Trinitarian Truths

Posted on 2023-08-23
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I had a different column ready to queue up today, but last night this idea hit me powerfully…

Of late, I have been bombarded with messages from atheists saying stupid things like, “I wouldn’t follow a God who would kill His own son,” or “A God who would let children suffer is a monster and I will not believe.” Those are a couple of the milder epithets. It got me thinking that I hear a lot of formulations even authentic Christians make that miss the point of the nature of the Trinity; the Incarnation; and the suffering, death, and Resurrection of Christ. As we prepare to go into the fulness of the Storm, we need to be more precise.

First, it is altogether fitting and proper to call Christ, “the Son of God.” It would, however, be equally fitting and proper to call the Father, “the Father of God,” just as it is fitting and proper to call the Holy Spirit, “the active Spirit of God.” It is a mystery to understand the Trinity, one God in three distinct persons. But it is helpful for our understanding of what happened if we contemplate the life and mission of Christ in that context.

After the fall of Adam, God put His plan for the reconciliation and salvation of man into motion. He decided that He would come, Himself, taking on our humanity. That task fell to the Eternal Son. By truly taking on our humanity, Christ became a member of the family of man.

He had to do this in a manner that fully preserved our free will if He would have us be His children, rather than merely pets. Free will opens up the possibility of evil. It also bestows moral agency, which is a big part of how we are made in God’s own image and likeness. Since He could not revoke free will without making us pets, rather than potential heirs of His Kingdom, God chose to live solidarity with the least of us in taking on our humanity. He came and was counted among the lowly and powerless. He suffered and was persecuted for righteousness’ sake. It was not so He would know our condition; He already knew. It was, rather, so we would know He stood with us, in both our joys and our sorrows.

His mission was to conquer death, for in doing that He gave us an invitation to become members of the family of God. But in order to accomplish it, He must first die. Having joined our family by taking on our true humanity He invited us, His brothers, to join His Divine Family by conquering death through Resurrection. He lived the mission He chose perfectly. But He is not the relentless pacifist some would like to make of Him. In Luke 22, while preparing His disciples for His departure, the Lord tells them that he who has no sword should sell his cloak to buy one.

Contrary to what some inane folks like to opine, we are NOT all God’s children. John 1:12 says that “…to all who received Him, who believed in His name, He gave power to become children of God.” He gave us power to become children of God. That means all are welcome in Christ’s Church, but only on His terms, not on theirs.

For all his brilliance, the satan is a linear thinker who, like a crow, is easily seduced by shiny things. Those Christians who complain that they wish Christ would have spoken more plainly and directly miss the point. If you enter the Scriptures seeking what is true, the Lord will lead you into wisdom, progressively unveiling His mysteries. If, instead, you go looking for the loopholes, the devil has already got hold of you.

Throughout all of eternity, the devil could never have imagined the way God would actually accomplish our reclamation. He is blinded by his malignant hatred of mankind and his linear thinking. His hatred includes those fools who think to make themselves his lieutenants and allies on earth. The satan knows that the only kingdom he will ever have is on this earth – and only so long as time endures. The only purpose of his kingdom is to torment humanity and seduce as many men as possible to the same oblivion he will be consigned to at the end of the age. All who reject God will be isolated in darkness, living the torment of their own disorder and malice.

Shallow thinkers who want to play smart on the cheap think God a cruel master who delights in punishing men. To the contrary, God holds the only spring of water in the entire universe – and invites men to drink freely from it. Those who refuse to drink His water wither away into torment. They consign themselves to hell because they refuse to drink what He freely offers. Sin is, objectively, damaging. Like a drug, it progressively blinds us to its deadly effects even as it anesthetizes us with a fleeting pleasure. It draws us away from God and the cool relief of his living fountain.

A whole generation has deceived itself that we are the titans, that it is by our mighty power and prowess that we will create a heaven on earth. And we sink more deeply into the hell we have actually created. The satan is often called the “accuser of mankind.” The deceived generation has redefined morality. Instead of morality being the good you do in accordance with God’s law, they think morality means relentlessly seeking out the splinter in everyone else’s eyes and self-righteously condemning it. A shroud of misery wraps itself around us ever more completely.

It is no accident that, even as violent storms have decreased over the last few decades in their absolute numbers, they have increasingly hit populated areas. God is trying to remind us that it is He who is master of the winds and waves – and the climate. We foolishly demanded He butt out and leave us to our own affairs – and so, He has for a time. The flooding in China, the Los Angeles Dodgers’ stadium sitting underwater, the catastrophic fires in Maui and across the American west, borne by our foolish incompetence and pride, are a call to repentance and humility. Woe to those who will not heed the call and double down on their own prideful dreams of supremacy.

Those who think themselves the titans develop a peculiar form of myopia, believing that good and evil only apply to this brief sojourn on earth. They have forgotten – or never known – that this life is merely our prelude to eternity. As it is written in Romans 2, the Lord will render unto each of us according to our works – and charity covers a multitude of sins (1 Peter 4:8). The Lord speaks not of charity as the world does, but of that largeness of spirit that is rigorous with itself and generous to others, even to the point of great sacrifice. We choose our eternity. Just as a man’s life on earth does not begin until he has died to the womb, so the fullness of our life does not begin until we have died to this world.

Godless barbarians have seized the reins of power in the world. They use the language of charity to justify their atrocities and brutal control. It is a perverse form of godliness that altogether denies the power of the one, true God. The truth is not in them. All they have to offer is misery, mutilation and death. We must come out from among them to form communities of light and life, communities that will be the building blocks of a true new world order, under God. To do that well, we must contemplate deeply on the nature of Christ and the good He calls us to. Use your anger, but never let it use you. If the sum total of your righteousness is to oppose the depravities of the Godless barbarians, you are in grave danger of simply replacing their depravities with equal and opposite ones of your own devising.

Let us build the City of God together, knowing that we are not the architects, but simply the workmen.

*********

Our field days have been exemplars of the kind of communities we are building. Joe Gallagher is working with us on the new Reveille series, short documentaries on different events and activities CORAC members are initiating throughout the country and, embryonically, the world. His first broadcast is on the field day we had a few weeks ago in Lone Rock, Wisconsin. When hostess Gerry Farina speaks of the 150 people who were in attendance, she is speaking only of the adults. We had half again as many children. How glorious it was to watch them all laugh and play together! I was chatting with one woman who had a three-year-old daughter in tow. You could see the merry mischief in the little girl’s eyes. As we were talking, the little girl broke off to run to some other kids. Mom called her, but the little girl kept going. The lady broke off the conversation, saying she had to get her daughter. I told her that she could be comforted that if her daughter did escape her watchful eyes for a few minutes, this was probably the safest place in America that day for it to happen. She laughed and went off to get her girl.

It was the young parents who were most dazzled, many of them having never experienced a joyful gathering where all could laugh and play together without worrying about offending the joyless scolds in attendance. There were none. These are the communities CORAC members are working together to build. The family is the first Church, an image of the Holy Trinity, itself. Families are the building blocks of a Godly community. Let us build the City of God together.

*********

Once again, my scheduler, Gina Waters, is working right now to put together my fall, winter and spring schedule. If you would like to host a visit and talk, contact her at ginaw@coracusa.com. I’m going this morning to get my Subaru serviced and put in top shape for the journey. It now has 303,000 miles on it. I’m hoping for a million.

Little Polish girl praying with Our Lady at Lone Rock, Wisconsin Field Day

If communication goes out for any length of time, meet outside your local Church at 9 a.m. on Saturday mornings. Tell friends at Church now in case you can’t then. CORAC teams will be out looking for people to gather in and work with.

Find me on Twitter at @JohnstonPilgrim

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