Sunday, May 26, 2013

Trinity Sunday 2013 - Much Better: Go to the Pope's Trinity Sunday in the Parish With the Children and Hearing Confessions

Trinity Sunday
(From “The Trinity As History” by Bruno Forte)
The Exile of the Trinity:

"Is the God of Christians a Christian God?

This question, paradoxical in appearance, arises spontaneously if we consider the manner in which most Christians picture t heir God. They tak of him by referring to some vague divine ‘person,’ more or less identified with the Jesus of the Gospels or with an unidentifiable heavenly being. In prayer they speak to this rather indefinite God while at the same time they find the way the liturgy prays to the Father through Christ in the Holy Spirit a bit strange, not to say abstruse: God is prayed to, but not in!
“It is an undeniable fact that many Christians, ‘notwithstanding their exact profession of the Trinity, are almost alone as “monotheists” in the practice of their religious life. One can even risk claiming that if the Trinity should have to be suppressed as false doctrine, a great part of religious literature could still remain unchanged after this occurrence. The suspicion could arise that, for the catechism of the mind and heart (unlike the printed catechism), the representation of the incarnation on the part of the Christian would not have to change at all if ever there were no Trinity.’”

Blogger: There has been a radical change through the Second Vatican Council. The Trinitarian Persons have become the meaning of the human person by the mediation of Jesus Christ as prototype of man. Until Vatican II, Catholic theology had considered Christ to be an exception to man. Joseph Ratzinger explained  that pre-Christian philosophy  was limited to the level of essence to which I would add that there was due to the epistemological level they worked at, namely, sensible perception and abstract thought. They did not have the experience of transcendent being as in the self going out of self in the act of faith. Reality was always known in categories of conceptual abstraction. Christianity introduced the existential experience of self-transcendence in the act of faith. One can know not only by vision and conceptual abstraction, but also by hearing and accepting the testimony of another which is a stretching of the self to transcendence.This is another epistemological level which reveals another level of reality.

                Ratzinger comments that “Scholastic theology developed categories of existence out of this contribution given by Christian faith to the human mind. Its defect was that it limited these categories to Christology and to the doctrine of the Trinity and did not make them fruitful in the whole extent of spiritual reality. This seems to me also the limit of St. Thomas in the matter, namely, that within theology he operates, with Richard of St. Victor, on the level of existence, but treats the whole thing as a theological exception, as it were. In philosophy, however, he remains faithful to the different approach of pre-Christian philosophy. The contribution of Christian faith to the whole of human thought is not realized; it remains at first detached from it as a theological exception, although it is precisely the meaning of this new element to call into question the whole of human thought and to set it on a new course.”[1]
                Vatican II’s Gaudium et spes #22 corrects this error, affirming: “In reality it is only in the mystery of the Word made flesh that the mystery of man truly becomes clear. For Adam, the first man, was a type of him who was to come, Christ the Lord, Christ the new Adam, in the very revelation of the mystery of the Father and of his love, fully reveals man to himself and brings to light his most high calling. It is no wonder, then, that all the truths mentioned so far should find in him their source and their most perfect embodiment.
                “He who is the ‘image of the invisible God’ (Col. 1, 15), is himself the perfect man who has restored in the children of dam that likeness to God which had been disfigured ever since the first sin. Human nature, bay the very fact that it was assumed, not absorbed, in him, has been raised in us also to a dignity beyond compare. For, by his incarnation, he, the son of God, has in a certain way united himself with each man. He worked with human hands, he thought with a human mind. He acted with a human will, and with a human heart he loved. Born of the Virgin Mary, he has truly been made one of us, like to us in all things except sin.”
                The Trinity enters the human dimension through Jesus Christ and becomes the very meaning of man, and therefore the dynamic of all human existence: sexuality, work, economics, politics, etc. That Trinitarian dimension appears in us by the going out of self which we call supernatural and takes place in the most material and ordinary situations of secular life.

    We can say this differently: The Creator, when thinking man, thought Christ, not Adam. Adam was "a type," but Christ was the "prototype: (Redemptor Hominis #10). Here the bi millennial lacuna of a pagan anthropology is raised to its rightful Christian status as a creative dynamic, an ontological subjectivity, which overturns the total perspective man, work, salvation and society.

   The soteriology now is not an eschatological liberation from sin into a pristine pre-lapsarian state of grace beyond this world,  but identification with the dynamic of Christ living in the here and now creating a secular freedom and autonomy of man through the exercise of work as another Calvary perpetuated by yet another Upper Room. That "upper room" is not now a Catholic institutional "Christendom" but a secular world made increasingly secular - read free and truly autonomous -  by the presence, Love and work of "other Christs" making it so by imaging the Communio of the Trinity in it.

[1] J. Ratzinger, “Concerning the Notion of Person in Theology,” Communio Fall 1990, p. 449.

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