Are You Smarter than a Fifth-Grader?
Archdiocese of Washington: Year of Faith series
Dominican Brothers of the Province of St. Joseph
Our faith begins with God. We sometimes forget that. For all the discussions and debates that Christians can get lost in, we sometimes forget that our belief is rooted in God.
Blessed Pope John Paul II once proclaimed that our generation engages in a fundamental struggle, which is whether we believe in God or not. Love, as it is said, requires a self-emptying.
A teacher I know once asked this question to a student who wondered out loud whether he believed in God or not: “Do you believe that life is more than meets the eye?” she asked.
People of faith – and even atheists – are captivated by the fact that there is one Being who is the creator and the sustainer of the entire universe.
That same teacher said it this way: the first step to believing in God follows closely the second step, which is realizing that you are not God!
Today’s “Are You Smarter than a Fifth-Grader?” question asks: what is the central mystery of the Catholic Faith?
While (A) Grace, (B) the Incarnation, and (C) the Hypostatic Union identify something unique about Christianity and of Jesus Christ, (D) the mystery of the Trinity, is the central mystery of our Faith, which speaks of the very life of God in Himself.
The Trinity is the mystery of one God in three Persons: Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. We know about the Trinity because God has revealed Himself to us.
The Trinity can only be distinguished according to the Persons. It is false, for instance, to replace the identification “Father, Son, and Holy Spirit” with “Creator, Redeemer, and Sanctifier.”
The Trinity reveals how God is in Himself. Our God is a Living God, who exhibits both knowledge and love. His inner essence is dynamic, we might say, in that this knowledge and love exists in His inner Being. God knows Himself in the Son. The Holy Spirit is, we might say, the love that exists between the Father and the Son.
The Incarnate Son of God, who is Jesus Christ, fully manifests God. Jesus says in John’s Gospel, “I am in the Father and the Father is in me.” (Jn 14:9 ff.)
We can know and love God by the grace given to us in Christ Jesus. The grace of faith joins us to God such that we are joined, in heart and mind, to His inner life. Faith accomplishes this in this life, with the goal of heaven – the Beatific Vision – where we may one day see God face to face. To know and to love God now and in heaven fills the human heart with greater happiness than we can ever imagine, which is like unto God Himself.
Join us on December 20th for our next “Are You Smarter than a Fifth-Grader?” post.
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