Have you ever wondered what you could gain from the doctrine of the Holy Trinity besides knowing that there are three persons in one divine nature? How does God (who is love) exercise His infinite love fully when it is beyond our comprehension and ability to respond adequately?
Contemplating the Holy Trinity we learn that there is community within the very being of God. Infinite love is infinitely accepted and returned by God the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit. According to St. Augustine, a community is a “multitude of reasonable beings united by their agreement in the things that they respect” (City of God, XIX, 24). The character of a society then is determined by the choices of the individuals who make it up. If the choice is of self-love rather than love of God, then one has the earthly city; if of God rather than self, then one has the heavenly city.
St. Paul told the Hebrews about the importance of being part of a Christian community: “And let us consider how to stir up one another to love and good works, not neglecting to meet together, as is the habit of some, but encouraging one another, and all the more as you see the Day drawing near.” (Heb 10:24-25) As believers we should consider how we can be of service to one another, especially stirring up one another to more vigorous and abundant exercise of love, and the practice of good works. The communion of saints is a great help and privilege, and a means of steadfastness and perseverance.
St. Thomas Aquinas wrote: “For no human group can endure long if each person sought only his individual ends. One of them would have to provide for the common interest, just as an organism would break apart unless it had some controlling power in it which worked for the good of all bodily parts.” (On Kingship to the King of Cyprus, Book 1, Chapter1, 8) However, we learn from the doctrine of the Trinity that each of the three persons is wholly himself, but yet there are not three Gods but one God. This can only be so when there is infinite love and giving among them.
St. Paul taught the Romans how to live as a Christian community: “For by the grace given me I say to every one of you: Do not think of yourself more highly than you ought, but rather think of yourself with sober judgment, in accordance with the faith God has distributed to each of you. For just as each of us has one body with many members, and these members do not all have the same function, so in Christ we, though many, form one body, and each member belongs to all the others. We have different gifts, according to the grace given to each of us. If your gift is prophesying, then prophesy in accordance with your faith; if it is serving, then serve; if it is teaching, then teach; if it is to encourage, then give encouragement; if it is giving, then give generously; if it is to lead, do it diligently; if it is to show mercy, do it cheerfully.
Love must be sincere. Hate what is evil; cling to what is good. Be devoted to one another in love. Honour one another above yourselves. Never be lacking in zeal, but keep your spiritual fervour, serving the Lord. Be joyful in hope, patient in affliction, and faithful in prayer. Share with the Lord’s people who are in need. Practice hospitality.
Bless those who persecute you; bless and do not curse. Rejoice with those who rejoice; mourn with those who mourn. Live in harmony with one another. Do not be proud, but be willing to associate with people of low position. Do not be conceited.
Do not repay anyone evil for evil. Be careful to do what is right in the eyes of everyone. If it is possible, as far as it depends on you, live at peace with everyone. Do not take revenge, my dear friends, but leave room for God’s wrath, for it is written: “It is mine to avenge; I will repay,” says the Lord. On the contrary: “If your enemy is hungry, feed him; if he is thirsty, give him something to drink. …” Do not be overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good.” (Rom 12:3-21)
Pride is a sin in us by nature; we need to be cautioned and armed against it. All the saints make up one body in Christ, who is the Head of the body, and the common Centre of their unity. Whatever our gifts or situations may be, let us try to employ ourselves humbly, diligently, cheerfully, and in simplicity; not seeking our own credit or profit, but the good of many, for this world and that which is to come.
The professed love of Christians to one another should be sincere, free from deceitful compliments. Depending on Divine grace, we must detest and dread all evil, and love and delight in whatever is kind and useful. Our duty towards one another is summed up in one word, love. Not only must there be kindness to friends and brethren, but Christians must not harbour anger against enemies. Bless, and curse not those who persecute you. It means thorough good will; not, bless them when at prayer, and curse them at other times. True Christian love will make us take part in the sorrows and joys of each other. Look upon worldly pomp and dignity with holy contempt. Be reconciled to the place God in his providence puts you in, whatever it be. Nothing is below us, but sin.
By contemplating on the mystery of the Holy Trinity, we learn that God is love because infinite love is infinitely accepted and returned by the three persons who are distinct, but not separate. We also learn that there is community within the very being of God, and the secret of community is to be united by our agreement in the things we love and to give of ourselves unconditionally.