The teachings contained in this chapter are based on Holy Scriptures, the Tradition of the Catholic Church [especially the First and Second Vatican Councils, The Catechism of the Catholic Church (CCC), the Fathers of the Church (especially St. Thomas Aquinas and St. Augustine)], the Magisterium of the Catholic Church (especially Saint Pope Paul VI, Saint Pope John Paul II, Pope Benedict XVI, and Pope Francis). All Apostolic Encyclicals and Letters are found on the Vatican Website: Vatican
The limitations and errors of human mind: Many people are torn by the idea that there are many religions in our world. They wonder, “If there is only one God, why do we have several different religions that often contradict each other?” It is not supposed to be so because, even though God is one and there is only one truth about God, people are still capable of creating their own ideas often wrong about God. They start their own religion against what God planned and revealed from the beginning in and through Jesus Christ.
“Co-existence” of religions is a true fact but a false principle: The statement that we see displayed on car stickers “co-exist” (indicating that all religions should co-exist) is totally unacceptable. Just because these religions “co-exist” as a fact in our world does not imply that it is God’s intention for them to co-exist. The reason lies in the fact that there is only one truth about God and this truth is exclusive by nature and character. Pope Benedict VI confirms that their co-existence is a fact but not a principle: “The Church’s constant missionary proclamation is endangered today by relativistic theories which seek to justify religious pluralism, not only de facto but also de iure (or in principle).” (Pope Benedict VI, Dominus Iesus, 4)
Respecting others’ opinion does not justify religious pluralism: Today’s culture that tends to respect people’s opinion about God should never ignore the fact that these opinions are subjective not necessarily objective. Many different people with many different ideas cannot all be right. There is only one objective truth about God revealed through Jesus Christ and lived in the one Catholic Church for the salvation of humanity. Pope Benedict VI firmly states: “With the coming of the Saviour Jesus Christ, God has willed that the Church founded by him be the instrument for the salvation of all humanity.” (cf. Acts 17:30-31). This truth of faith does not lessen the sincere respect which the Church has for the religions of the world, but at the same time, it rules out, in a radical way, that mentality of indifferentism “characterized by a religious relativism which leads to the belief that ‘one religion is as good as another’.” (Dominus Iesus, 22)
The One Catholic Universal faith is not the result of many different religions coming together: The truth of the Catholic faith as revealed by God rejects any ‘parallel’ teachings. The one truth of the Catholic faith is not the sum of several teachings of many religious coming together. Drawing upon multiple theories, styles, or ideas to gain complementary insights into a fake religious pluralism is unacceptable. Pope Benedict VI strongly rejects “the eclecticism of those who, in theological research, uncritically absorb ideas from a variety of philosophical and theological contexts without regard for consistency, systematic connection, or compatibility with Christian truth.” (Pope Benedict VI, Dominus Iesus, 4)
The One Catholic Universal faith has no parallel in other religions: Whatever is true in other religions is a sharing in the one true catholic faith; it is not a parallel teaching. The revelation of God in the Catholic Church has no parallel or completing revelation. There is one unique divine revelation by number, character, and nature: “As a remedy for this relativistic mentality, which is becoming ever more common, it is necessary above all to reassert the definitive and complete character of the revelation of Jesus Christ. In fact, it must be firmly believed that, in the mystery of Jesus Christ, the Incarnate Son of God, who is ‘the way, the truth, and the life’”(Jn 14:6), the full revelation of divine truth is given. (Dominus Iesus, 5).
The One Catholic Universal faith must be missionary by nature: Before Pope Benedict VI, Saint Pope John Paul II, in the most emphatic way, confirms that the Church is missionary by nature because she possesses God’s full self revelation: “In this definitive Word of his revelation, God has made himself known in the fullest possible way. He has revealed to mankind who he is. This definitive self-revelation of God is the fundamental reason why the Church is missionary by her very nature. She cannot do other than proclaim the Gospel, that is, the fullness of the truth which God has enabled us to know about himself.” (Redemptoris Missio, 5). Vatican II has already summarized this teaching by saying: “The Christian dispensation, therefore, as the new and definitive covenant, will never pass away, and we now await no further new public revelation before the glorious manifestation of our Lord Jesus Christ.” (Vatican II, Dei verbum, 2)
The One Catholic Universal faith is exclusive by character: Not only theologically, but philosophically and logically two contradictory realities cannot co-exist in the same entity (if a house is white it cannot be black at the same time). So if two religions have two beliefs that are opposite (like God is a Trinity of Persons and God is one person), how can they be both true? And how can God reveal something false about himself? There is one truth about God and one religion that he intended to establish: the Catholic faith. Pope Benedict VI rejects “relativistic attitudes toward truth itself, according to which what is true for some would not be true for others…Therefore, the theory of the limited, incomplete, or imperfect character of the revelation of Jesus Christ, which would be complementary to that found in other religions, is contrary to the Church’s faith.” (Pope Benedict VI, Dominus Iesus, 4 and 6)
Non-Catholic religions have some elements of truth: The Catholic faith, and only the Catholic faith, teaches the fullness of truth about God and the world. Other religions share in that truth to some extend. The Catholic Church accepts only those truths which are in common with her teachings. In a way only known to God, those truths existing in other religions are in relation to the one true catholic faith. Vatican II states: “The Catholic Church rejects nothing of what is true and holy in these religions. She has a high regard for the manner of life and conduct, the precepts and teachings, which, although differing in many ways from her own teaching, nonetheless often reflect a ray of that truth which enlightens all men.” (Second Vatican Council, Nostra Aetate, 2)
Only the Person of Jesus Christ reveals the entire truth about God: Since Jesus Christ exclusively reveals the one truth about God, all elements of truth in other religions have necessarily their ultimate source in Jesus Christ. People of other religions who are nourished by their own faith are related to Christ in a way only known to God. The errors of their limited mind as they don’t know the Catholic faith does not hinder God from communicating to them the grace of the Incarnate Christ. Pope Benedict VI says: “Nevertheless, God, who desires to call all peoples to himself in Christ and to communicate to them the fullness of his revelation and love, “does not fail to make himself present in many ways, not only to individuals, but also to entire peoples through their spiritual riches, of which their religions are the main and essential expression even when they contain ‘gaps, insufficiencies and errors’. Therefore, the sacred books of other religions, which in actual fact direct and nourish the existence of their followers, receive from the mystery of Christ the elements of goodness and grace which they contain.” (Dominus Iesus, 8)
True meaning of religious freedom: There should be no confusion between religious freedom and what the Catholic Church believes. In a country like the United States where many cultures come together, The US Bishops are very clear that tolerating other religions does not mean that we accept what is not true in their teachings. See the many times the US conference of Bishops referred to that subject by checking the website US Bishops
The revelation of God is a historical process: God intended from the very beginning of creation to reveal the one and only truth about himself. This divine revelation of God, however, is a slow, long, and historical process. When an artist starts a painting of a face, for example, the picture in progress is being drawn one step at a time and is only completed after the passage of time. The details of the face become complete with the passing of time, not all at once. In that same way God started revealing himself in Pagan times as a shadow of divinity; his face and identity was more clearly revealed in the Old Testament; his complete revelation took place in the Person of Jesus, the second person of the Blessed Trinity and the image of the Father. This revelation, even though it is complete in and through Jesus Christ, its understanding will continue under the guidance of the Holy Spirit in the Catholic Church until the end of time. Only then, God’s revelation will take place face to face and not through created elements anymore. In this regard, The Catechism of the Catholic Church teaches that:”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…” (CCC, 234)
God can be truly and authentically expressed in our history: Modern convictions that refuse to accept that the transcendent God as being able to reveal himself truly and authentically in the Catholic Church, are harshly rejected by Pope Benedict VI. From the beginning the Church has always accepted God’s faithfulness in revealing and communicating to humanity his true identity and teachings. Therefore, this Pope confirms as contrary to the Catholic faith “the conviction of the elusiveness and inexpressibility of divine truth, even by Christian revelation.” (Pope Benedict VI, Dominus Iesus, 4)
The Old Testament and the beginning of Monotheism: With the calling of Abraham and the election of Israel, salvation history began. Here God started to reveal his face little by little to Israel. God now talks about himself as the one and only true God (monotheism). The oneness of God was totally foreign to the mindset of pagans who believed in many gods (sun, moon, thunder, fertility, war, etc.).
A challenging covenant between God and Israel: It was difficult for the Jews to accept that there is only one God (they were still immersed in pagan cultures). Recall when Moses went up to Mount Sinai to receive the Ten Commandments, the Hebrews constructed a golden calf to worship as their god. The Hebrews often fell back into adoring strange gods instead of staying faithful to the one true God. The Covenant between God and Israel is a long story of faithfulness and betrayal.
The Old Testament is the time of the Father: This one true God reveals himself as the Father of Israel, his people [“out of Egypt I called my son” (Hosea 11:1)] He shows he is the only powerful creator. He is also a personal king who cares about his people, a compassionate, loving, and faithful God. The face of God revealed to Israel is the pre-final stage of the full revelation of God as a Trinity. In this sense we can say that the Old Testament is the time of God the Father, since Jesus and the Holy Spirit have not been revealed yet.
The Old Testament: First step toward the revelation of the Most Holy Trinity: Even though the Old Testament was filled with images of the Word and the Spirit, perceiving God as a Trinity of Persons (Father, Son, and Holy Spirit) as we Catholics believe, was not even an option for Judaism. It will take the Incarnation of God the Son himself to explain how God can be a Trinity of distinct Persons in his very Divine Nature. Israel’s faith was still limited to one person in God.
The Old Testament has a different understanding of God as ‘Father’: We must be aware that the Jews’ understanding of God as Father was still incomplete and essentially different than that of the Catholic faith. Israel related to God as a Father in the sense that God creates, loves and adopts Israel. As the Catechism of the Catholic Church confirms, “in Israel, God is called ‘Father’ inasmuch as he is Creator of the world.” (CCC, 238)
The Father is not male: Israel considers God as Father because he is the origin of everything: He is the principle of existence from whom everything emanates. The term Father does not mean that God is a male since there is no gender in God. God is also a Father in the sense of the only transcendent authority over the entire creation (see CCC, 239).
In the New Testament, God talks to us directly: With the Incarnation of the Second Person of the Trinity, the Son, God talked to us personally using human words. The letter to the Hebrews relates that “in times past, God spoke in fragmentary and varied ways to our fathers through the prophets; in this, the final age, he has spoken to us through his Son.” (Heb 1:2) Now the Incarnate God himself talks to us directly as one of us and in human language because he himself, as a divine Person, was talking humanly. Jesus Christ is a divine Person using an authentic human nature to communicate with us. His divine words were uttered in human language.
The Incarnation implies the divinity of Jesus Christ: By becoming man in the womb of the Virgin Mary in the fullness of time, Jesus inaugurated the New Testament, the time of the Son. Scandalizing the Jews, Jesus confirmed his divinity and expressed his equality with the Father: “The Father and I are one.” (John 10:30) Also, “In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God.” (John 1:1) Yet, his Incarnation is still the mission that the Father sent him to accomplish. Everything Jesus said and did came from the Father who sent him (see CCC, 237).
The Incarnation implies complete humanity and complete divinity in Jesus: The one and the same Divine Person of the Son, Jesus Christ, is equal to the Father in his divinity and equal to us in his humanity. Therefore, the Church expressed this equality between Father and Son at the Council of Nicea by calling Jesus ‘consubstantial’ with the Father, that is, of one substance with God the Father. They both share the same one Divine Nature. At the same time, the Tradition of the Church has for centuries confirmed the full humanity of Jesus Christ who was like us in everything, except sin (See Heb 4:15).
Jesus Christ as revealer of the Most Blessed Trinity: At the same time, Jesus Christ is the face of the Father [“Whoever sees me, sees the Father” (John 14:9)], and the one who sends the Holy Spirit. The life, death, and resurrection of the historical Jesus Christ is the only ultimate revelation of a Trinity of Persons in God: himself as the Son, God the Father, and God the Holy Spirit. It is essential to believe that Jesus Christ is not only the revealer of the Father; he also reveals himself and the Holy Spirit. Pope Benedict VI says in this regard: “The Christological dimension – in other words the mystery of the Son as revealer of the Father – is present in everything Jesus says and does.” (Jesus of Nazareth, 7)
Trinity of distinct Persons is not ‘tritheism’: Trinity of different Persons is still one God by nature. Believing in the Blessed Trinity is not a ‘tritheism’. There are no three Gods. If we emphasize the oneness of God, we should not omit the distinction of Persons; if we emphasize the difference of Persons, we should not fall in believing in three gods (tritheism). This revelation becomes the most important element of faith without which one cannot be considered Christian.
Jesus’ revelation is not just a message or a teachings: The revelation of the Blessed Trinity by Jesus Christ is not one among others. It is unique, irrevocable, exclusive, and the only one that fully and completely reveals God. The historical life, teachings, death, and resurrection of Jesus Christ are not some kind of a message to humanity. This is not a teaching of a spiritual guru or an important message about God. This is not a Nirvana type of activity that allows us through Christ to become one with the universe. This is not a series of commandments and rules that enhance our life and help us to be good people. This is not a yoga workout that helps us (body and spirit) to become harmoniously healthy people.
The exclusive and unique character of Jesus’ revelation: The historical event of Jesus Christ is the only, unique, absolute, irrevocable, unparalleled revelation of the one and true God, the Blessed Trinity. Jesus Christ, the Word, is the only Word that God the Father wanted to say to the world. It is the only Word, and there is no other word parallel to it. Nothing could ever be added to it and nothing could ever be taken away from it, neither in the past, nor the present, nor the future. The revelation through Christ is not only a message; it is a divine intervention that bestows on our very being the life of the Blessed Trinity. It is an event that works on the ontological level of our existence and is capable of giving us eternal life through the Resurrection of Jesus Christ. In this sense St. Paul said: “And if Christ has not been raised, then our preaching is in vain and your faith is in vain.” (1 Corinthians 15:14)
The Father sends the Son and the Son sends the Holy Spirit: If the Old Testament is the time of the Father and the New Testament is the time of the Son, the Catholic Church is the time of the Holy Spirit. The Father sends the Son to reveal the Father. The Son sends the Holy Spirit to continue the work of the Son on earth. The Holy Spirit will lead everyone back to the Father. In this phase “the Holy Spirit is thus revealed as another Divine Person with Jesus and the Father.” (CCC, 243) Jesus and the Holy Spirit are the ‘arms’ of the Father in the world. The Catechism teaches: “When the Father sends his Word, he always sends his Breath. In their joint mission, the Son and the Holy Spirit are distinct but inseparable.” (CCC, 689)
The Holy Spirit marks the “last days”: If God is a Trinity of Persons, and the Holy Spirit is the One who is being revealed in this last phase (the Church), this means that the Church is the last phase of God’s divine revelation. There is no more revelation of God. It is done. The descent of the Holy Spirit gave birth to the Church and started thus the ‘the eschatological time’ (this explains why we read over and over again in the Acts of the Apostles that the Holy Spirit ‘in these last days’ came down on the Apostles). Also, this clarifies why the Holy Spirit will be in the Church re-enacting and perpetuating the redeeming act of Christ until Christ comes again (the last sentence of the Bible: “Come Lord Jesus”).
Self-Emptying of the Divine Persons in each other: Now we understand that the revelation of the Blessed Trinity started with the Old Testament and culminated in the Church. Each Divine Person of the Trinity handed his own mission to the next Person. Each one fulfills the mission of the one who sent him. The Old Testament was fulfilled by the New Testament (Jesus Christ was the fulfillment of the Father) and the Church is the fulfillment of the New Testament (The Holy Spirit is the fulfillment of Christ in space and time, in the Church). St. Gregory of Nissa offers an analogy of anointing in which the skin and the anointing oil, even though they are distinct, cannot be separated: “Indeed, just as between the surface of the body and the anointing with oil neither reason nor sensation recognizes any intermediary, so the contact of the Son with the Spirit is immediate, so that anyone who would make contact with the Son by faith must first encounter the oil by contact. In fact there is no part that is not covered by the Holy Spirit. That is why the confession of the Son’s Lordship is made in the Holy Spirit by those who receive him, the Spirit coming from all sides to those who approach the Son in faith.” (De Spiritu Sancto, 16)
The Missions of the Divine Persons: In history, the mission of the Three Divine Persons is a self-emptying of each Person in the other. The Father empties himself in the Son and the Son empties himself in the Holy Spirit. The Holy Spirit also empties himself in the Father by bringing everything back to the Father at the end of time. This circular self-emptying of the Divine Persons is a symbol of the Infinite. The beginning coincides with the end since the Father is the origin and end of everything: “The eternal origin of the Holy Spirit is revealed in his mission in time. The Spirit is sent to the apostles and to the Church both by the Father in the name of the Son, and by the Son in person, once he had returned to the Father. The sending of the person of the Spirit after Jesus’ glorification reveals in its fullness the mystery of the Holy Trinity.” (CCC, 244)
God relates to the world only through the Holy Spirit: In the same way on the divine level the Son is the image of the Father, that same Son who was incarnate and became a true man, Jesus Christ, is still the image of the Father: “whoever sees me, sees the Father.” Also, since the Holy Spirit is the relational God in the divine life, the Holy Spirit is also the relational God in our history. The Spirit is God in relation to the world. God enters our human history through the Holy Spirit because that’s how God’s nature is. Therefore, everything that happens in our history, happens through the Holy Spirit.
Note that the work of the Holy Spirit is not a ‘supplement’ to the work of Christ. It is neither a filling of a missing dimension of Christ’s death and resurrection, nor a parallel work. There only one single divine plan of creation and salvation executed by the one God entering as a Trinity in our history. In this regard, Pope Benedict VI says: “the action of the Spirit is not outside or parallel to the action of Christ. There is only one salvific economy of the One and Triune God, realized in the mystery of the incarnation, death, and resurrection of the Son of God, actualized with the cooperation of the Holy Spirit, and extended in its salvific value to all humanity and to the entire universe.” (Dominus Iesus, 12) This confirms Saint Pope John Paul II statement: “No one, therefore, can enter into communion with God except through Christ, by the working of the Holy Spirit.” (Redemptoris Missio, 5)
The Divine is revealed through human elements: This short presentation of God’s self-revelation indicates that this revelation must always include both a divine dimension (the Persons of the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit) and a human dimension (the chosen people of the Old Testament, the humanity of Christ in the New Testament, and the Church until the end of time). In the Old Testament, God uses the prophets, kings, judges, and priests to convey his message. In the New Testament, the Incarnate Son used his human nature (Jesus’ historical life, death, and resurrection) to fully reveal God and redeem humanity. In the Church, the Holy Spirit from above and the Church from below cooperate to extend Christ’s redemption to the entire humanity.
The Catholic Church rejects unilateral approaches: The Church has always refused to minimize the indispensable cooperation of both God and humanity in the process of God’s revelation and redemption: both dimensions are parallel and complimentary. If the plan of God included the human element, no one can introduce any other way than that chosen by God. The actions of God to redeem us are eternal, irrevocable, and unchanging. Therefore, in every single aspect of the Church’s life, one must always respect God’s method of communicating himself. Scriptures, Tradition, Magisterium, Sacraments, morality, and faith all have a common denominator: the divine element and the human element work together to fulfill God’s plan of revelation and salvation. Ignoring the human cooperation of the Catholic Church established by Christ himself, is ignoring God’s plan.
Definition of Nature: To approach the mystery of the Trinity, we need to differentiate between nature and person. Nature is a general concept that includes a multitude of persons that fall under that category. It encompasses many different individual entities that share that same nature. For example, when I say the word “woman”, all the women of the earth are included in this concept. In the same way, when I say the word “God” I am indicating his nature, his essence, his substance, his being, or his entity. Basically I am pointing to his Divine Nature. (see CCC, 251-252)
Definition of Person: The term person is an entity that individualizes a certain nature. So, when I say woman I indicate a nature but when I say “Mary” I am individualizing the nature of woman in that specific individual of Mary. The person is a nature made concrete and therefore it has a name. The person makes the nature visible because it makes it concrete. The nature of man cannot exist as an abstract: it exist only in Joseph or John etc…When I say “Father, Son, Holy Spirit” I am basically pointing to the different Three Divine Persons who make concrete the One Divine Nature.
Different persons individualize the same nature differently: Even though “nature” is a universal concept encompassing many persons, it is still differently individualized in persons. Despite the fact that the term “woman” is equally applied to Mary and Theresa, they both still make concrete the nature of woman in a different way. In the same way, when I say “Father, Son, and Holy Spirit,” I am pointing to the different Persons within the One Divine Nature of God. Each Divine Person makes concrete the One Divine Nature in three different way. (see CCC, 238-260)
Everything in God is God: God is a simple principle of existence with no compositions. When I state that Pope Francis is compassionate and generous, compassion and generosity are two different qualifications in Pope Francis. In God, however, it does not work that way. All qualities in God (all powerful, all knowing, present everywhere, loving, generous, merciful, etc.) are one and the same because everything in God is God.
God is a ‘Pure Act of Existence’: God encompasses everything in one simple act of existence (St. Thomas Aquinas called God “pure act of existence”). In other words, because God is, God creates, understands, and controls every single element of creation from the very beginning until the end of time. In fact, when Moses asked God what his name was, God answered “I AM”. But Jesus revealed that this simple Nature of God as the ” I AM” is a Trinity of Persons.
Three Persons and One Nature in God: When I say “God”, I indicate the Nature of God, but that Nature is differently individualized in the Person of the Father, in the Person of the Son, and in the Person of the Holy Spirit. The Nature of God is not cut in three pieces that are being equally shared by the three Divine Persons. The Catechism teaches: “The divine persons do not share the one divinity among themselves but each of them is God whole and entire.” (CCC, 253) The fourth Lateran Council (1215) already stated: “Each of the Persons is that supreme reality, viz., the divine substance, essence or nature.”
Each Divine Person possesses the Entire Divine Nature according to His Divine Properties: Based on that, the Father possesses the entire Divine Nature according to his Fatherhood, the Son possesses the entire Divine Nature according to his properties as Son, and the Holy Spirit possesses the entire Divine Nature according to his properties as the Holy Spirit. Here lies the deepest mystery of the Blessed Trinity: Each Divine Person possesses the One and the same Divine Nature but each differently accordingly to his personal properties. That is the only way we could confirm that God is still One God by Nature; yet we can still state that within this one infinite Nature there are three different Divine Persons. They “are not simply names designating modalities of the divine being, for they are really distinct from one another” (CCC, 254)
The Divine Persons are distinct only in their relationship to each other: How can we fathom this ‘real distinction’ between the Divine Persons if they are One God in Nature? The terms ‘Father’, ‘Son’, and ‘Holy Spirit’ are names of relations not of substance. “Because it does not divide the divine unity, the real distinction of the persons from one another resides solely in the relationships which relate them to one another”. (CCC, 255) They are three persons ONLY in their relations, not in their substance: “everything (in them) is one where there is no opposition of relationship.” (Council of Florence, 1442)
The opposition of relationships implies that each Divine Person is in the other (perichoresis in Greek): “Because of that unity the Father is wholly in the Son and wholly in the Holy Spirit; the Son is wholly in the Father and wholly in the Holy Spirit; the Holy Spirit is wholly in the Father and wholly in the Son.” (Council of Florence, 1442)
The Immanent Trinity: On the level of the Divine Life, the Father generates the Son before all ages. There was no time when the Son wasn’t there and wasn’t the Son of the Father, simply because God is outside of time and God is a Trinity of Persons from all ages. In our human logic, when we consider the relationship between Father and Son, we naturally tend to think that the Son chronologically started to exist after the Father. In God, however, from all eternity Father and Son coexist as such. That is why we say in the Creed that the Son is begotten not made. This eternal relationship between Father and Son is a Third Person, the Holy Spirit. From all eternity, the Holy Spirit is the Love-Relationship Person between Father and Son. The Holy Spirit is the relational God. (CCC, 238-260)
The Economic Trinity: The way God is in himself, does not change when God enters human history. The very intrinsic life of The Blessed Trinity (Immanent Trinity) cannot change when the Trinity enters the world (Economic Trinity) simply because God is never subject to change. This awesome mystery of the Blessed Trinity is displayed in the missions of the Divine Persons in our human history. The Catechism teaches that through the Economic Trinity the Immanent Trinity is revealed to us; but conversely, the Immanent Trinity illuminates the whole Economic Trinity (see CCC, 236).
The Immanent Trinity and the Economic Trinity are one and the same: It is impossible for God in himself to be different when he enters human history to save us. Pope Benedict VI confirms this truth again by saying that “the recent Magisterium of the Church has firmly and clearly recalled the truth of a single divine economy.” (Dominus Iesus, 11)
No one can be called Christian without believing in the Blessed Trinity: No one can be called Christian unless they profess God as One in Nature and a Trinity of Persons. Jehovah Witnesses are not Christians, even though they claim to be, because they don’t believe in the Blessed Trinity and they don’t believe that Jesus Christ is God. These two elements are at the center of the Christian faith. The Catechism teaches: “The mystery of the Most Holy Trinity is the central mystery of Christian faith and life…It is therefore the source of all the other mysteries of faith.” (CCC, 234)
By Fr. Antoine (Anthony) Nachef, STD (Doctorate in Sacred Theology)
Las enseñanzas en este capítulo se basan en las Escrituras Sagradas, la Tradiciones de la Iglesia Católica (especialmente el Catecismo de la Iglesia Católica (CCC)), los Padres de la Iglesia (especialmente San Thomas Aquinas y San Agustín) él Magisterio de la Iglesia Católica (especialmente San Papa Pablo VI, San Papa John Paul II y Papa Benedicto XVI).
Dios no tenía la intención de muchas religiones: Mucha gente están desgarradas por la idea que hay tantas religiones en nuestro mundo. Ellos piensan, “Sí solo existe un Dios entonces porque tenemos tantas religiones diferentes que se contradicen?”. No debería hacer así, porque aunque Dios es uno y solo hay una verdad de Dios, la gente todavía podrían tener su propia ideas incorrectas de Dios. Entonces la frase cual se encuentra en las etiquetas de carros “coexistir” (indicando que todas las religiones deben coexistir) es totalmente inaceptable. Solo porque estάs religiones “coexisten” como un hecho en nuestro mundo no implica que es la intención de Dios que coexisten. La razón se encuentra en el hecho que solo hay una verdad de Dios porque la verdad es exclusiva por naturaleza y carácter. No solamente teológicamente, pero filosóficamente y lógicamente dos realidades contradictorias no pueden coexistir en la misma entidad (si una casa es blanca no puede ser negra al mismo tiempo).
La Revelación de Dios es un Proceso Historical: Dios propuso desde el comienzo de la creación a revelar la única verdad de el mismo. Esta revelación divina de Dios, sin embargo, es un proceso historical lento y largo. Cuando un artista comienza a pintar la foto de una cara, por ejemplo, esa foto es dibujada paso por paso y se completa como tiempo progresa. Analógicamente la cara de Dios fue completamente revelada con tiempo, empezando con rasgos vagos en el principio de la humanidad (los paganos creían en varios Dioses) se volvió más claro en el Antiguo Testamento, y es completado en detalles en y por Jesucristo. La vida historical, muerte, y la resurrección del historical Jesucristo es la revelación definitivo de Dios: La Bendita Trinidad. La cara de Cristo es la cara del Padre: “Quien sea que me mire, mira el Padre,” como el Evangelio de Juan relaciona (chapter 16).
El Antiguo Testamento: Tiempo del Padre
Monoteísmo (creencia en Un Dios) fue el primer paso fuera del Paganismo: Con la llamada de Abrahán y la elección de Israel, la historia de la salvación comienzo. Aquí Dios empezó a revelar su cara poquito por poquito a Israel. Dios ahora habla sobre el mismo como el uno y único Dios verdadero. La unicidad de Dios fue totalmente extraño al mentalidad de los pagans. Ellos creían en varios dioses (sol, luna, trueno, fertilidad, guerra, etc.). También estuvo difícil para los Judíos aceptar que solo había un solo DIos (ellos todavía estaban inmerso en la cultura pagana). Recuerde cuando Moisés subió Monte Sinaí para receiver los 10 Mandamientos, los Hebreos construyeron un becerro de oro como su Dios. También, recuerde cuántas veces los Hebreos regresaron a adorar los Dioses extraños en vez de ser fiel a un solo Dios.
Como el Judaísmo Entiende Dios como Padre: Este único verdadero Dios se revela como el Padre de Israel, su gente (“…fuera de Egipto yo le llame a mi hijo”). El enseña que EL ES el único creador poderoso, pero también un Rey personal que cuida su gente… un Dios compasivo, amoroso, y fiel. La cara de Dios como revelada a Israel es la estación pre final de la revelación completa de Dios como una Trinidad. En este sentido podemos decir que el Antiguo Testamento es el tiempo de Dios el Padre. Tenemos que estar consciente, en embargo, que la comprensión de Judaísmo de Dios como el Padre todavía incompleto y esencialmente diferente de la Fe Católica. Aunque el Antiguo Testamento estaba lleno con imágenes de la Palabra y el Espíritu, percibiendo Dios como una Trinidad de Personas (Padre, Hijo, y El Espíritu Santo) ni siquiera no fue una opción para Judaísmo. Israel relaciono a Dios como un padre solo en el sentido que Dios ama y adopta a Israel. Tomará la Encarnación de Dios el Hijo el mismo para explicar cómo Dios pudo ser una Trinidad de Personas distintas en su Naturaleza Divina.
El Nuevo Testamento: Tiempo del Hijo
Dios nos Habla Personalmente: Con la Encarnación de la Segunda Persona de la Trinidad, el Hijo, Dios nos habló personalmente usando palabras humanas. La carta a los Hebreos relaciona como en los tiempos pasados Dios nos hablaba por los profetas y los antepasados, pero ahora Dios él mismo nos habla directamente. La única y la misma Persona Divina del Hijo, Jesucristo, es igual al Padre en su divinidad y igual a nosotros en su humanidad. Al convertirse en un hombre en el la matriz de la Virgen María en la plenitud del tiempo, Jesús inaugurado el Nuevo Testamento, el tiempo del Hijo. Todo lo que Jesús dijo y hizo viene del Padre quien lo mando.
Exclusivo y Único Carácter de la Revelación de Jesús: La revelación del Hijo no uno entre otros. Es único, irrevocable, exclusivo, uno y solo uno cuál completamente revela que Dios es el Padre. La vida histórica, enseñanzas, muerte, y la resurrección de Jesucristo no es cualquier mensaje a la humanidad. No es una enseñanza de un gurú espiritual o un mensaje importante sobre Dios. No es una actividad de Nirvana que permite por Cristo ser uno con el universo. No es un serie de mandamientos y reglas que mejoran nuestras vidas y que nos ayuden ser buenas personas. No es entrenamiento de yoga que ayuda nuestro cuerpo y espíritu ser armoniosamente saludable. El evento histórico de Jesucristo es el solo, único, absoluto, irrevocable, incomparable, irreparable, revelación de él solo y verdadero Dios, la Bendita Trinidad. Jesucristo, la Palabra, es la única Palabra que Dios el Padre quiera decirle al mundo. Es la única Palabra, y no hay otra palabra comparable a ella. Nada podrá ser agregado y nada podrá ser eliminado ni en el pasado, presente, o futuro.
La Iglesia Catolica: Tiempo del Espíritu Santo
Las Personas Divinas se Revelan: El Antiguo Testamento es el tiempo del Padre y el Nuevo Testamento es el tiempo del Hijo, la Iglesia Católica es el tiempo del Espíritu Santo. El Padre mandó su hijo para revelarlo. El Hijo Encarnado, Jesucristo, manda el Espíritu Santo a continuar de revelar Cristo y hacer Cristo presente en la historia humana y en la Iglesia. Sí Dios es una Trinidad de Personas y sí la Tercera Persona (El Espíritu Santo) es el que es revelado en esta fase (La Iglesia), esto significa que la Iglesia es la última fase de la revelación divina de Dios. Está hecho. Ya no hay más revelación de Dios. El ascendente del Espíritu Santo que dió nacimiento a la Iglesia empezando “el tiempo escatologico”. Esto significa que el Espíritu Santo estará en la Iglesia recordando and perpetuando el acto redentor de Cristo hasta que Cristo regrese (última oración de la Biblia: “Ven Señor Jesús”). Esto explica porque debemos seguir leyendo los actos de los Apóstoles que el Espíritu Santo “en estos últimos días” descendió sobre los Apóstoles.
Auto Vaciante de las Personas Divinas en Uno al Otro: Ahora entendemos que la revelación de la Bendita Trinidad empezó con el Antiguo testamento y culminó en la Iglesia. Cada persona de la Trinidad dio su propia misión a la próxima persona. Cada persona divina cumplio la misión del que lo mando. El Antiguo Testamento fue cumplido por el Nuevo Testamento (Jesucristo fue el complimiento del Padre) y la Iglesia es el complimiento de el Nuevo Testamento (El Espíritu Santo es el complimiento de Cristo en el espaco y tiempo, en la Iglesia). En historia, la misión de la Tres Personas Divinas es una autovaciado en cada persona al otro. El Padre se vació el mismo en el Hijo y el Hijo se vació el mismo en el Espíritu Santo. El Espíritu Santo también se vació en el Padre por trayendo todo al regreso al Padre en el fin del tiempo (Esta autovaciante circular de las Personas Divinas es un símbolo de infinito. Sus principios coinciden con el fin).
La Cooperación de la Humanidad con la Propia Revelación de Dios
Dios Invitó la Humanidad a Coopera: Esta presentación de la propia revelación de Dios indica que esta revelación siempre debe de incluir una dimensión divina (las Personas del Padre, el Hijo, y el Espiritu Santa) y una dimensión humana (las personas escogidas del Antiguo Testamento, la humanidad de Cristo en el Nuevo Testamento y la Iglesia). En el Antiguo Testamento, Dios usa los profetas, reyes, jueces, y sacerdote para transmitir su mensaje. En el Nuevo Testamento, el Dios Encarnado el hijo usó su naturaleza humana (la vida, muerte y resurrección de Jesús) para revelar a Dios completamente. En la Iglesia, el Espíritu Santo desde arriba y la Iglesia desde abajo coopero para extender la redempcion de Cristo para toda la humanidad. Jesús dice en el Evangelio de Juan: “El Espíritu de la verdad que viene del Padre será mi testigo. Y ustedes también serán mis testigos.”
La Iglesia rechaza Enfoques Unilaterales: La Iglesia siempre ha rechazado cualquier a intento a minimizar la presencia indispensable de Dios y humanidad en el proceso de la revelación y redención de Dios: las dos dimensiones son paralela y complementario. Si el plan de Dios incluye el elemento humano, nadie puede introducir otra manera que la elegida por Dios: el plan y las acciones de Dios para redimirnos son eternas, irrevocables, y inmutables. Por lo tanto, en cada aspecto de la vida de la Iglesia, uno siempre debe respetar el método de Dios para comunicarse. Escrituras, Tradición, Magisterio, Sacramentos, moralidad, fe, todos tienen un denominador común: el elemento divino y el elemento humano trabajan de la mano para cumplir a Dios.
By Father Antoine (Anthony) Nachef, STD (Doctorate in Sacred Theology)