Text is taken from The Saint Andrew Daily Missal,
unless otherwise stated.
Double of The First-Class.
The Most Holy Trinity supported by the Thrones.
Illustration: UNA VOCE OF ORANGE COUNTY
In the second part of the year, the six months from Trinity to Advent, The Holy Ghost, whose Reign begins at Pentecost, comes to repeat to us what Our Lord, Himself, has taught us in the first part, the six months from Advent to Trinity Sunday.
The fundamental Truth, on which everything in The Christian Religion rests, is the Dogma of The Holy Trinity, from Whom all comes (Epistle), and to Whom all Baptised in His name must return (Gospel). In the course of the Cycle, having called to our minds in order, God The Father, Author of Creation, God The Son, Author of Redemption, and God The Holy Ghost, Author of our Sanctification, The Church, today, before all else, recapitulates the great Mystery by which we acknowledge and adore The Unity of Nature and Trinity of Persons in Almighty God (Collect).
"As soon as we have celebrated the coming of The Holy Ghost," says Abbot Rupert, in the 12th-Century, "we hail in song The Feast of The Holy Trinity, the following Sunday, a place in the Calendar well chosen, for immediately after the Descent of The Holy Ghost, Preaching and Conversion began and Faith through Baptism and Confession in the Name of The Father and of The Son and of The Holy Ghost."
The Dogma of The Holy Trinity is affirmed, in the Liturgy, on every hand. It is in the Name of The Father and of The Son and of The Holy Ghost that we begin and end The Mass and The Divine Office, and that we confer The Sacraments. All the Psalms end with the Gloria, the Hymns with the Doxology, and the Prayers by a Conclusion in honour of the Three Divine Persons. Twice during The Mass, we are reminded that it is to The Holy Trinity that The Mass is being offered.
The Dogma of The Trinity is expressed in the very fabric of our Churches. Our fathers delighted to find a symbol of it in the admirably proportioned height, breadth, and length of these buildings, in their primary and secondary divisions; the Sanctuary, the Choir and Nave; the Ground-Floor, the Triforium and the Clerestory; the three Entrances, three Doors, three Bays, three Gables, and often three Towers.
On every hand, even to the smallest detail of decoration, the number three, repeated frequently, denotes a well-conceived plan and a profound Faith in The Blessed Trinity.
The same thought is expressed in Christian iconography, in various ways. Up to the 12th-Century, God The Father is represented by a hand, emerging from the clouds in Blessing and often surrounded by a Nimbus [Editor: Halo] containing a Cross. By this hand is symbolised Divine Omnipotence. In 13th- and 14th-Century work, one sees the face and then the figure of The Father. From the 15th-Century, The Father is represented as an old man in the garb of a Pontiff.
Up to the 12th-Century, God The Son was at first represented by a Cross, by a Lamb, or, again, by a gracious youth, in the same way that Apollo was represented in the pagan world. From the 11th- to the 16th-Century, Christ appears bearded and in the prime of life. From the 13th-Century, He is seen carrying The Cross and often He is depicted as The Lamb.
The Holy Ghost was, at first, represented under the form of a dove, whose outspread wings often touched the mouths of both Father and Son to show that He proceeds from both. For the same reason, from the 11th-Century He is depicted as a little child. In the 13th-Century, He is a youth, in the 15th- He is a man of ripe age, like The Father and The Son, but with a dove above His head or in His hand to distinguish Him from the other Two Persons.
Since the 16th-Century, the dove and the fiery tongues are the only representations of The Holy Ghost. Quite recently, it was expressly forbidden to represent Him under a human form. Since 1628 was also forbidden the monstrous picture of three faces on one body.
As a symbol of The Trinity, the triangle has been borrowed from geometry, depicting by its form The Divine Unity in which are inscribed three angles, expressing The Three Persons in God. Trefoil plants, as Shamrock and Clover, serve to represent this Great Mystery, as also do three circles interwoven, with the word "Unity" inscribed in the central space belonging to all three.
A Miniature of the 16th-Century represents The Father and Son as like each other, with the same Nimbus, the same Triple Crown, the hair worn in the same way and a single cloak drawing them close together. Further, they are united by the same Book of Divine Wisdom as well as by The Holy Ghost, who joins one to the other by the ends of His wings. But The Father is older than The Son, and the beard of the one is pointed, while that of the other is round.
The Father wears a Robe, without a Girdle, and carries the globe of the Earth in His hand, while The Son, as a Priest, wears an Alb, with Cincture and Stole.
The Feast of The Holy Trinity owes its origin to the fact that the Ordinations of the Ember Saturday, which took place in the evening, were prolonged to the next day, which was Sunday and which had no Proper Liturgy.
As this day is Consecrated throughout the year to The Most Holy Trinity, The Votive Mass, composed in the 7th-Century to celebrate this Mystery, was said on the First Sunday after Pentecost; and, since it occupied a fixed place in The Liturgical Calendar, this Mass was considered as establishing this Sunday as a special Feast of The Blessed Trinity.
Stephen, Bishop of Liége, who was born about 850 A.D., composed, in the 10th-Century, its Office, which was revised later on by The Franciscans.
The Feast was, in 1334, extended to The Universal Church by Pope John XXII and made a Double of The First-Class by Pope Saint Pius X.
That we may ever be armed against all adversity, let us, today, with The Liturgy, make our Solemn Profession of Faith in The Holy and Eternal Trinity and His indivisible Unity.
Every Parish Priest Celebrates Mass for the people of his Parish.