One of the most familiar things we do as Catholics is to make the sign of the cross in the name of The Father, The Son and the Holy Spirit. For Christians this is the name of God, The Trinity. Whenever we go to Mass we are gathered in that name and at the end we are blessed and sent in that name. We are baptised into the name of Father, Son and Spirit and throughout our lives that threefold name accompanies us. The ancient gaelic prayers see it as an encompassing, so that all our life is gathered into the Trinity.
The strength of the Triune be our shield in distress
The strength of Christ, His peace and His Pasch,
The strength of the Spirit, Physician and health,
And of the precious Father the King of grace.
This binding of the Name is no empty or ritualistic formula but the proclamation of the heart of Christian life and faith.
The name we give to God, The Trinity, marks the depth and height of the Christian knowledge and experience of who God is. It is completely unique to Christianity. Too often our understanding and experience of God as Trinity is dismissed as a mystery or presented as some sort of paradox or conundrum: ‘three persons, one God.’ Now, of course, God is the absolute mystery of our lives and because we, as finite creatures, have only very limited ways of expressing the transcendent glory of God’s Trinitarian life, we have to remember that our language must be humble, partial and inadequate. If it were not then it could not speak truthfully of the reality of God who cannot be contained within our speech. The point of our attempting to put this luminous, holy reality into the poor rags of language is not to obscure but to point the way – the way from thinking and speaking to the life of the mystery itself. So, when we speak of the Trinity as a mystery we do not mean that we should not think or speak about it but rather that its meaning is inexhaustible. On the contrary, then, we can never be done thinking and speaking and coming to an adoring wonder that we have been given such an extraordinary vision of God’s own life. So what do we mean when we say ‘three persons, one God’? Well, we’re not talking arithmetic. If we are then, clearly, we’re going to get into trouble and our Trinity will seem nonsensical.