Knowing (Not Explaining) the Trinity

This Sunday is, of course, Trinity Sunday. One problem that we often fall into when it comes to the Trinity is that we are always trying to explain the Trinity. Early Christians did not occupy themselves so much with explaining the Trinity as they did with KNOWING the Trinity. We can KNOW someone or something without fully understanding or being able to explain that someone or something. I KNOW my wife and she KNOWS me but we can’t explain eachother!

So what do we KNOW about the Trinity? We experience God as Father, Son, and Holy Spirit – a loving community; a loving relationship; three Persons in one God. In essence, God IS loving relationship. When we say that “God is love,” we are not describing a trait of God but the essence of God. God is fundamentally relational and involved. We are made in the image and likeness of God. This means that we are called to live in loving relationship with one another and God. We are called to be relational and involved. In other words, when we engage in loving relationship with others, we bear a “family resemblance” to God – Father, Son, and Holy Spirit – in whose image and likeness we are made.

Bottom line is, our goal is not to explain the Trinity. Our goal is to know the Trinity and to live like the Trinity – in loving relationship that resembles the Oneness of God.

Most of what I shared above is inspired by a little pamphlet called A Vision for Pastoral Ministry by Dr. Richard Gaillardetz.

About Joe Paprocki 2742 Articles
Joe Paprocki, DMin, is National Consultant for Faith Formation at Loyola Press, where, in addition to his traveling/speaking responsibilities, he works on the development team for faith formation curriculum resources including Finding God: Our Response to God’s Gifts and God’s Gift: Reconciliation and Eucharist. Joe has more than 35 years of experience in ministry and has presented keynotes, presentations, and workshops in more than 100 dioceses in North America. Joe is a frequent presenter at national conferences including the Los Angeles Religious Education Congress, the Mid-Atlantic Congress, and the National Conference for Catechetical Leadership. He is the author of numerous books, including the best seller The Catechist’s Toolbox, A Church on the Move, Under the Influence of Jesus, and Called to Be Catholic—a bilingual, foundational supplemental program that helps young people know their faith and grow in their relationship with God. Joe is also the series editor for the Effective Catechetical Leader and blogs about his experiences in faith formation at

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