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The Holy Trinity, the Great Commandment and the unholy con-ass

Sunday, 07 June 2009 00:00

The Cappadocian Fathers develop the same idea of God’s essence through the concept of relationality. We can try to decipher God by listing attributes of God as the Greek philosophers did: omnipotent, omniscient, immutable (cannot change), impassible (cannot suffer). But these attributes, while true and important in underscoring the oneness of God, are insufficient. They can lead us to conceptualize God as a monad, existing from all eternity, self-sufficient in heaven and detached from the world. The oneness of God is complemented by the threefold personhood of God, which emphasizes God’s relationality. An ancient doctrine beautifully describes the inter-relationships among the three persons of the Trinity as perichoresis — an eternal dance of self-emptying love among Father, Son and Spirit. From all eternity, the three persons give themselves totally to each other in love. Moreover, from the creation of the cosmos to the crib and cross of Christ God has revealed God’s essence as self-emptying Love. As Robert Barron writes, “Love is the deepest name of God.”

Vindication and victory of love

An Amazing Story. Upon learning from Mary Magdalene that the tomb of Jesus was empty, Peter and the beloved disciple rush to their master’s burial site. Peter sees the burial cloths and is dumbfounded. Unable to make sense of the missing body of Jesus, he stares at the wrappings in confusion. The beloved sees the same phenomenon, but is astounded. He believes Jesus is risen. 

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