Ecclesiasticus 4:28

"Fight to the death for truth, and the Lord God will war on your side."

Ora pro nobis,

Most Blessed Virgin Mary, St. Francis de Sales, St. Thomas Aquinas, and St. Dominic. Amen.

Sunday, May 30, 2010

The Trinity: Letters to Eric (Part 7)

The Love of God

The love of God is greater far
Than tongue or pen can ever tell;
It goes beyond the highest star,
And reaches to the lowest hell;
The guilty pair, bowed down with care,
God gave His Son to win;
His erring child He reconciled,
And pardoned from his sin.

O love of God, how rich and pure!
How measureless and strong!
It shall forevermore endure
The saints’ and angels’ song.

When years of time shall pass away,
And earthly thrones and kingdoms fall,
When men, who here refuse to pray,
On rocks and hills and mountains call,
God’s love so sure, shall still endure,
All measureless and strong;
Redeeming grace to Adam’s race
The saints’ and angels’ song.


Could we with ink the ocean fill,
And were the skies of parchment made,
Were every stalk on earth a quill,
And every man a scribe by trade,
To write the love of God above,
Would drain the ocean dry.
Nor could the scroll contain the whole,
Though stretched from sky to sky.

Dear Eric,
You asked me to Google the words to this hymn, because it would speak to what you're saying. I love this hymn. And yes, we cannot fathom the depth of God's love for us, but we can know what that love is, even if we don't know its size. Moreover, it speaks precisely to what I have said, as it declares that God's love is shown through our redemption--that is, in seeking our Good by reconciling us to Him, our ultimate Good.

Earlier, I argued that God's Love necessitates His being Trinity, claiming that this same argument was made by the Early Church Fathers. To this, you ask simply, "What if they were wrong?"

If the Early Church Fathers were wrong, then Jesus either didn't mean what He said about the Church not defecting into error, or was powerless to keep His promise (cf. Matt 16:18). Then the Bible itself is wrong about the Church being the pillar and foundation of the Truth (1 Tim 3:15).

While the Trinity was indeed a new concept to the Early Church, the Spirit was then, as He is now, guiding the Church into all truth. He preserves the Church from erring when it makes official claims about doctrine and morals that are binding on all people. That's what the "keys" represent, biblically--the power to declare doctrines to be binding on people, necessary to be believed and followed. The fact that Jesus says that what is bound and loosed on earth is bound and loosed in heaven means that the Church cannot incorrectly bind falsehood on people. That doesn't mean that whatever the Church "makes up" is automatically true, in the sense that the Church has the authority to change reality on a whim. Rather, it means that the Church is protected by the Holy Spirit from binding error on people. This is the only interpretation of Matthew 16:19 that makes sense.

While privately, yes, the leaders of the Church could make mistakes, when as a whole the bishops of the Church, with the Pope (the bishop of Rome) as their head, "used the keys" to define doctrine, then the Holy Spirit did prevent them from making mistakes. Otherwise, the Church could not truly be called the pillar and foundation of truth.

You ask whether God might want to use this discussion to reveal the Trinity to the world. I would never be so presumptuous as to claim anything like that. Especially since all I am really saying is regurgitating what the Church has taught throughout the ages. The most I can and will ever hope for is to help someone to better understand what the Church has always taught since the beginning until now.

There's a big difference between explaining something so everyone can understand, and receiving new revelation about that thing, which is why I hope ardently for being able to explain it better, but outright reject the notion that God would specially reveal new truth to me.

I hope that makes a bit of sense to you.
God bless
on the Feast of the Most Holy Trinity

(Category: Theology Proper: The Holy Trinity.)

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