The Awe-Inspiring Mystery of it All (Trinity)

The eleven disciples went to Galilee, to the mountain to which Jesus had ordered them. When they saw him, they worshipped, but they doubted. Then Jesus approached and said to them, “All power in heaven and on earth has been given to me. Go, therefore, and make disciples of all nations, baptising them in the name of our God, Source of All-Being, and of the Word and of the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all that I have commanded you; and lo, I am with you always, to the end of the ages.” (Matthew 28: 16 – 20)

It is said that in the midst of his 30-year struggle to write his treatise on the Holy Trinity, de Trinitate, the great saint and Doctor of the church Augustine took a walk by the seashore to clear his mind. He noticed a boy using a sea shell to carry water from the ocean to a small hole in the sane where he dumped it. Augustine, bishop of Hippo at the time, asked the boy what he was doing. “I am emptying the sea into this hole” they boy replied. Augustine smiled. “I’m afraid that is impossible, my child. This hole couldn’t possibly contain the vast ocean.”

The boy looked deeply into the eyes of Augustine and said, “And it is also impossible for you to understand the vast Trinity with your small mind.” Taken aback, Augustine looked to the horizon to ponder the boy’s words. When he looked back, the boy had vanished. Because of this great story, the sea shell has become a symbol of Saint Augustine and of the study of Theology.

It is well and good that we ponder the mysteries of faith as well as the mysteries of the universe. It is well and good that we debate, that we explore, that we discover, even that we doubt at times. But we should never forget that our individual consciousnesses is not capable of conceiving or containing the fullness of truth. At the end of the day, awe is the only proper response to the greatest mysteries.

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