PART ONE: The Profession of Faith.  SECTION TWO: The Profession of the Christian Faith.  CHAPTER ONE: I Believe in God the Father.  ARTICLE I: I Believe in God The Father Almighty, Creator of Heaven and Earth



Paragraph 2. The Father

Paragraphus 2


I. « In nomine Patris et Filii et Spiritus Sancti »

232 Christians are baptized “in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit”53 Before receiving the sacrament, they respond to a three-part question when asked to confess the Father, the Son and the Spirit: “I do.” “The faith of all Christians rests on the Trinity.”54

232 Christiani « in nomine Patris et Filii et Spiritus Sancti » baptizantur (Mt 28,19). Prius respondent « Credo » triplici interrogationi quae ab illis petit ut eorum fidem in Patrem, in Filium et in Spiritum profiteantur: « Fides omnium christianorum in Trinitate consistit ».49

233 Christians are baptized in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit: not in their names,55 for there is only one God, the almighty Father, his only Son and the Holy Spirit: the Most Holy Trinity.

233 Christiani baptizantur « in nomine » Patris et Filii et Spiritus Sancti, et non « in nominibus » eorum,50 quia unus est Deus, Pater Omnipotens et Eius Filius unicus et Spiritus Sanctus: Sanctissima Trinitas.

234 The mystery of the Most Holy Trinity is the central mystery of Christian faith and life. It is the mystery of God in himself. It is therefore the source of all the other mysteries of faith, the light that enlightens them. It is the most fundamental and essential teaching in the “hierarchy of the truths of faith”.56 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 “and reconciles and unites with himself those who turn away from sin”.57

234 Mysterium Sanctissimae Trinitatis est centrale fidei et vitae christianae mysterium. Est mysterium Dei in Se Ipso. Est igitur ceterorum fidei mysteriorum fons, lumen illa illuminans. Doctrina est maxime fundamentalis et essentialis in « hierarchia veritatum » fidei.51 « Historia salutis idem est ac historia viae ac rationis, qua Deus verus et unus: Pater, Filius, Spiritus Sanctus, Sese hominibus revelat eosque a peccato aversos Sibi reconciliat et coniungit ».52

235 This paragraph expounds briefly (I) how the mystery of the Blessed Trinity was revealed, (II) how the Church has articulated the doctrine of the faith regarding this mystery, and (III) how, by the divine missions of the Son and the Holy Spirit, God the Father fulfills the “plan of his loving goodness” of creation, redemption and sanctification.

235 Hac paragrapho breviter exponetur quomodo Beatae Trinitatis mysterium revelatum sit (I), quomodo Ecclesia doctrinam fidei de hoc mysterio enuntiaverit (II), quomodo, denique, Deus Pater, per divinas Filii et Spiritus Sancti missiones, Suum creationis, Redemptionis et sanctificationis « benevolum consilium » ducat in rem (III).

236 The Fathers of the Church distinguish between theology (theologia) and economy (oikonomia). “Theology” refers to the mystery of God’s inmost life within the Blessed Trinity and “economy” to all the works by which God reveals himself and communicates his life. Through the oikonomia the theologia is revealed to us; but conversely, the theologia illuminates the whole oikonomia. God’s works reveal who he is in himself; the mystery of his inmost being enlightens our understanding of all his works. So it is, analogously, among human persons. A person discloses himself in his actions, and the better we know a person, the better we understand his actions.

236 Ecclesiae Patres inter 1,@8@(\”< et ?Æi@<@µ\”< distinguunt, primo verbo mysterium vitae intimae Dei-Trinitatis denotantes, altero vero omnia Dei opera per quae Ipse Se revelat vitamque communicat Suam. Per Oeconomiam nobis Theologia revelatur; sed, e contra, Theologia totam illustrat Oeconomiam. Opera Dei revelant quis Ille in Se Ipso sit; et, e contra, mysterium Eius Esse intimi intelligentiam omnium operum Eius illuminat. Sic res analogice se habet inter personas humanas. Persona in agendo manifestatur et quo melius quamdam cognoscimus personam, eo melius eius agere intelligimus.

237 The Trinity is a mystery of faith in the strict sense, one of the “mysteries that are hidden in God, which can never be known unless they are revealed by God”.58 To be sure, God has left traces of his Trinitarian being in his work of creation and in his Revelation throughout the Old Testament. But his inmost Being as Holy Trinity is a mystery that is inaccessible to reason alone or even to Israel’s faith before the Incarnation of God’s Son and the sending of the Holy Spirit.

237 Trinitas est fidei mysterium sensu stricto, unum nempe e mysteriis in Deo absconditis, « quae, nisi revelata divinitus, innotescere non possunt ».53 Deus utique quaedam Sui Esse trinitarii vestigia in Suo creationis opere reliquit et in Revelatione Sua decursu Veteris Testamenti. Sed intimitas Eius Esse, ut Sanctae Trinitatis, ante Incarnationem Filii Dei et missionem Sancti Spiritus, constituit mysterium soli rationi et etiam fidei Israel inaccessibile.


II. De revelatione Dei tamquam Trinitatis

The Father revealed by the Son

Pater per Filium revelatus

238 Many religions invoke God as “Father”. The deity is often considered the “father of gods and of men”. In Israel, God is called “Father” inasmuch as he is Creator of the world.59 Even more, God is Father because of the covenant and the gift of the law to Israel, “his first-born son”.60 God is also called the Father of the king of Israel. Most especially he is “the Father of the poor”, of the orphaned and the widowed, who are under his loving protection.61

238 Invocatio Dei ut « Patris » in multis cognita est religionibus. Saepe divinitas tamquam « pater deorum et hominum » consideratur. In Israel, Deus, tamquam Creator mundi, est Pater appellatus.54 Deus adhuc magis est Pater ratione Foederis et doni Legis populo facti, de quo dicit: « Filius meus primogenitus Israel » (Ex 4,22). Etiam appellatus est Pater regis Israel.55Et est, modo prorsus peculiari, « Pater pauperum », orphani et viduae, qui sub Eius benevola sunt protectione.56

239 By calling God “Father”, the language of faith indicates two main things: that God is the first origin of everything and transcendent authority; and that he is at the same time goodness and loving care for all his children. God’s parental tenderness can also be expressed by the image of motherhood,62 which emphasizes God’s immanence, the intimacy between Creator and creature. The language of faith thus draws on the human experience of parents, who are in a way the first representatives of God for man. But this experience also tells us that human parents are fallible and can disfigure the face of fatherhood and motherhood. We ought therefore to recall that God transcends the human distinction between the sexes. He is neither man nor woman: he is God. He also transcends human fatherhood and motherhood, although he is their origin and standard:63 no one is father as God is Father.

239 Sermo fidei, Deum nomine « Patris » nuncupans, duas rationes praecipue indicat: Deum primam omnium esse originem et auctoritatem transcendentem Illumque simul esse bonitatem et sollicitudinem omnes Suos filios diligentem. Haec paterna Dei teneritudo etiam per imaginem maternitatis exprimi potest,57 quae Dei immanentiam atque intimitatem inter Deum et Eius creaturam magis indicat. Ita sermo fidei in experientia humana haurit parentum, qui quodammodo pro homine primi sunt Dei repraesentantes. Haec tamen experientia etiam ostendit, parentes humanos fallibiles esse illosque vultum paternitatis et maternitatis deformare posse. Recordari igitur oportet, Deum humanam sexuum transcendere distinctionem. Ille nec vir est nec femina, Ille est Deus. Paternitatem etiam et maternitatem transcendit humanas,58 licet earum sit origo atque mensura:59 nemo pater est, sicut Deus est Pater.

240 Jesus revealed that God is Father in an unheard-of sense: he is Father not only in being Creator; he is eternally Father in relation to his only Son, who is eternally Son only in relation to his Father: “No one knows the Son except the Father, and no one knows the Father except the Son and any one to whom the Son chooses to reveal him.”64

240 Iesus, Deum esse « Patrem », sensu inaudito, revelavit: Ille non est tantummodo Pater quatenus Creator, sed Pater est aeterne in relatione ad Filium Suum unicum, qui aeterne Filius non est nisi in relatione ad Patrem Suum: « Nemo novit Filium nisi Pater, neque Patrem quis novit nisi Filius et cui voluerit Filius revelare » (Mt 11,27).

241 For this reason the apostles confess Jesus to be the Word: “In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God”; as “the image of the invisible God”; as the “radiance of the glory of God and the very stamp of his nature”.65

241 Hac de causa, Apostoli Iesum tamquam « Verbum » confitentur quod « in principio erat [...] apud Deum, et Deus erat Verbum » (Io 1,1), tamquam Illum « qui est imago Dei invisibilis » (Col 1,15) atque « splendor gloriae et figura substantiae Eius » (Heb 1,3).

242 Following this apostolic tradition, the Church confessed at the first ecumenical council at Nicaea (325) that the Son is “consubstantial” with the Father, that is, one only God with him.66 The second ecumenical council, held at Constantinople in 381, kept this expression in its formulation of the Nicene Creed and confessed “the only-begotten Son of God, eternally begotten of the Father, light from light, true God from true God, begotten not made, consubstantial with the Father”.67

242 Post illos, Ecclesia Traditionem sequens apostolicam anno 325 in primo Concilio Oecumenico Nicaeno confessa est Filium esse « consubstantialem Patri »,60 id est, unum Deum cum Illo. Secundum Concilium Oecumenicum Constantinopoli anno 381 congregatum, in sua formulatione Symboli Nicaeni, hanc expressionem servavit et confessum est « Filium Dei unigenitum, ex Patre natum ante omnia saecula, Lumen de Lumine, Deum verum de Deo vero, genitum, non factum, consubstantialem Patri ».61

The Father and the Son revealed by the Spirit

Pater et Filius a Spiritu revelati

243 Before his Passover, Jesus announced the sending of “another Paraclete” (Advocate), the Holy Spirit. At work since creation, having previously “spoken through the prophets”, the Spirit will now be with and in the disciples, to teach them and guide them “into all the truth”.68 The Holy Spirit is thus revealed as another divine person with Jesus and the Father.

243 Iesus, ante Pascha Suum, missionem annuntiat « alius Paracliti » (Defensoris), Spiritus Sancti. Hic, iam a creatione operans,62 et postquam « locutus est per Prophetas »,63 erit nunc apud discipulos et in illis,64 ut eos doceat65 eosque deducat « in omnem veritatem » (Io 16,13). Ita Spiritus Sanctus tamquam alia revelatur Persona divina in relatione ad Iesum et ad Patrem.

244 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.69 The sending of the person of the Spirit after Jesus’ glorification70 reveals in its fullness the mystery of the Holy Trinity.

244 Origo Spiritus aeterna in Eius missione revelatur temporali. Spiritus Sanctus ad Apostolos et ad Ecclesiam mittitur tam a Patre in nomine Filii quam personaliter a Filio, postquam Hic ad Patrem rediit.66 Missio Personae Spiritus post Iesu glorificationem67 mysterium Sanctissimae Trinitatis plene revelat.

245 The apostolic faith concerning the Spirit was confessed by the second ecumenical council at Constantinople (381): “We believe in the Holy Spirit, the Lord and giver of life, who proceeds from the Father.”71 By this confession, the Church recognizes the Father as “the source and origin of the whole divinity”.72 But the eternal origin of the Spirit is not unconnected with the Son’s origin: “The Holy Spirit, the third person of the Trinity, is God, one and equal with the Father and the Son, of the same substance and also of the same nature. . . Yet he is not called the Spirit of the Father alone,. . . but the Spirit of both the Father and the Son.”73 The Creed of the Church from the Council of Constantinople confesses: “With the Father and the Son, he is worshipped and glorified.”74

245 Fides apostolica relate ad Spiritum Sanctum a secundo Concilio Oecumenico anno 381 Constantinopoli proclamata est: Credimus « et in Spiritum Sanctum, Dominum et vivificantem, qui ex Patre procedit ».68 Hoc modo, Ecclesia Patrem agnoscit tamquam « fontem et originem totius divinitatis ».69 Aeterna tamen Spiritus Sancti origo sine nexu cum illa Filii non est. « Spiritum quoque Sanctum, qui est Tertia in Trinitate Persona, unum atque aequalem cum Deo Patre et Filio credimus esse Deum, unius substantiae, unius quoque esse naturae; [...] qui tamen nec Patris tantum nec Filii tantum, sed simul Patris et Filii Spiritus dicitur ».70 Symbolum Constantinopolitani Concilii Ecclesiae profitetur: « Qui cum Patre et Filio simul adoratur et conglorificatur ».71

246 The Latin tradition of the Creed confesses that the Spirit “proceeds from the Father and the Son (filioque)”. The Council of Florence in 1438 explains: “The Holy Spirit is eternally from Father and Son; He has his nature and subsistence at once (simul) from the Father and the Son. He proceeds eternally from both as from one principle and through one spiration. . . . And, since the Father has through generation given to the only-begotten Son everything that belongs to the Father, except being Father, the Son has also eternally from the Father, from whom he is eternally born, that the Holy Spirit proceeds from the Son.”75

246 Latina Symboli traditio profitetur Spiritum « a Patre Filioque » procedere. Concilium Florentinum, anno 1439, explicat: « Spiritus Sanctus [...] essentiam Suam Suumque esse subsistens habet ex Patre simul et Filio, et ex Utroque aeternaliter tamquam ab uno principio et unica spiratione procedit [...]. Et quoniam omnia, quae Patris sunt, Pater Ipse unigenito Filio Suo gignendo dedit, praeter esse Patrem, hoc ipsum quod Spiritus procedit ex Filio, Ipse Filius a Patre aeternaliter habet, a quo etiam aeternaliter genitus est ».72

247 The affirmation of the filioque does not appear in the Creed confessed in 381 at Constantinople. But Pope St. Leo I, following an ancient Latin and Alexandrian tradition, had already confessed it dogmatically in 447,76 even before Rome, in 451 at the Council of Chalcedon, came to recognize and receive the Symbol of 381. The use of this formula in the Creed was gradually admitted into the Latin liturgy (between the eighth and eleventh centuries). The introduction of the filioque into the Niceno-Constantinopolitan Creed by the Latin liturgy constitutes moreover, even today, a point of disagreement with the Orthodox Churches.

247 Affirmatio de Filioque in Symbolo anno 381 Constantinopoli proclamato non habebatur. Sed sanctus Leo Papa, veterem traditionem latinam et alexandrinam sequens, illam iam anno 447 dogmatice erat professus,73 etiam priusquam Roma anno 451 in Concilio Chalcedonensi Symbolum anni 381 cognovisset et recepisset. Usus huius formulae in Symbolo pedetentim (inter VIII et XI saeculum) est in liturgia latina admissus. Introductio tamen verbi Filioque in Symbolum Nicaenum-Constantinopolitanum peracta a liturgia latina adhuc hodie dissensionem cum Ecclesiis orthodoxis constituit.

248 At the outset the Eastern tradition expresses the Father’s character as first origin of the Spirit. By confessing the Spirit as he “who proceeds from the Father”, it affirms that he comes from the Father through the Son.77 The Western tradition expresses first the consubstantial communion between Father and Son, by saying that the Spirit proceeds from the Father and the Son (filioque). It says this, “legitimately and with good reason”,78 for the eternal order of the divine persons in their consubstantial communion implies that the Father, as “the principle without principle”,79 is the first origin of the Spirit, but also that as Father of the only Son, he is, with the Son, the single principle from which the Holy Spirit proceeds.80 This legitimate complementarity, provided it does not become rigid, does not affect the identity of faith in the reality of the same mystery confessed.

248 Traditio orientalis imprimis notam exprimit Patris ut primae originis relate ad Spiritum. Profitens Spiritum « qui a Patre procedit » (Io 15,26), Eum affirmat a Patre per Filium procedere.74 Traditio vero occidentalis imprimis consubstantialem communionem inter Patrem et Filium affirmat, Spiritum ex Patre Filioque procedere dicens. Ipsa hoc « licite et rationabiliter »75 dicit, quia Personarum divinarum aeternus ordo in communione consubstantiali implicat Patrem, quatenus « est principium sine principio »,76 primam originem esse Spiritus, sed etiam, quatenus Filii unici est Pater, cum Illo unicum esse principium ex quo, « tamquam ex uno principio »,77 Spiritus procedit. Haec licita complementaritas, nisi exacerbetur, identitatem fidei in realitatem eiusdem mysterii proclamati non afficit.


III. Sanctissima Trinitas in doctrina fidei

The formation of the Trinitarian dogma

Dogmatis trinitarii efformatio

249 From the beginning, the revealed truth of the Holy Trinity has been at the very root of the Church’s living faith, principally by means of Baptism. It finds its expression in the rule of baptismal faith, formulated in the preaching, catechesis and prayer of the Church. Such formulations are already found in the apostolic writings, such as this salutation taken up in the Eucharistic liturgy: “The grace of the Lord Jesus Christ and the love of God and the fellowship of the Holy Spirit be with you all.”81

249 Inde ab initio, veritas revelata de Sanctissima Trinitate in radicibus fuit viventis fidei Ecclesiae, praesertim per Baptismum. Ipsa suam invenit expressionem in regula fidei baptismalis enuntiata in praedicatione, catechesi et oratione Ecclesiae. Tales formulae iam in scriptis inveniuntur apostolicis, sicut haec testatur salutatio, resumpta a liturgia eucharistica: « Gratia Domini Iesu Christi et caritas Dei et communicatio Sancti Spiritus cum omnibus vobis » (2 Cor 13,13).78

250 During the first centuries the Church sought to clarify her Trinitarian faith, both to deepen her own understanding of the faith and to defend it against the errors that were deforming it. This clarification was the work of the early councils, aided by the theological work of the Church Fathers and sustained by the Christian people’s sense of the faith.

250 Priorum saeculorum decursu, Ecclesia suam fidem trinitariam, modo magis explicito, enuntiare studuit, sive ut suam propriam fidei intelligentiam altius penetraret sive ut illam contra errores defenderet qui eam deformabant. Haec opera veterum fuit Conciliorum quae a labore theologico Patrum Ecclesiae sunt adiuta et a sensu fidei populi christiani fulcita.

251 In order to articulate the dogma of the Trinity, the Church had to develop her own terminology with the help of certain notions of philosophical origin: “substance”, “person” or “hypostasis”, “relation” and so on. In doing this, she did not submit the faith to human wisdom, but gave a new and unprecedented meaning to these terms, which from then on would be used to signify an ineffable mystery, “infinitely beyond all that we can humanly understand”.82

251 Pro enuntiatione dogmatis Trinitatis, Ecclesia propriam terminologiam evolvere debuit, notionibus originis philosophicae adiuta: « substantia », « persona » vel « hypostasis », « relatio » etc. Hoc faciens, fidem non submisit sapientiae humanae, sed sensum novum, inauditum, his dedit vocabulis, quae exinde ad significandum etiam destinabantur mysterium ineffabile quod « infinite omne id superat, quod nos modo humano intellegere possumus ».79

252 The Church uses (I) the term “substance” (rendered also at times by “essence” or “nature”) to designate the divine being in its unity, (II) the term “person” or “hypostasis” to designate the Father, Son and Holy Spirit in the real distinction among them, and (III) the term “relation” to designate the fact that their distinction lies in the relationship of each to the others.

252 Ecclesia vocabulo utitur « substantia » (quod per « essentiam » vel per « naturam » quandoque etiam vertitur) ad Esse divinum in Eius designandum unitate, vocabulo autem « persona » vel « hypostasis » ad Patrem, Filium et Spiritum Sanctum indicandos in Eorum reali distinctione inter Se, vocabulo autem « relatio » ad indicandum Eorum distinctionem in eo residere quod alii ad alios referuntur.

The dogma of the Holy Trinity

Sanctissimae Trinitatis dogma

253 The Trinity is One. We do not confess three Gods, but one God in three persons, the “consubstantial Trinity”.83 The divine persons do not share the one divinity among themselves but each of them is God whole and entire: “The Father is that which the Son is, the Son that which the Father is, the Father and the Son that which the Holy Spirit is, i.e. by nature one God.”84 In the words of the Fourth Lateran Council (1215), “Each of the persons is that supreme reality, viz., the divine substance, essence or nature.”85

253 Trinitas est Una. Tres deos non confitemur, sed Unum Deum in Tribus Personis: « Trinitatem consubstantialem ».80 Personae divinae unam divinitatem non inter Se dividunt, sed unaquaeque Earum est Deus totus: « cum [...] ipsum sit Pater quod Filius, ipsum Filius quod Pater, ipsum Pater et Filius quod Spiritus Sanctus: id est natura Unus Deus ».81 « Quaelibet Trium Personarum est illa res, videlicet substantia, essentia seu natura divina ».82

254 The divine persons are really distinct from one another. “God is one but not solitary.”86 ”Father”, “Son”, “Holy Spirit” are not simply names designating modalities of the divine being, for they are really distinct from one another: “He is not the Father who is the Son, nor is the Son he who is the Father, nor is the Holy Spirit he who is the Father or the Son.”87 They are distinct from one another in their relations of origin: “It is the Father who generates, the Son who is begotten, and the Holy Spirit who proceeds.”88 The divine Unity is Triune.

254 Personae divinae sunt inter Se realiter distinctae. « Colimus et confitemur: non sic unum Deum, quasi solitarium ».83 « Pater », « Filius », « Spiritus Sanctus » non sunt simpliciter nomina modos divini « Esse » designantia, quia illi inter se realiter sunt distincti: « Non enim Ipse est Pater qui Filius, nec Filius Ipse qui Pater, nec Spiritus Sanctus Ipse qui est vel Pater vel Filius ».84 Inter Se per relationes originis distinguuntur: « Est Pater, qui generat, et Filius, qui gignitur, et Spiritus Sanctus, qui procedit ».85 Divina Unitas est Trina.

255 The divine persons are relative to one another. 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: “In the relational names of the persons the Father is related to the Son, the Son to the Father, and the Holy Spirit to both. While they are called three persons in view of their relations, we believe in one nature or substance.”89 Indeed “everything (in them) is one where there is no opposition of relationship.”90 ”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.”91

255 Personae divinae inter Se sunt relativae. Distinctio realis Personarum inter Se, quia divinam non dividit unitatem, in relationibus solummodo consistit quibus aliae ad alias referuntur: « In relativis vero Personarum nominibus Pater ad Filium, Filius ad Patrem, Spiritus Sanctus ad Utrosque refertur: quae cum relative Tres Personae dicantur, una tamen natura vel substantia creditur ».86 Inter illas utique « omnia [...] sunt unum, ubi non obviat relationis oppositio ».87 « Propter hanc unitatem Pater est totus in Filio, totus in Spiritu Sancto; Filius totus est in Patre, totus in Spiritu Sancto; Spiritus Sanctus totus est in Patre, totus in Filio ».88

256 St. Gregory of Nazianzus, also called “the Theologian”, entrusts this summary of Trinitarian faith to the catechumens of Constantinople:

256 Sanctus Gregorius Nazianzenus, qui etiam « Theologus » appellatur, hoc fidei trinitariae compendium catechumenis tradit Constantinopolitanis:

Above all guard for me this great deposit of faith for which I live and fight, which I want to take with me as a companion, and which makes me bear all evils and despise all pleasures: I mean the profession of faith in the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit. I entrust it to you today. By it I am soon going to plunge you into water and raise you up from it. I give it to you as the companion and patron of your whole life. I give you but one divinity and power, existing one in three, and containing the three in a distinct way. Divinity without disparity of substance or nature, without superior degree that raises up or inferior degree that casts down. . . the infinite co-naturality of three infinites. Each person considered in himself is entirely God. . . the three considered together. . . I have not even begun to think of unity when the Trinity bathes me in its splendor. I have not even begun to think of the Trinity when unity grasps me. . .92

« Ante omnia, bonum depositum, quaeso, custodi, cui vivo, et pro quo milito, et quod utinam me ex hac vita discedentem comitetur, cum quo et omnes vitae molestias perfero, et iucunditates omnes contemno ac pro nihilo duco; fidem, inquam, et confessionem in Patrem, et Filium, et Spiritum Sanctum. Hanc tibi hodierno die committo; cum hac te, et lustricis aquis immergam, et in altum extraham. Hanc tibi do totius vitae sociam, et patronam, unam deitatem et potentiam, quae in Tribus coniunctim invenitur, et Tria divisim comprehendit, nec substantiis aut naturis inaequalis est, nec praestantiis aut submissionibus augetur vel minuitur [...]. Trium infinitorum, infinitam coniunctionem, Deum unumquemque, si separatim consideretur [...]; Deum rursus Tria haec, si simul cogitentur [...]. Vix Unum animo concepi, cum statim Tribus circumfulgeo. Vix Tria distinguere incipio, cum ad Unum reducor ».89


IV. De divinis operibus et missionibus trinitariis

257 ”O blessed light, O Trinity and first Unity!”93 God is eternal blessedness, undying life, unfading light. God is love: Father, Son and Holy Spirit. God freely wills to communicate the glory of his blessed life. Such is the “plan of his loving kindness”, conceived by the Father before the foundation of the world, in his beloved Son: “He destined us in love to be his sons” and “to be conformed to the image of his Son”, through “the spirit of sonship”.94 This plan is a “grace [which] was given to us in Christ Jesus before the ages began”, stemming immediately from Trinitarian love.95 It unfolds in the work of creation, the whole history of salvation after the fall, and the missions of the Son and the Spirit, which are continued in the mission of the Church.96

257 « O lux, beata Trinitas, et principalis Unitas! ».90 Deus est aeterna beatitudo, vita immortalis, lux indeficiens. Deus est amor: Pater, Filius et Spiritus Sanctus. Deus libere gloriam Suae vitae beatae communicare vult. Tale est « beneplacitum Eius » (Eph 1,9) quod ante mundi creationem in Filio Suo concepit dilecto, atque adeo « praedestinavit nos in adoptionem filiorum per Iesum Christum » (Eph 1,5), id est, nos « praedestinavit conformes fieri imaginis Filii Eius » (Rom 8,29) per « Spiritum adoptionis filiorum » (Rom 8,15). Hoc consilium gratia est « quae data est nobis ante tempora saecularia » (2 Tim 1,9), immediate ab amore trinitario procedens. Illud in creationis opere evolvitur et post lapsum in tota salutis historia, in missionibus Filii et Spiritus quas missio continuat Ecclesiae.91

258 The whole divine economy is the common work of the three divine persons. For as the Trinity has only one and the same natures so too does it have only one and the same operation: “The Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit are not three principles of creation but one principle.”97 However, each divine person performs the common work according to his unique personal property. Thus the Church confesses, following the New Testament, “one God and Father from whom all things are, and one Lord Jesus Christ, through whom all things are, and one Holy Spirit in whom all things are”.98 It is above all the divine missions of the Son’s Incarnation and the gift of the Holy Spirit that show forth the properties of the divine persons.

258 Tota Oeconomia divina commune Trium Personarum divinarum est opus. Etenim Trinitas, sicut nonnisi una eademque est natura, unam eamdemque habet operationem.92 « Pater et Filius et Spiritus Sanctus non tria principia [sunt] creaturae, sed unum principium ».93Unaquaeque tamen Persona divina secundum Suam proprietatem personalem commune operatur opus. Sic Ecclesia, Novum sequens Testamentum,94 profitetur: « Unus [...] Deus et Pater ex quo omnia; et Unus Dominus Iesus Christus, per quem omnia; et Unus Spiritus Sanctus, in quo omnia ».95 Missiones divinae Incarnationis Filii et doni Spiritus Sancti proprietates divinarum Personarum praecipue manifestant.

259 Being a work at once common and personal, the whole divine economy makes known both what is proper to the divine persons, and their one divine nature. Hence the whole Christian life is a communion with each of the divine persons, without in any way separating them. Everyone who glorifies the Father does so through the Son in the Holy Spirit; everyone who follows Christ does so because the Father draws him and the Spirit moves him.99

259 Tota Oeconomia divina, opus simul commune et personale, cognoscendas praebet et proprietatem divinarum Personarum et Earum unam naturam. Tota vita christiana est etiam cum unaquaque Personarum divinarum communio quin Illas ullo modo separet. Qui Patrem glorificat, id per Filium facit in Spiritu Sancto; qui Christum sequitur, id facit quia Pater illum attrahit96 et Spiritus illum movet.97

260 The ultimate end of the whole divine economy is the entry of God’s creatures into the perfect unity of the Blessed Trinity.100 But even now we are called to be a dwelling for the Most Holy Trinity: “If a man loves me”, says the Lord, “he will keep my word, and my Father will love him, and we will come to him, and make our home with him”:101

260 Totius Oeconomiae divinae finis ultimus est creaturarum in unitatem perfectam Beatissimae Trinitatis ingressus.98 Sed iam nunc vocamur ut a Sanctissima inhabitemur Trinitate. Dicit enim Dominus: « Si quis diligit me, sermonem meum servabit, et Pater meus diliget eum, et ad eum veniemus et mansionem apud eum faciemus » (Io 14,23):

O my God, Trinity whom I adore, help me forget myself entirely so to establish myself in you, unmovable and peaceful as if my soul were already in eternity. May nothing be able to trouble my peace or make me leave you, O my unchanging God, but may each minute bring me more deeply into your mystery! Grant my soul peace. Make it your heaven, your beloved dwelling and the place of your rest. May I never abandon you there, but may I be there, whole and entire, completely vigilant in my faith, entirely adoring, and wholly given over to your creative action.102

« O Deus meus, Trinitas quam adoro, adiuva me ut mei plene obliviscar ad me immobilem et serenam in Te stabiliendam, quasi anima mea in aeternitate iam esset; nihil pacem meam perturbare possit neque me ex Te educere, o mi Immutabilis, sed unumquodque temporis momentum me altius ducat in profunditatem mysterii Tui! Animam meam pacifica; fac ex ea caelum Tuum, mansionem Tuam dilectam et locum quietis Tuae. Utinam nunquam Te ibi relinquam solum, sed Tecum sim ibi tota egomet ipsa, tota in fide mea vigilans, tota in adoratione, tota actioni creatrici Tuae dedita ».99



261 The mystery of the Most Holy Trinity is the central mystery of the Christian faith and of Christian life. God alone can make it known to us by revealing himself as Father, Son and Holy Spirit.

261 Mysterium Sanctissimae Trinitatis mysterium est centrale fidei et vitae christianae. Solus Deus Eius cognitionem nobis praebere potest Se tamquam Patrem, Filium et Spiritum Sanctum revelans.

262 The Incarnation of God’s Son reveals that God is the eternal Father and that the Son is consubstantial with the Father, which means that, in the Father and with the Father the Son is one and the same God.

262 Incarnatio Filii Dei revelat, Deum esse Patrem aeternum, et Filium esse Patri consubstantialem, scilicet, Ipsum in Illo et cum Illo Eumdem esse unum Deum.

263 The mission of the Holy Spirit, sent by the Father in the name of the Son (Jn 14:26) and by the Son “from the Father” (Jn 15:26), reveals that, with them, the Spirit is one and the same God. “With the Father and the Son he is worshipped and glorified” (Nicene Creed).

263 Missio Spiritus Sancti, quem Pater in nomine Filii 100 et Filius « a Patre » (Io 15,26) mittit, revelat Ipsum esse cum Illis Eumdem Deum unum. « Cum Patre et Filio simul adoratur et conglorificatur ». 101

264 ”The Holy Spirit proceeds from the Father as the first principle and, by the eternal gift of this to the Son, from the communion of both the Father and the Son” (St. Augustine, De Trin. 15, 26, 47: PL 42, 1095).

264 « Spiritus Sanctus de Patre principaliter, et Ipso sine ullo intervallo temporis dante[Filio], communiter de Utroque procedit ». 102

265 By the grace of Baptism “in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit”, we are called to share in the life of the Blessed Trinity, here on earth in the obscurity of faith, and after death in eternal light (cf. Paul VI, CPG § 9).

265 Per gratiam Baptismi « in nomine Patris et Filii et Spiritus Sancti » (Mt 28,19) ad vitam Beatissimae Trinitatis vocamur participandam, « hisce in terris in obscuritate fidei et post mortem in sempiterna luce ». 103

266 ”Now this is the Catholic faith: We worship one God in the Trinity and the Trinity in unity, without either confusing the persons or dividing the substance; for the person of the Father is one, the Son’s is another, the Holy Spirit’s another; but the Godhead of the Father, Son and Holy Spirit is one, their glory equal, their majesty coeternal” (Athanasian Creed: DS 75; ND 16).

266 « Fides autem catholica haec est, ut Unum Deum in Trinitate, et Trinitatem in unitate veneremur, neque confundentes Personas, neque substantiam separantes: alia est enim Persona Patris, alia Filii, alia Spiritus Sancti; sed Patris et Filii et Spiritus Sancti una est divinitas, aequalis gloria, coaeterna maiestas ». 104

267 Inseparable in what they are, the divine persons are also inseparable in what they do. But within the single divine operation each shows forth what is proper to him in the Trinity, especially in the divine missions of the Son’s Incarnation and the gift of the Holy Spirit.

267 Personae divinae, inseparabiles in eo quod sunt, etiam in eo quod faciunt inseparabiles sunt. Sed in unica operatione divina unaquaeque id manifestat quod Ei in Trinitate proprium est, praecipue in missionibus divinis Incarnationis Filii et doni Spiritus Sancti.