“I have much more to tell you, but you cannot bear it now” (John 16:12).
Christians approach the mystery of the Trinity with three assumptions. The first is that our faith is not based on reason but on revelation. God initiated a relationship with us that we respond to by faith seeking understanding. We come to God not by logic but as believers who already accept that God is the Creator of the Universe, and that God is not an impersonal force but a Person who created us in the divine image as persons. Jesus is the ultimate person, both divine and human, the visible face of the invisible God. Jesus is the eternal Word and Wisdom, the feminine genius of God at play within Creation. Mother of all the living.
Second, everything we know about God we learned from Jesus. His life, death and resurrection were the breakthrough revelation that made believers of his disciples, who encountered him not just as an extraordinary historical figure but as their “Lord and God.” They witnessed the stunning truth that the God of the Hebrew Bible had come among them as a human being to reveal the goal of history.
Third, we accept the authority of the New Testament as both narrative and theological reflection on this witness. From St Paul’s letters to the mysticism of John’s Gospel, the early Christian community came gradually to an articulation of who Jesus was and what he revealed about God. And because Jesus said he was in intimate relationship with God as his Abba through the power of their Holy Spirit, we believe without comprehending that God is a community of three distinct Persons. We hold this to be true because God revealed it to the believing community, the church.
Jesus revealed God as Trinity, and we see the reflection of the Trinity in ourselves. Humanity is diversity moving toward unity, a single family made up of many peoples learning to live in harmony, justice and love. Our human journey has a divine destiny—life with God. Therefore, historical forces that impede this process violate the innate human longing for peace and unity. Sowers of division and hate sin against the Holy Spirit. Even so, the ultimate harvest of holiness will bring history home to God.
If this seems incredible or impossible, then we understand why Jesus called the divine dream something we cannot bear yet. Only the Spirit can lift us out of despair and give us hope. This is the promise given to the church. If we keep our eyes on the prize, we will see Jesus, and to see Jesus is to know the community of God already dwelling within us.