Once again, we find ourselves in this unusual time in the liturgical year. We are now out of the Easter Season, which spans quite a long period of time over seven weeks, and are just beginning the second part of what we call Ordinary Time, where we have, more or less, a continuous reading of one of the Gospels (in this year’s case, we are reading the Gospel according to St. Matthew.) What makes this part of the liturgical year confusing is that on the Sundays at the very start of the liturgical season of Ordinary Time, we have two special Sundays, each devoted to two essential elements of what we believe as Catholics — this Sunday, we celebrate the Most Blessed Trinity and next we celebrate the Solemnity of the Most Holy Body and Blood of Christ, more commonly known as Corpus Christi.

Why would we as a Church beginning the liturgical season of Ordinary Time want to begin again after the season of Easter with the commemoration of the Most Blessed Trinity this week (and next week with Corpus Christi, a topic which we will discuss in next week’s column)? Perhaps for this reason — at the very beginning of this new season, we want to reorient ourselves back to what is the most basic, most essential aspect of our faith, what makes us distinctively Christian. And what is that? Nothing less than belief in God who is Father, Son and Holy Spirit. The Catechism of the Catholic Church No. 234 states: “The mystery of the Most Holy Trinity is the central mystery of Christian faith and life. It is the mystery of God in himself. It is therefore the source of all the other mysteries of faith, the light that enlightens them. It is the most fundamental and essential teaching in the ‘hierarchy of the truths of faith.’ ” The whole history of salvation is identical with the history of the way and the means by which the one true God, Father, Son and Holy Spirit, reveals himself to men “and reconciles and unites with himself those who turn away from sin.”

However, in the life of most Christians, there is a lived dilemma. The 20th Century German Jesuit Karl Rahner, in his text The Trinity (published in English in 1970), described Christians in their daily, practical lives as “almost mere ‘monotheists,’ ” (10), stating that: “We must be willing to admit that, should the doctrine of the Trinity have to be dropped as false, the major part of religious literature could well remain virtually unchanged.” (10-11). This is a harsh statement by the theologian, designed to entice his readers into more fully delving into the mystery of the Triune God, but, by and large, he is correct.

How much does the fact that the God of Jesus Christ, the God in whom we believe in One and yet Three, really affect our lived spiritual life? How much does the notion of God as the Most Blessed Trinity really affect our daily lives, in prayer, work, study and service? If the Trinity is a mystery, one that we as human beings can never truly grasp in our earthly lives, why should it matter? What practical effects does our belief in the Trinity have in our lives, right here, right now?

Yes, the Most Blessed Trinity is a mystery. We can never fully comprehend the Godhead. Yet, in our daily lives, we experience the working of the Persons of the Most Blessed Trinity time and again. In fact, in the Church, through the sacrament of Baptism, we are made adopted children of God the Father, through Christ his Son, in the power of the Holy Spirit.

Existing from all eternity, God is. He is Father, Son and Holy Spirit, one God, three Persons, equal in power, equal in majesty. From all eternity, God the Father and God the Son gaze in love upon each other and that look of love and knowledge is so great, so intense, so mutual, so reciprocal, that also from all eternity the bond of love and knowledge that is the Holy Spirit is also present. This divine circle of love and knowledge is so great that it spills out and, from that intense love, all of reality is created. We are called to a life of communion with the Most Blessed Trinity. We desire that companionship with each other and we find it in the Church.

Far from an abstraction, the doctrine of the Most Blessed Trinity is actually one of the most practical in all of our faith. Even if we have the basic necessities of life, we still need communion — both with God, who is a Communion of love in Himself, and with each other.

The Church, the Mystical Body of Christ, is the place where we can find that communion, both with God and with each other. May she be healed of all wounds and division so as to allow the Lord, the true Lumen Gentium (Light of the People), to radiate that communion to the whole world.