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  • Writer's pictureThe Hermit of Antipolo

The Trinity and Family (The Triune God Part 3)

“The holy Spirit will come upon you,

and the power of the Most High will overshadow you.

Therefore the child to be born will be called holy,

the Son of God.”

(Luke 1:35)

Salvation is the work of God. More particularly, salvation is the work of the Trinity, the three Persons in one God.

First you have the Creator. God created the heavens and the earth (Gen 1:1) and also the first man and woman (Gen 1:27). God gave them dominion over His creation (Gen 1:28b). God placed them in the garden of Eden. This was paradise, where everything was provided for them. Here there was no darkness, pain, tears, sickness, affliction or death. They walked with and related to God directly. God’s plan was for them to live eternally with him. But sin entered and paradise was lost. God punished our first parents, but spoke prophetically of a Savior who would crush the head of the serpent (Gen 3:15). God’s intent is to bring us back to Himself, to restore us to paradise. Thus God sent His own Son into the world, to win for us our salvation. Salvation, resulting in the fullness of life with Him, is in accordance with the plan of the Creator-God from the very beginning.

Then you have the Redeemer. He is our Lord Jesus Christ. He is the God who actually came down to earth, became man, and went to the cross for us. By his death and resurrection, he conquered the enemy, sin and death. He has given us new life. In him we experience our salvation.

Finally you have the Sanctifier. He is the Holy Spirit. It is He who makes real for us the presence of Jesus in our lives. Jesus had promised his disciples, when he issued his Great Commission, that he would be with them “always, until the end of the age.” (Mt 28:20b). Jesus does this by his Spirit, by which he has baptized his disciples (Acts 1:5). It is the Holy Spirit who empowers us for mission. Jesus said, “But you will receive power when the holy Spirit comes upon you, and you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem, throughout Judea and Samaria, and to the ends of the earth.” (Acts 1:8). The Sanctifier enables us to live holy lives, by which we can truly become witnesses to the world. The Holy Spirit sends us forth on mission. In the book of Acts, we see that it was the Holy Spirit who set apart Barnabas and Saul for the work to which He called them (Acts 13:2), and sent them off on mission to Seleucia and to Cyprus (Acts 13:4). On the other hand, the Holy Spirit prevented Paul and Timothy from preaching the message in the province of Asia and from going on into Bithynia (Acts 16:6-7). It is the Sanctifier who allows and directs the work of evangelization to proceed.

Now all the above descriptions of each of the three Persons of the Trinity relate to their function in the Godhead. It is about what they do. But what is more important is who they are. Here is how we then describe the three Persons of the Trinity.

First you have the Father. Jesus reveals God as a Father. We are all His children.

Then you have the Son. He is Jesus. He is our brother.

Finally you have the Holy Spirit, which is the love that binds Father and Son together. Without love, then a father and a son are only two people who are related by blood to each other, but do not make a true family. Without love, the place where father and son live is only a house, a structure of residence, and not a home. It is love that makes a family and a home.

What does the above tell us? The Trinity is a family! There is a Father, there is a Son, and there is the love that binds them together, which is what makes for a true family.

So even in the Godhead, we see the great importance of family. God has revealed Himself not just as Creator, Redeemer and Sanctifier, but as a family! In God we see the intimate connection between evangelization (or salvation) and family. In what God does, He is about the work of salvation. In who God is, He is about family. Salvation and family go together.

Now in our human experience, whenever we talk of family there are important persons involved. In the revelation of God as family—with Father, Son and the love that binds them together, we seem to be missing a crucial person. Yes, it is a mother!

So who is needed to complete the picture? It is Mary. Thus we look to the Divine Family composed of the Trinity plus Mary. God is our Father, Jesus is our brother, and Mary is our mother. Of course, we are all bound together by love that is the Holy Spirit.

In all this, Mary is so unique. There are many great saints, there are many who reflect the very holiness of God in their lives, but there is only one person who relates so intimately with the three Persons of the Godhead. We are all children of God, but Mary is so much more. She is the daughter of the Father, she is the spouse of the Holy Spirit, and she is the mother of the Son. Among all human beings in the world, only she relates to God in all these familial ways—as child, as spouse, and as parent.

Mary is the common denominator in relating to God in the work of salvation and in our experience of family.

* * *

Note: This is taken from my new booklet “Mary in the Work of Evangelization and Family Renewal.”

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