Summary: Math is not the best way to explain the basic doctrine of the Most Holy Trinity because it uses the approach of trying to explain how three can be one. We all know that “1+1+1=3” but what are we to do when “1+1+1=1?”
The Trinity is the root doctrine of Christianity because it concerns the inner nature of God. In honor of the Most Holy Trinity, we can consider three highlights of (1) the doctrine of the Trinity, (2) eternal salvation by the indwelling of the Trinity, and (3) prayer and reparation to the Most Holy Trinity.
1. Math is not the best way to explain the basic doctrine of the Most Holy Trinity because it uses the approach of trying to explain how three can be one. We all know that “1+1+1=3” but what are we to do when “1+1+1=1?”
Believer- Well, you see, there are three persons in one nature.
—“Tell me more.”
Believer: Well, there is God the Father, God the Son, God the Holy Spirit.
—“Ah, I see, three gods.”
Believer: Oh, no! Only one God.
—“But you said three: you called the Father God, which is one; and you called the Son God, which makes two, and you called the Holy Spirit God, which makes three.”
A better way to explain the Most Holy Trinity is to focus on the one nature of God.
The Father possesses the whole nature of God as his own.
The Son possesses the whole nature of God as his own.
The Holy Spirit possesses the whole nature of God as his own.
Thus, since the nature of any being decides what the being is, each person is God, wholly and therefore equally with the others.
2. Regarding eternal salvation and the indwelling of the Most Holy Trinity—
In her book, Amazing Grace, Kathleen Norris writes about a little boy who wrote a poem called, “The Monster Who Was Sorry.” In the poem the boy explodes about how he hated it when his father yelled at him. In anger he hit his sister, wrecked his room, then destroyed an entire town. His poem concludes: “Then I sit in my messy house and say to myself, ‘I shouldn’t have done all that.”
Norris comments on the boy’s poem, saying, “‘My messy house’ says it all, with more honesty that most adults could have mustered. The boy made a metaphor for himself that admitted the depth of his rage and also gave him a way out.”
Norris concludes by saying that if the house is messy, why not clean it up and make it into a place where God might wish to dwell?
When we are in the state of grace, we have the indwelling of the Trinity in our souls. Mortal sin kicks out the Divine Presence of the Trinity in our soul, and makes our house messy, which then enables the devil to drag us down to hell unless there is repentance.
This leads us to the final point regarding prayer and reparation to the Most Holy Trinity.
I recently returned from Fatima with two brothers. In 1915, when Lucia was seven years old, she was out taking care of the sheep, she and her companions, who were not her cousins, Francisco and Jacinta (and who are now canonized saints).
Around midday, after they eat their lunch and had just started the rosary, they saw a figure poised in the air above the trees; it looked like a statue made of snow, rendered almost transparent by the rays of the sun.
“What is that?” Asked the other children, quite frightened. “I don’t know!,” said Lucia.
Lucia was resolved to say nothing about the incident, but the other kids told their families as soon as they got home. The news spread, and eventually reached the ears of Lucia’s mother, who questioned Lucia, “Look here! They say you’ve seen I don’t know what, up there. What was it you saw?”
—“I don’t know....it looked like a person wrapped up in a sheet!...you couldn’t make out any eyes, or hands on it.”
Lucia’s mother put an end to the whole matter with a gesture of disgust: “Childish nonsense.”
Several months later, in 1916, the same thing happened again. The other kids once again told the whole story. Then, after a brief interval, the same thing was repeated.
After this third time, Lucia’s mother was quite displeased although Lucia did not say anything about it. Some people started to make fun of Lucia and the other kids.
Lucia’s sisters asked her scornfully, “Do you see someone wrapped in a sheet?” Lucia was the youngest in the family and was previously used to being pampered and loved, so she felt those contemptuous words and gestures very keenly.
Lastly, the fourth time when Lucia was now just with Francisco and Jacinta out with the sheep, they eat their lunch and prayed the Rosary, and began to play the game “pebbles.”
Then there was a strong wind that began to shake the trees on an unusually calm day.