Relating to God Personally — Pentecost Sunday

In the Old Testament, the truth that God is a unity of three persons, that God is triune, that God is a Trinity, was only obscurely presented. The knowledge that God consists Father, Son, and Holy Spirit, only became clear to us through Jesus Christ. Our one true God has always been three persons: the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit.

Now the Father is not Jesus Christ. Jesus is not the Holy Spirit. And the Spirit is not our Father. They are distinct persons. Yet, at the same time, each possesses the fullness of divinity: perfect goodness, perfect beauty, perfect knowledge, and perfect power, perfect mercy, and perfect love. We do not worship three gods, but three eternal persons who comprise one God. There is no God apart from these divine persons.

Sometimes we say we are “praying to God,” and that is well and good. But when we are “praying to God” we should not imagine that we are speaking to some fourth person, to some divine abstraction above or beyond the three. If you don’t know which divine person you have been praying to at such times, you have been praying to the Father, through the Son, in the Holy Spirit. (Notice how the prayers in the Mass are always addressed to particular divine persons; usually the Father, but sometimes the Son.)

If you have been a Christian who has always directed your prayers some abstract Christian divinity, who is neither Father, Son, nor Spirit, I trust that your prayers have still been heard within the Trinity. And if you have never related to the Holy Spirit as a real person who knows and wills and loves, but only as some abstract force, I am confident that He has blessed you with His gifts and produced His fruits in you even without your asking. But Christianity is all about loving communion with  persons. Not forces, not abstractions, but persons: persons human, angelic, and divine.

Do you have a personal relationship with each of the persons of the Trinity; with Jesus Christ, with our heavenly Father, and with the Holy Spirit? If not, then it’s important that you begin to cultivate these relationships in prayer, for we are called to love God, and only persons can be truly loved.

On this Pentecost Sunday, we recall the gift of the person of the Holy Spirit to the Church. The Holy Spirit does not begrudge it when we ask Him for good things, for ourselves and for others; no, He is pleased when we ask and pleased to give. Gift is who the Holy Spirit is. But today and henceforth let us always speak to Him and the other divine persons in a personal way with a great personal love.


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