i. They have the Trinity ever before their eyes.
ii. They cause the people to adore the Trinity.
iii. They work in the name of the Trinity.
“Going therefore, teach ye all nations, baptising them in the Name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost teaching them to observe all things, whatsoever I have commanded you,” St. Matt, xxviii. 19.
In the Name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost, Amen.
I. Priests should have a deeper knowledge of the mystery of the Trinity than the rest of the Faithful, in consequence of their study of dogmatic treatises, in which all the truths relating to this sublime subject are so carefully set forth. Profiting by such instruction, they will discover traces of the Trinity in all creation; for “of Him, and by Him, and in Him are all things” (Rom. xi. 36). Even in their own souls, the memory, the understanding, and the will may serve to remind them of the Trinity of Persons in unity of essence; whilst all their actions should be directed (as St. Augustin enjoins), to the remembrance, the contemplation, and the love of the Most High Trinity. Further, Priests offer the Sacrifice of the Mass to the Holy Trinity, as they assert so frequently in the sacred Liturgy they chant the Trisagium in profound adoration of the Blessed Trinity, thus fulfilling upon earth the office of the Seraphim, and of the four mystical living creatures, who sing the same hymn continually in Heaven (Is. vi. 3; Rev. iv. 8). In this Trisagium the distinction of Persons and unity of substance are clearly set forth (says St. John Damascene); for when we say thrice, “Holy, Holy, Holy,” we praise and adore the glory of the Triune God. Again, when we say “Lord God of Hosts, the Heavens and earth are full of Thy glory!” the three Divine Persons are worshipped with equal homage. Lastly, Priests are bound to the frequent repetition of the “Gloria Patri,” by which they are invited to profound adoration of the Trinity; and in repeating those words let them call to mind St. Bernard’s remarks. There is (says he) the Creative Trinity — the Father, the Son, and the Holy Ghost. From this Trinity the created trinity fell away — that is to say, the memory, the reason, and the will; and that by means of another trinity — viz., suggestion, delight, consent; and this trinity into which it fell consists of weakness, blindness, and uncleanness. What important subject of examination is this! What motives does it not suggest for adoring, loving, invoking the Divine Trinity!
II. Teach ye. St. Jerome admires the order indicated by the Saviour’s command, which was, that the Apostles should first teach all nations, and afterwards baptise them. Let us, too, in teaching these sublime truths to the unlearned and ignorant, follow (as St. Gregory Nazianzus bids us) the Prophets and Apostles; nay, let us tread in the footsteps of our Redeemer, who, before He left this world, said to His Father, “I have manifested Thy Name to men” (St. John xvii. 6); by which words (says St. John Chrysostom) He indicated the Mystery of the Trinity to men. How many are there, even amongst Catholics, who are ignorant of this Mystery, and, therefore, incapable of receiving the Sacraments! Perhaps we might say more truly now than St. Philip Neri said in his day, “We have Indians in Italy.” And may not this possibly be due to the negligence of the Priesthood? Priests, however, are bound to defend this august Mystery from the attacks of all those who oppose it, whether Jews, Unitarians, Mormons or unbelievers. They should look to the example of those who devote their speech and pen to its defence, as well as of those who have undergone bitter persecutions and cruel martyrdom in support of this great truth. St. Augustin teaches Priests how they should defend this Mystery “First we show that our faith is consistent with the teaching of Holy Scripture. Then we should satisfy the demands of those undecided murmurers who are self-opinionated with their own vanity rather than possessed of any real capacity for understanding the truth: thus, I say, we may leave no room for doubt to such persons. Let us, then, do our utmost to promote the direct worship of the Trinity, so that it may not happen that, while the Saints receive their due homage, there should be any neglect in the adoration of the Three Divine Persons — the Triune God — the uncreated Sanctity — the sole Creator and source of all sanctity.” Let us strive to realise the desire as expressed by St. Augustin: — “When we shall have reached Thee, Thou alone shalt be in us, all in all. Then we shall be ever praising Thee; then we shall be made one in Thee, O Triune God.”
III. Baptising them in the Name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost. Baptism is the door of entrance to all the Sacraments and, as our Saviour, by the words “Teach ye,” gave the Gospel trumpet into the Apostles’ hands (says St. Leo), so, when He commanded them to baptise in the Name of the Trinity, He manifested by what authority they were to act in dispensing the heavenly treasures. As the three Persons have one and the same Divinity, so is the gift of grace one (says St. Jerome) which They bestow through one agency. And, as all men were created by God, Who is one in essence and three in Persons, so by the same Triune God have they been created anew to salvation. Consequently it has been said that the whole dispensation of the Church is perfected in the Trinity. What confidence, therefore, in the Trinity ought not we to have in the discharge of the duties of the ministry And how great blessings will not that Priest procure for himself who invokes the Most Holy Trinity in all trials and dangers How many Priests, thus filled with the Spirit of God, have experienced in a sensible manner the protection of the Blessed Trinity!
“May God, our God, bless us: may God bless us.” Ps, lxvi. 7.
“Holy, Holy, Holy, the Lord God of hosts.” Is. vi. 3.