In daily life we also often speak about a mystery, although in the sense of something that it is hard to fathom, like knowing who the criminal is in a detective novel, or what the solution is to an equation or a difficult problem. In all these cases the term refers to the limits of our ability to know. But when we speak about the Mystery of God, the question no longer concerns us alone, but above all God himself and his infinite depths. The Mystery of God is not unfathomable because it is dark but, on the contrary, because it is too luminous; the eyes of our intellect are dazzled by looking at it, as happens when we look at the sun in broad daylight.
A pious medieval legend, represented also in magnificent paintings, recounts that one day Saint Augustine was walking along the beach trying to understand how God could be both one and three.
He came across a child who was using a seashell to pour water from the sea into a hole dug in the sand. When asked what he was doing, the child said he was trying to put the whole sea in the hole. The great Father of the Church tried to make him see how impossible this was; but the boy replied that it was even more absurd to try to understand the Mystery of the Trinity.
The Mystery of God is like the immensity of the sea, like the blinding light of the sun. And yet, He does fit -- He wants to fit -- in my heart, in the immense depth of my soul, which is immortal.
On the other hand, the gift of knowledge is concerned specifically with temporal matters, since this gift is a disposition to respond quickly to the Holy Spirit's promptings to see particular temporal affairs from the perspective of faith, whereas the gift of understanding is a similar disposition to respond quickly to the Holy Spirit's promptings to discern eternal matters, and most especially what does and does not belong to the despotism of faith. Thomas clarifies this by pointing out that the 'inquiry' associated with faith does not aim to demonstrate the object of faith, but rather to look into those things that lead one to the assent of faith. We have been prepared for this since 7. This position, however, is in accord with church teaching. The documentation could go on and on. A characteristically curious question, therefore; elsewhere in conf. Drilling down deeper as to how this works, scholars make a distinction between the perfection itself, res significata, and the mode in which it is known, modus significandi.
The Christian paradox is that, although the infinite Trinity cannot be understood by our intellect, He dwells in us, in our heart. The difficulty in understanding the Mystery of the Father, Son and Holy Spirit is not due to its being an absurdity, but to its being a Mystery of Love: a communion of Persons. And the created world is an expression of that Love. Through the world and the people around us, we can understand why faith is needed to grasp this truth, which not even the greatest philosophers could discover without Revelation.
It is not a matter of believing in what is absurd, but of entering into the personal dimension of the Mystery, which we can only achieve when we open our hearts. Why does God hide himself in his Mystery? In reality it is not that He hides himself. We should not be surprised that the Mystery of God surpasses us. Our eyes need to become accustomed little by little to its light.
Just as if we went from trying to decipher a text in the shade to reading it in full sunlight, and we discovered that we were really not understanding anything. God is love 1 Jn because He is an eternal communion of three Persons, who give themselves reciprocally without reserve: three Persons united in an absolute and eternal way by a relationship of total and free Self-giving. The Father really generates the Son, giving him everything that he himself is, and not simply something that he possesses. The first divine Person is Father with all his being, Father without limits, in such a way that the Son generated by him not only resembles him, but is one single thing with him: he is God himself in his eternity and infinity.
The Son, the perfect Image of the Father, gives himself anew to him, that is, he responds to the gift that he receives, giving himself totally to the Father, just as the Father has given himself to the Son. The Holy Spirit is the Love that unites the first two Persons, and he is God, because he is one with them. Thus our God is one and triune precisely because he is absolute Love, because he is perfect Gift, without reservations, without conditions: the Love we all dream of.
Saint Augustine, although he came to realize the limitation of our human concepts, explained it in a way that helps us to glimpse the intimate life of the Trinity. Love, he wrote in his treatise on the Trinity, always implies the presence of the lover, the one who is loved and their love. Only with this triad is there Love.
Calvin found this fact to be of great comfort to believers under duress from the evil one: Let them recall that the devil and the whole cohort of the wicked are completely restrained by God's hand as by a bridle, so that they are unable either to hatch any plot against us or, having hatched it, to make preparations or, if they have fully planned it, to stir a finger toward carrying it out, except so far as he has permitted, indeed commanded Inst.
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