Last Updated: Friday - 09/24/2010
Week of February 4, 2002
Our prayer to the Trinity
By FR. JOHN SPICER
"Glory be to the Father, and to the Son, and to the Holy Spirit, as it was in the beginning, is now, and ever shall be, world without end. Amen."
Though the "Glory Be," as we sometimes refer to it, is amongst the shortest of familiar prayers it is, in a certain sense, the greatest of prayers. For it has to do with the innermost nature of God, the Trinity, the most profound of all revealed mysteries.
Though the Old Testament only refers to God as one person, it does foreshadow the Trinity by speaking of God as "Spirit" and as "Wisdom." It also uses the term "sons of God."
In the New Testament, the Trinity comes through more clearly. In Matthew 28:19 we read that converts were baptized "in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit."
The precise doctrine of Trinity, however, was only formulated in the fourth century.
With the above introduction being made, we can now grope our way to an understanding of what this prayer means.
Mysteries, as I've mentioned before, are doors to the sacred. We enter them and proceed to take in as much of their breathtaking reality as we can grasp.
As time goes on and our faith deepens, mysteries of faith will yield ever more understanding as well as ever more consolation. We go on now to enter the Trinity door.
"Glory be to the Father, and to the Son, and to the Holy Spirit." As creatures we owe praise and glory to our Creator. We are surrounded by an amazing universe. We see breathtaking sunrises and sunsets, great rivers and small streams, lovely hills and towering mountains. And everywhere there are myriads of life forms, plants and animals galore.
And above all there's ourselves, made in God's image. As such we are the peak of this earthly creation and are as it were, its voice. So we give "glory" to God. We do so by acknowledging God for being God and for the life given to us and to all creatures on earth.
This then is our supreme challenge - giving glory to God.
But God, as we know, is Trinity, three divine persons in the one Godhead, Father, Son and Spirit. A deep mystery indeed! How can we approach it?
The Catechism of the Catholic Church, quoting from an early Church council, says this about the Trinity, "It is the Father who generates, the Son who is begotten, and the Holy Spirit who proceeds" (n. 254).
We humans think in terms of time, hence we are liable to say that in the above process the Father came first, and then the Son and Spirit. But not so. In the Godhead there is no time, only eternity. From all eternity the three divine persons existed simultaneously, all equally God.
Copyright © 1998, 1999, 2000, 2001, 2002, 2003, 2004, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2008, 2009 -- Western Catholic Reporter
Our mission: To serve our readers by bringing the Gospel to bear on current issues in the Church and in secular culture through accurate news coverage and reflective commentary.