Three Persons in One Nature
THE notion is unfortunately widespread that the mystery of the Blessed Trinity is a mystery of mathematics, that is to say, of how one can equal three. The plain Christian accepts the doctrine of the Trinity; the "advanced" Christian rejects it; but too often what is being accepted by the one and rejected by the other is that one equals three. The believer argues that God has said it, therefore it must be true; the rejecter argues it cannot be true, therefore God has not said it. A learned non-Catholic divine, being asked if he believed in the Trinity, answered, "I must confess that the arithmetical aspect of the Deity does not greatly interest me"; and if the learned can think that there is some question of arithmetic involved, the ordinary man can hardly be expected to know any better.
Nor does he. Consider what happens when a believer in the doctrine is suddenly called upon to explain it -- and note that unless he is forced to, he will not talk about it at all: there is no likelihood of his being so much in love with the principal doctrine of his Faith that he will want to tell people about it. Anyhow, here he is: he has been challenged, and must say something. The dialogue runs something like this:
Believer: "Well, you see, there are three persons in one nature."
Questioner: "Tell me more."
Believer: "Well, there is God the Father, God the Son, God the Holy Ghost."
Questioner: "Ah, I see, three gods."