15; 62: 4-5; Ezek 16; Hos 11.

2 Cf. Jn 3:18; Acts 2:21; 5:41; 3 Jn 7; Rom 10:6-13.

3 Acts 4:12; cf. 9:14; Jas 2:7.

4 Cf. Mt 3:17; cf. 17:5.

5 Jn 3:16; cf. 10:36.

6 Jn 3:18.

7 Mk 15:39.

8 I Jn 4:9.

9 Jn 3:16.

10 Jn 5:22; cf. 5:27; Mt 25:31; Acts 10:42; 17:31; 2 Tim 4:1.

11 Cf. Lk 21:12; Jn 15:19-20.

12 Cf. Jn 3:17; 5:26. 588 Cf. Jn 3:18; 12:48; Mt 12:32; I Cor 3:12-15; Heb 6:4-6; 10:26-31.

13 Cf. Gen 18:1-15; Lk 1:26-38. 54-55; Jn 1:12-13; Rom 4:16-21.

14 Cf. Gen 12:3; Gal 3:16.

15 Cf. In 11:52.

16 Eph 1:13-14; cf. Gen 22:17-19; Lk 1:73; Jn 3:16; Rom 8:32; Gal 3:14.

APPLICATION

Although the Holy Spirit is not mentioned in this text from St. John’s gospel, the text is included in the readings for the feast of, the Blessed Trinity because two of the Persons are mentioned. They are clearly distinguished one from the other, yet both are the one God. God the Father sent God the Son into the world (in human nature) in order to bring eternal life within the reach of all men.

While we must admit from the evidence so clearly given in the story of our redemption and elevation to adopted divine sonship, that the three Persons of the Trinity cooperated in that work, we cannot claim we understand the mystery of three Persons in one God. We can and must admit the fact on the evidence presented to us, but we must also admit that our human intellects are too finite to grasp the essence, the nature of that fact.

How could it be otherwise? If our limited minds could grasp the divine nature and all its qualities it would no longer be divine–it would be limited like ourselves. There are many finite created things in our world which we cannot fully understand. How then could we claim that we should be able to understand the infinite? Of infinity itself we have only a negative description–something that has no beginning or no end. When we get to heaven our minds will be illuminated with greater graces but even then there will always be something new in God for us to see and admire. In the meantime our attitude toward the Trinity should be one of sincere gratitude for having placed us on the road to heaven.

Through the divine graces given us, we believe that Jesus Christ was the divine Son whom the Father sent on earth to give us eternal life. We have accepted Christ as our master and Savior. We are striving to follow him by living our Christian lives. We are assured of his assistance and of the assistance also of the Holy Spirit, so that if we play the part Christ asks of us in the drama of our salvation, we can wait with serenity for the final curtain.

The Son and Holy Spirit will sustain us on our heavenward journey. If we make use of the aids so thoughtfully left by Christ in his Church–the true teaching and the sacraments–we shall remain on the right road. We shall be lifted up if we fall, spurred on when we grow weary, and nourished with the divine food of the Blessed Eucharist–the manna of the new covenant. Then we can feel very sure that at the end of our life’s journey we shall be ushered into the presence of the Trinity–the Father, Son and Holy Spirit, in whose happy and holy company we shall remain forever.

Applications written by Fr. Kevin O’Sullivan OFM and used with permission from Franciscan Press

BENEDICTUS

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The Sustaining Force of the Blessed Trinity

The Spirit does not speak, as it were, from himself, but is a listening to and a making clear of the Son, who in turn does not speak on his authority, but is, as the one sent by the Father, his distinct presence. The Father also gives himself to the Son. Each of the three Persons of the Trinity points to the other two. In this circle of love flowing and intermingling, there is the highest degree of unity and constancy and this in turn gives unity and constancy to everything that exists… What sustains us is the movement of the heart and spirit that leaves itself and is on the way to the other… It is only if each Christian makes his whole being available to the Word in the passage of time that time can as a whole be made open to Christ… The Trinity, then, provides us with the means by which both the individual and the community of the Church can disentangle the confusion of time. We shall not solve the problems that trouble us today by theorizing, but by spiritual means, by entering, in other words, into the form of the Trinity… The selflessness of those who bear witness to Christ gives authenticity to the Church, just as Christ’s selflessness bore authentic testimony to himself and to the Spirit. It is in this way that a living interrelationship can develop, that growth can come about and that we can be led into the fullness of truth, a truth that is richer and greater than anything that we can invent.

Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI

CLOSING PRAYER

Act of Consecration to the Holy Spirit

On my knees before the great multitude of heavenly

witnesses,

I offer myself soul and body to Thee,

Eternal Spirit of God.

I adore the brightness of Thy purity,

the unerring keenness of Thy justice,

and the might of Thy love.

Thou art the Strength and Light of my soul.

In Thee I live and move and am.

I desire never to grieve Thee by unfaithfulness to grace,

and I pray with all my heart to be kept

from the smallest sin against Thee.

Mercifully guard my every thought

and grant that I may always watch for Thy light

and listen to Thy voice

and follow Thy gracious inspirations.

I cling to Thee and give myself to Thee

and ask Thee by Thy compassion

to watch over me in my weakness.

Holding the pierced Feet of Jesus

and looking at His Five Wounds

and trusting in His Precious Blood

and adoring His opened Side and stricken Heart,

I implore Thee Adorable Spirit,

helper of my infirmity,

so to keep me in Thy grace

that I may never sin against Thee.

Give me grace O Holy Ghost,

Spirit of the Father and the Son,

to say to Thee always and everywhere,

“Speak Lord, for Thy servant heareth.” Amen.

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Let Us Bless The Lord - A Benedictine oblate's weekly study of the Catholic Church's Sunday Sacred Liturgy. I hope that families and friends will benefit from this as a prayerful way to prepare and actively participate in the holy sacrifice of the Mass.
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