Friday, March 17, 2006

The Shamrock And The Blessed Trinity


When St. Patrick went to try to convert the pagans in Ireland, he focused on the Trinity. One of the most famous symbols of the Trinity, inadequate, of course, as is every symbol of a profound mystery, was St. Patrick's use of the shamrock. One shamrock, three leaves on the one stem, yet only one shamrock. This was a poor example, but the best he could do, for three persons in one God, the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit.

Many, many years later, never having forgotten that, when the Irish wrote their constitution in 1927 it began, "In the name of the Most Holy Trinity from whom is all authority and to whom, as our final end, all actions both of men and states must be referred." Why did St. Patrick teach the Trinity to people who had hardly, at best, heard of the one true God? Because there was raging at that day what was called the Arian heresy, a denial of the divinity of Christ, one of the most pernicious, enduring heresies through all the ages.

We have it all over again today. You read magazine articles, you read about various seminars in which they are debating the divinity of Christ. Once you deny the divinity of Christ, everything falls apart. What are we receiving when we receive Holy Communion? We say we receive the totality of Christ, body and soul, humanity and divinity. We say that Christ is the Second Person of the Blessed Trinity, true God, true man. Christ said this about himself when he was teaching here on earth. He said, "I and the Father are one. Who sees me sees the Father. As the Father has sent me, I also send you. Going therefore teach all nations, baptizing them [How? In my name? No. In the Father's name? No.] in the name of the Father, and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit." The reality of the Trinity was so crucial that Christ died because of his preaching. As soon as Christ said to the enemies of the day, "the Father and I are one," he was signing his own death warrant.

(Cardinal O'Connor's homily on Trinity Sunday)


Happy St. Patrick's Day!

Here are some good links for today's feast day:

A brief biography of the Patron Saint of Ireland
St. Patrick's Prayer
This day I call to me:
God's strength to direct me,
God's power to sustain me,
God's wisdom to guide me,
God's vision to light me,
God's ear to my hearing,
God's word to my speaking,
God's hand to uphold me,
God's pathway before me,
God's shield to protect me,
God's legions to save me.

(From My School Online)


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