The mystery of the Trinity is definitely that: a mystery who’s depth and range we can never come close to penetrating. But one avenue onto its meaning comes from the question, “How does God relate to us?” This doctrine of the Trinity sheds light on three different ways in which the Divinity enters our lives.
The book of Genesis tells that God is with us as our Creator. God is that certain Someone, there at the beginning, who causes all things not just to be but to continue in being, to be sustained and grow. Putting a flourish on this, the book of Proverbs proclaims that Creator not only looks at us but “delights” in his creation — “plays on the surface of the earth.”(Proverbs 8:30-31) God rejoices in the humans he created.
One way to respond to this “Creator God” is to enter into his delight — taking the time to wonder at the natural world, letting ourselves be bowled over at the spectacle of the stars and sunrises and bursts of flowers in spring. I know a person whose thanksgiving for this happens when she walks along a beach. She marvels at the waves as they rise up and curl and then in a flash fall into themselves with a soft roar. Her early morning stroll becomes a walking thanksgiving.
Besides the Creator God, there is also the Companion God, the Son who in sharing our humanity reaches out to rescue us. This, of course is The Lord Jesus whose dying and rising not only redeems us, but whose words, actions and attitudes give us the model for how to live as a child of God. Our privileged calling is to imitate Him.
Finally, besides the Creator God and the one we are calling the Companion God, there is the here-and-now presence of God whom we know as the Holy Spirit. The Spirit is “God up close,” God alive in us and around us, strengthening, leading us to truth, and holding out the promise of abundant life that lasts forever.
This is but one way to approach the mystery of the Trinity, imagining God as Father and Creator, God as one of us in Jesus, and God as close up to us now as the presence of the Holy Spirit.
One final – and crucial – aspect. God is relational. That is to say, the bond between all 3 persons is none other than the love going back and forth between them. When we come before our God, we step right inside this circle of loving. When we “give God the glory,” we enter into this all creative and rescuing presence which we acknowledge as the Holy Trinity.
In a talk to the Daughters of Charity urging them to live in harmony with one another, St. Vincent calls upon them to “honor the union of the Blessed Trinity by which all order in the world has been made.. and to submit themselves to it.” (Vol 1, p 752)
God Father, Son, and Spirit is mystery. But it is the overflowing mystery into which all of us are lovingly invited.