Gospel of Trinity Sunday

Matthew 28:18-20

At that time Jesus said to His disciples: All is power given to Me in heaven and on earth. Going therefore, teach ye all nations, baptizing 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. And behold I am with you all days, even to the consummation of the world.


Ver. 18. All power is given to me. The Arians object that the power which Christ had, is said to be given him by another. The Catholics answer, that Christ, as man, received this power from God. 2dly. It may also be said, that the eternal Son, though he be equal, and be the same God with the Father, yet he proceeds and receives all from the Father. Wi. — See here the warrant and commission of the apostles and their successors, the bishops and pastors of Christ’s Church. He received from his Father, all power in heaven and in earth: and in virtue of this power he sends them (even as his Father sent him, S. John xx. 21.) to teach and disciple, maqhteuein, not one, but all nations, and instruct them in all truths: and that he may assist them effectually in the execution of this commission, he promises to be with them, (not for three or four hundred years only) but all days, even to the consummation of the world. How then could the Catholic Church go astray? having always with her pastors, as is here promised, Christ himself, who is the way, the truth, and the life. S. John xiv. 6. Ch. — Some hence infer that Jesus Christ, according to his human nature, was sovereign Lord of the whole world; but more properly this may be taken of his spiritual power, such as regards the salvation of souls. For Jesus Christ says to Pilate, my kingdom is not of this world. This spiritual power, Jesus Christ communicated in part to his apostles and their successors in the ministry, as to his vicars: As my Father hath sent me, so I send you. Whatsoever you shall loose upon earth, shall be loosed also in heaven: behold here the power both in heaven and earth. E.

Ver. 19. Teach all nations. In S. Mark we read, going into the whole world, preach to every creature, that is capable of it; not only to the Jews, but to all nations throughout the whole world, baptizing them, &c. The Anabaptists pretend to shew from this place, that none are to be baptized, unless they be first taught and instructed. This is true, as to persons who are already come to an age, in which they are capable of being instructed before their baptism. But according to the tradition and constant doctrine of the Catholic Church, received also by the pretended Reformed Churches, new born children are to be baptized before they are capable of instruction: nor can they enter into the kingdom of heaven without baptism. — In the name of the Father, &c. We are made Christians in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost: we profess to believe, and hope for our salvation, by believing, hoping, serving, and adoring the same three divine Persons, from whence the Fathers prove the Father, the Son, and the Holy Ghost to be one God, and equal in all perfections. Wi. — Had Christ only said, Lo! I am with you all days; it might, in that case, be limited to the natural lives of the apostles; but as He moreover adds, even to the consummation of the world, it must necessarily be extended to their successors in the ministry, till the end of time. E. — By these words Go, teach, he gives them the power of teaching not only what relates to faith, but also what is necessarily connected with piety and a holy conversation. For we see added a further explanation, teaching them to observe all things whatsoever I have commanded you; which words, beyond all doubt, must be referred to the precepts of a holy life. How egregiously then must those men be deceived, who infer from the words teach all nations, that faith alone will suffice. What follows, baptizing them, shews another part of the pastoral functions, which consists in the administration of the sacraments. Hence also all heretics are refuted, who pretend to affirm that all ecclesiastical ministry consists in barely delivering the word. Estius, in dif. loca.

Ver. 20. Behold I am with you all days, even to the end of the world, embraces two points necessary for the Church; viz. integrity of doctrine, and sanctity of life; for, if either of these should be wanting to the Church, it might then be justly said, that she had been left and abandoned by Christ, her Spouse. E. — Jesus Christ will make good his promise: 1. by always dwelling in the hearts of the faithful; 2. by his sacramental presence in the holy Eucharist; 3. by his providential care, and constant protection to his holy Catholic Church. These last six lines of S. Matthew’s gospel, says the bright luminary of France, Bossuet, most clearly demonstrate the infallibility and indefectibility of the one, holy, Catholic Church, which all are commanded to hear and obey.


2204: The Christian Education of Youth

From the Encyclical,
"Divini illius magistri,"
December 31, 1929

But in the first place, in a more pre-eminent way education pertains to the Church, namely, because of a twofold title in the supernatural order which God conferred upon her alone; and thus by an entirely more powerful and more valid title than any other title of the natural order.

The first reason for such a right rests on the supreme authority of the magisteriumand on the mission which the divine Founder of the Church bestowed upon her in those words: “All power is given to me in heaven and on earth. Going therefore teach ye . . . even unto the consummation of l the world” [ Matt. 28:18-20]. Upon this magisterium Christ the Lord conferred immunity from error, together with the command to teach His doctrine to all; therefore, the Church “has been established by her divine Founder as the pillar and foundation of truth, to teach all men the divine faith, to guard its deposit given to her whole and inviolate, and to direct and fashion men in their public and private actions unto purity of morals and integrity of life, according to the norm of revealed doctrine.”

The second reason for the right arises from that supernatural duty of a mother, by which the Church, most pure spouse of Christ, bestows upon men a life of divine grace, and nurtures and promotes it by her sacraments and precepts. Worthily then does St. Augustine say: “He will not have God as father, who would not be willing to have the Church as mother.”

229: The Form of Baptism

From the epistle
"Admonemus ut"
to Gaudentius, Bishop of Volterra,
about the year 560

There are many who assert that they are baptized in the name of Christ alone with only one immersion. But the evangelical precept which the very God, our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ, handed down warns us to give each one holy baptism in the name of the Trinity and with a triple immersion also, since our Lord Jesus Christ said to his disciples: Go, baptize all nations in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit [Matt. 28:19]. If, in fact, those of the heretics, who are said to remain in places near your love, confess perchance that they have been baptized only in the name of the Lord, without any uncertainty of doubt you will baptize them in the name of the Holy Trinity, if they come to the Catholic faith. But if . . . by a clear confession it becomes evident that they have been baptized in the name of the Trinity, you will hasten to unite them to the Catholic faith, employing only the grace of reconciliation, in order that nothing other than what the evangelical authority orders may seem to be accomplished.

412: The Matter of Baptism

From the letter
"Non ut apponeres"
to Thorias, Archbishop of Nidaros

You have asked whether children ought to be regarded as Christians whom, when in danger of death, on account of the scarcity of water and the absence of a priest, the simplicity of some has anointed on the head and the breast, and between the shoulders with a sprinkling of saliva for baptism. We answer that since in baptism two things always, that is, “the word and the element,” are required by necessity, according to which Truth says concerning the word: “Going into the world etc.” [Luke 16:15; cf. Matt. 28:19], and the same concerning the element says: “Unless anyone etc.” [John 3:5] you ought not to doubt that those do not have true baptism in which not only both of the above mentioned (requirements) but one of them is missing.

413: The Minister of Baptism and the Baptism of Spirit

From the letter
"Debitum pastoralis officii"
to Berthold, the Bishop of Metz,
August 28, 1206

You have, to be sure, intimated that a certain Jew, when at the point of death, since he lived only among Jews, immersed himself in water while saying: “I baptize myself in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit, Amen.”

We respond that, since there should be a distinction between the one baptizing and the one baptized, as is clearly gathered from the words of the Lord, when he says to the Apostles: “Go baptize all nations in the name etc.” [cf. Matt. 28:19], the Jew mentioned must be baptized again by another, that it may be shown that he who is baptized is one person, and he who baptizes another. . . . If, however, such a one had died immediately, he would have rushed to his heavenly home without delay because of the faith of the sacrament, although not because of the sacrament of faith.

798: The Manner of Preparation

Council of Trent,
SESSION VI (Jan. 13, 1547)
Decree On Justification

Now they are disposed to that justice [can. 7 and 9] when, aroused and assisted by divine grace, receiving faith “by hearing” [Rom. 10:17], they are freely moved toward God, believing that to be true which has been divinely revealed and promised [can. 12 and 14], and this especially, that the sinner is justified by God through his grace, “through the redemption which is in Christ Jesus” [Rom. 3:24], and when knowing that they are sinners, turning themselves away from the fear of divine justice, by which they are profitably aroused [can. 8], to a consideration of the mercy of God, they are raised to hope, trusting that God will be merciful to them for the sake of Christ, and they begin to love him as the source of all justice and are therefore moved against sins by a certain hatred and detestation [can. 9], that is, by that repentance, which must be performed before baptism [Acts 2:38]; and finally when they resolve to receive baptism, to begin a new life and to keep the commandments of God. Concerning this disposition it is written: “He that cometh to God must believe, that he is and is a rewarder to them that seek him” [Heb. 11:6], and, “Be of good faith, son, thy sins are forgiven thee” [Matt. 9:2; Mark 2:5], and, “The fear of the Lord driveth out sin” [Sirach. 1:27], and, “Do penance, and be baptized every one of you in the name of Jesus Christ for the remission of your sins, and you shall receive the Holy Spirit” [Acts 2:38], and, “Going therefore teach all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all things whatsoever I have commanded you” [Matt. 28:19], and finally, “Prepare your hearts unto the Lord” [1 Samuel 7:3].

2042: The Errors of Modernists, on the Church, Revelation, Christ, the Sacraments

From the Decree of the Holy Office,
July 3, 1907

[this is a condemned statement –Ed.]

42. The Christian community has introduced the necessity of baptism, adopting it as a necessary rite, and adding to it the obligation of professing Christianity.

2154: The Author, the Time of Composition, and Historical Truth of the Gospel According to Matthew

Response of the Biblical Commission,
June 19, 1911

VII. Whether in particular the opinions of those persons should be rightly considered as devoid of solid foundation, who call into question the historical authenticity of the two first chapters, in which the genealogy and infancy of Christ are related; as also of certain opinions on dogmatic matters of great moment, as are those which have to do with the primacy of Peter [Matt. 16:17-19], the form of baptizing, together with the universal mission of preaching handed over to the apostles [Matt. 28:19-20], the apostles’ profession of faith in the divinity of Christ [Matt. 14:33], and other such matters which occurred in Matthew announced in a special way?–Reply: In the affirmative.

1688: Naturalism, Communism, Socialism

From the Encyclical,
"Quanta cura,"
Dec. 8, 1864

Moreover, although We have not failed to proscribe and frequently condemn the most important errors of this sort, nevertheless, the cause of the Catholic Church and the salvation of souls divinely entrusted to Us, and the good of human society itself, demand that We again arouse your pastoral solicitude to overcome other base opinions which spring from these same errors as from fountains. These false and perverted errors are to be the more detested because they have this goal in mind: to impede and remove that salutary force which the Catholic Church, according to the institution and command of her divine founder, must exercise freely “unto the consummation of the world” [Matt. 28:20], no less toward individual men, than toward nations, peoples, and their highest leaders; and to remove that mutual alliance of councils between the sacerdotal ministry and the government, and that “happy concord which has always existed, and is so salutary to sacred and civil affairs.”

1821: The institution and foundation of the Church

Vatican I,
SESSION IV (July 18, 1870)
Dogmatic Constitution I on the Church of Christ

“The eternal Pastor and Bishop of our souls” [1 Pet. 2:25], in order to render the saving work of redemption perennial, willed to build a holy Church, in which, as in the house of the living God, all the faithful might be contained by the bond of one faith and charity. Therefore, before His glory was made manifest, “He asked the Father, not only for the Apostles but also for those who would believe through their word in Him, that all might be one, just as the Son Himself and the Father are one” [John 17:20 f.]. Thus, then, as He sent the apostles, whom He had selected from the world for Himself, as He himself had been sent by the Father [John 20:21], so in His Church He wished the pastors and the doctors to be “even to the consummation of the world” [Matt. 28:20]. But, that the episcopacy itself might be one and undivided, and that the entire multitude of the faithful through priests closely connected with one another might be preserved in the unity of faith and communion, placing the blessed Peter over the other apostles He established in him the perpetual principle and visible foundation of both unities, upon whose strength the eternal temple might be erected, and the sublimity of the Church to be raised to heaven might rise in the firmness of this faith. * And, since the gates of hell, to overthrow the Church, if this were possible, arise from all sides with ever greater hatred against its divinely established foundation, We judge it to be necessary for the protection, safety, and increase of the Catholic flock, with the approbation of the Council, to set forth the doctrine on the institution, perpetuity, and nature of the Sacred Apostolic Primacy, in which the strength and solidarity of the whole Church consist, to be believed and held by all the faithful, according to the ancient and continual faith of the universal Church, and to proscribe and condemn the contrary errors, so pernicious to the Lord’s flock.

Catena Aurea

16. Then the eleven disciples went away into Galilee, into a mountain where Jesus had appointed them. 17. And when they saw him, they worshipped him: but some doubted. 18. And Jesus came and spake unto them, saying, "All power is given unto me in heaven and in earth. 19. Go ye therefore, and teach all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost: 20. Teaching them to observe all things whatsoever I have commanded you: and, lo, I am with you always, even unto the end of the world. Amen.

Bede, Beda in Hom., non occ.: When Saint Matthew has vindicated the Lord’s Resurrection as declared by the Angel, he relates the vision of the Lord which the disciples had, “Then the eleven disciples went into Galilee into a mountain where Jesus had appointed them.” For when coming to His Passion the Lord had said to His disciples, “After I am risen I will go before you into Galilee;” [Matt 26:32] and the Angel said the same to the women. Therefore the disciples obey the command of their Master. Eleven only go, for one had already perished.

Jerome: After His Resurrection, Jesus is seen and worshipped in the mountain in Galilee; though some doubt, their doubting confirms our faith.

Remig.: This is more fully told by Luke; how when the Lord after the Resurrection appeared to the disciples, in their terror they thought they saw a spirit.

Bede, Hom. Aest. in Fer., vi., Pasch. [ed note: This Homily of Bede (tom. vii, p. 12) is word for word, the same with the Commentary of Rabanus on this part of S. Matthew.]: The Lord appeared to them in the mountain to signify, that His Body which at His Birth He had taken of the common dust of the human race, He had by His Resurrection exalted above all earthly things; and to teach the faithful that if they desire there to see the height of His Resurrection, they must endeavour here to pass from low pleasures to high desires. And He goes before His disciples into Galilee, because “Christ is risen from the dead, the first fruits of them that slept.” [1 Cor 15:20] And they that are Christ’s follow Him, and pass in their order from death to life, contemplating Him as He appears with His proper Divinity. And it agrees with this that Galilee is interpreted ‘revelation.’

Aug., de Cons. Ev., iii, 25: But it is to be considered, how the Lord could be seen bodily in Galilee. For that it was not the day of the Resurrection is manifest; for He was seen that day in Jerusalem in the beginning of the night, as Luke and John evidently agree. Nor was it in the eight following days, after which John says that the Lord appeared to His disciples, and when Thomas first saw Him, who had not seen Him on the day of the Resurrection. For if within these eight days the eleven had seen Him on a mountain in Galilee, Thomas, who was one of the eleven, could not have seen Him first after the eight days. Unless it be said, that the eleven there spoken of were eleven out of the general body of the disciples, and not the eleven Apostles.

But there is another difficulty. John having related that the Lord was seen not in the mountain, but at the sea of Tiberias, by seven who were fishing, adds, “This is now the third time that Jesus shewed himself to his disciples after he was risen from the dead. [John 21:14] So that if we understand the Lord to have been seen within those eight days by eleven of the disciples, this manifestation at the sea of Tiberias will be the fourth, and not the third, appearance. Indeed, to understand John’s account at all it must be observed, that he computes not each appearance, but each day on which Jesus appeared, though He may have appeared more than once on the same day; as He did three times on the day of His Resurrection. We are then obliged to understand that this appearance to the eleven disciples on the mountain in Galilee took place last of all.

In the four Evangelists we find in all ten distinct appearances of Our Lord after His Resurrection.

  1. At the sepulchre to the women.
  2. To the same women on their way back from the sepulchre.
  3. To Peter.
  4. To two disciples as they went into the country.
  5. To many together in Jerusalem;
  6. when Thomas was not with them.
  7. At the sea of Tiberias.
  8. At the mountain in Galilee, according to Matthew.
  9. To the eleven as they sat at meat, because they should not again eat with Him upon earth, related by Mark. [Mark 16:14]
  10. On the day of His Ascension, no longer on the earth, but raised aloft in a cloud, as related by both Mark and Luke.

But all is not written, as John confesses, for He had much conversation with them during forty days before His ascension, “being seen of them, and speaking unto them of the things pertaining to the kingdom of God.” [Acts 1:3]

Remig.: The disciples then, when they saw Him, knew the Lord; and worshipped Him, bowing their faces to the ground. And He their affectionate and merciful Master, that He might take away all doubtfulness from their hearts, coming to them, strengthened them in their belief; as it follows, “And Jesus came and spake to them, saying, All power is given unto me in heaven and in earth.”

Jerome: Power is given to Him, Who but a little before was crucified, Who was buried, but Who afterwards rose again.

Bede: This He speaks not from the Deity coeternal with the Father, but from the Humanity which He took upon Him, according to which “He was made a little lower than the Angels.” [Heb 2:9]

Chrysol., Serm. 80: The Son of God conveyed to the Son of the Virgin, the God to the Man, the Deity to the Flesh, that which He had ever together with the Father.

Jerome: Power is given in heaven and in earth, that He who before reigned in heaven, should now reign on earth by the faith of the believers.

Remig.: What the Psalmist says of the Lord at His rising again, “Thou madest him to have dominion over the works of thy hands,” [Ps 8:6] this the Lord now says of Himself, “All power is given unto me in heaven and in earth.” And here it is to be noted, that even before His resurrection the Angels knew that they were subjected to the man Christ. Christ then desiring that it should be also known to men that all power was committed to Him in heaven and in earth, sent preachers to make known the word of life to all nations; whence it follows, “Go ye therefore, and teach all nations.”

Bede, Beda in Hom. non occ.: He who before His Passion had said, “Go not into the way of the Gentiles,” [Matt 10:5] now, when rising from the dead, says, “Go and teach, all nations.” Hereby let the Jews be put to silence, who say that Christ’s coming is to be for their salvation only. Let the Donatists also blush, who, desiring to confine Christ to one place, have said that He is in Africa only, and not in other countries.

Jerome: They first then teach all nations, and when taught dip them in water. For it may not be that the body receive the sacrament of Baptism, unless the soul first receive the truth of the Faith. “In the name of the Father, the Son, and the Holy Ghost,” that they whose Godhead is one should be conferred at once, to name this Trinity, being to name One God.

Chrysol, Serm. 80: Thus all nations are created a second time to salvation by that one and the same Power, which created them to being.

Jerome, Didymi Lib. ii, de Spir. Sanct.: And though some one there may be of so averse a spirit as to undertake to baptize in such sort as to omit one of these names, therein contradicting Christ Who ordained this for a law, his baptism will effect nothing; those who are baptized by him will not be at all delivered from their sins. From these words we gather how undivided is the substance of the Trinity, that the Father is verily the Father of the Son, and the Son verily the Son of the Father, and the Holy Spirit the Spirit of both the Father and the Son, and also the Spirit of wisdom and of truth, that is, of the Son of God. This then is the salvation of them that believe, and in this Trinity is wrought the perfect communication of ecclesiastical discipline.

Hilary, de Trin. ii, 1 &c: For what part of the salvation of men is there that is not contained in this Sacrament? All things are full and perfect, as proceeding from Him who is full and perfect. The nature of His relation is expressed in the title Father; but He is nothing but Father; for not after the manner of men does He derive from somewhat else that He is Father, being Himself Unbegotten, Eternal, and having the source of His being in Himself, known to none, save the Son. The Son is the Offspring of the Unbegotten, One of the One, True of the True, Living of the Living, Perfect of the Perfect, Strength of Strength, Wisdom of Wisdom, Glory of Glory; the Image of the Unseen God, the Form of the Unbegotten Father.

Neither can the Holy Spirit be separated from the confession of the Father and the Son. And this consolation of our longing desires is absent from no place. He is the pledge of our hope in the effects of His gifts, He is the light of our minds, He shines in our souls. These things as the heretics cannot change, they introduce into them their human explanations. As Sabellius who identifies the Father with the Son, thinking the distinction to be made rather in name than in person, and setting forth one and the same Person as both Father and Son. As Ebion, who deriving the beginning of His existence from Mary, makes Him not Man of God, but God of man. As the Arians, who derive the form, the power, and the wisdom of God out of nothing, and in time. What wonder then that men should have diverse opinions about the Holy Spirit, who thus rashly after their own pleasure create and change the Son, by whom that Spirit is bestowed?

Jerome: Observe the order of these injunctions. He bids the Apostles first to teach all nations, then to wash them with the sacrament of faith, and after faith and baptism then to teach them what things they ought to observe; “Teaching them to observe all things whatsoever I have commanded you.”

Raban.: “For as the body without the spirit is dead, so faith without works is dead also.” [James 2:26]

Chrys.: And because what He had laid upon them was great, therefore to exalt their spirits He adds, “And, lo, I am with you always, even unto the end of the world.” As much as to say, Tell Me not of the difficulty of these things, seeing I am with you, Who can make all things easy. A like promise He often made to the Prophets in the Old Testament, to Jeremiah who pleaded his youth, to Moses, and to Ezekiel, when they would have shunned the office imposed upon them. And not with them only does He say that He will be, but with all who shall believe after them. For the Apostles were not to continue till the end of the world, but He says this to the faithful as to one body.

Raban.: Hence we understand that to the end of the world shall not be wanting those who shall be worthy of the Divine indwelling.

Chrys.: He brings before them the end of the world, that He may the more draw them on, and that they may not look merely to present inconveniences, but to the infinite goods to come. As much as to say, The grievous things which you shall undergo, terminate with this present life, seeing that even this world shall come to an end, but the good things which ye shall enjoy endure for ever.

Bede, Beda in Hom., non occ.: It is made a question how He says here, “I am with you,” when we read elsewhere that He said, “I go unto him that sent me.” [Jon 16:5] What is said of His human nature is distinct from what is said of His divine nature. He is going to His Father in His human nature, He abides With His disciples in that form in which He is equal with the Father. When He says, “to the end of the world,” He expresses the infinite by the finite; for He who remains in this present world with His elect, protecting them, the same will continue with them after the end, rewarding them.

Jerome: He then who promises that He will be with His disciples to the end of the world, shews both that they shall live for ever, and that He will never depart from those that believe.

Leo, Serm., 72, 3: For by ascending into heaven He does not desert His adopted; but from above strengthens to endurance, those whom He invites upwards to glory. Of which glory may Christ make us partakers, Who is the King of glory, “God blessed for ever,” AMEN.

Cornelius a Lapide

And Jesus came and spake to them, &c. Maldonatus and others are of opinion that these things were not done and said by Christ now when He appeared in Galilee, but at the last appearance which took place on the Mount of Olives. For Christ seems there to have said His last farewell to His Apostles, and to have given them His last commands; and to have sent them forth as His ambassadors to evangelise the world, which He did at His ascension.

Is given to Me. That is, to Me alone; and that both because I am the Son of God and God, for from eternity has been given to Me by the Father, with the divine essence, all power and majesty; and also because I am man (as S. Cyril, Athanasius, and others say). It was given to Me inchoately in My incarnation on account of the dignity of the hypostatic union with the WORD; and it was given to Me in its fulness by God on account of the merits of My Passion, when having overcome death, sin, hell, and the devil, as the Redeemer of men, I obtained full right and dominion over them at the price of My blood.

Go ye, therefore, and teach all nations, &c. Hence, according to the tradition of the Church, it is well known that this is the form of baptism, “I baptize thee in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost;” in which we profess our faith in the Holy Trinity and in the Divine Unity, saying, in the Name, not in the Names. Hence S. Isidore (lib. 7, Etymol. c. 4) says, “It is called a Trinity, because One Whole is constituted of Three, as it were a Tri-unity, resembling memory, intelligence, and will, in which the mind has in itself a certain image of the Divine Trinity; for since They are Three, They are One.” Whence, in opposition to the Arians, Macedonians, Nestorians, and other heretics, it is clear that the Son is true God, and of one substance (όμοούσιον) with the Father and the Holy Spirit, as S. Athanasius, Augustine, Hilary, and others teach. Christ, therefore, here most clearly expresses the mystery of the Holy Trinity, which Moses obscurely shadowed forth in the Old Testament, lest the ignorant Jews should believe that the Three Persons were Three Gods, and so after their custom worship a plurality of Gods.

Morally: Learn here that it is a divine work to teach and convert all nations, even rude and barbarous ones. Whence S. Gregory (Hom. 12, in Ezek.), “There is no sacrifice so acceptable to Almighty God as a zeal for souls.” That saying also of Dionysius the Areopagite is well known, “Of all divine works, the most divine is to co-operate with God in the conversion of the wanderers, and in the bringing back of sinners to Himself.”

Teaching them to observe all things whatsoever I have commanded you. That is, all the commandments which I have enjoined in the Gospel; for faith alone does not suffice for salvation, but the keeping of the commandments is required, and the constant practice of virtues. For not the hearers of the law are just before God, but the doers of the law shall be justified (Rom. ii.).

And, behold, I am with you always, even unto the end of the world. Although I ascend into Heaven, I will not forsake you, whom I am sending abroad over the whole world. I am with you, both as God and as man, by present help, grace, consolation, guidance, deliverance, which I will always bestow upon you and your successors; by means of which I will make all difficult things easy to you, says S. Chrysostom, so that out of all nations ye may gather together for Me a Church, that is, a company of faithful and holy men. And I am with you unto the end of the world. This world shall come to an end sooner than My presence in the Church shall fail. “He who promises,” says S. Jerome, “that He will be with His disciples to the end of the world, shows both that they shall live for ever (in their successors), and that He will never depart from them that believe.”

“Do not fear,” says Prosper (lib. 2, de Vocat. Gent. c. 1), “because of your own weakness, but have confidence in My power, for I will not leave you in the performance of this work. Not that ye shall be without suffering, but, which is a much greater thing, I will take care that ye be not overcome by any cruelty of them that rage against you.”

This is what Christ promised to His Apostles before His death (John xvi. 16), I will pray the Father, and He will give you another Comforter, that He may abide with you for ever, even the Spirit of Truth. For the gifts of the Holy Spirit and of Christ are the same, since the Deity of each and the operation of each is the same. For the external works of the Holy Trinity are undivided; and that which One Person works, the other Two also work. To the Holy Spirit, however, who proceeds forth as love, are fitly attributed the works of grace and holiness. So Christ was visibly present with Paul (Acts xxii. 17), and S. Stephen in his martyrdom (Acts vii.).

For this reason, likewise, Christ has willed to abide continually in the Church in the sacrament of the Holy Eucharist. For as the humanity and deity of Christ are present in glory in Heaven, and are adored visibly by the angels and saints, so are the same likewise present in the Eucharist, but hidden under the forms of bread and wine, and therefore invisible, and are there adored, and even partaken of by the faithful. Wherefore it is Christ who, by the ministry of every priest, performs daily that miracle of miracles, namely, the wonderful conversion of the bread and wine into the body and blood of the Lord, which theologians call transubstantiation; for neither man, nor angel, nor created power could effect this. He Himself, therefore, in it offers Himself as an unbloody victim to the Father.

Tropologically: Christ is in and with the faithful soul even to the end of life, granting to it that great gift of perseverance, by which the elect are brought to Heaven. For He does not desert the just man, unless He first be deserted by him. Wherefore Christ is in a holy soul, first, politically, as it were a king in his kingdom, inasmuch as He directs and rules it aright according to the laws of justice.

Secondly, He is in the soul economically, as a father in a house and family, which he rules wisely; He is what a charioteer is in a chariot, so that we ought ever to be crying out to Him, as Elisha did to Elijah when he was being carried up into Heaven, My Father, the chariot of Israel and the charioteer (Vulg.) thereof.

Thirdly, Christ is in the soul ethically, in the manner of reason and prudence, which prudently directs all its actions, according to the rule of divine reason and eternal law which is in the mind of God.

Fourthly, He is in the soul physically that which the soul is in the body; for He is, as it were, the soul of the soul, Himself the life-giving life of grace, in order that the soul may live not an animal and carnal life, but a spiritual and divine one.

Lastly, He is, as it were, a divine fire, kindling the soul with the flame of charity. He is in the soul what the sun is in the world, making it fruitful in good works, according to that saying, He worketh in us to will and to do (Phil. ii.). And, He worketh all things in all according to the purpose of His own will (Eph. i.). It is He who inspires our words with power, in order that they may be effectual to the conversion of the hearers from sin to holiness, according to that saying of Paul, I have planted, Apollos watered, but God gave the increase (1 Cor. iii.). Therefore, O wise and holy soul, go forth to meet thy God with love and desire. Thy Jesus desires to be with thee; do thou in thy turn desire to be with nought but Jesus. His delights are with thee, let thy delights be with Him. Suffer thyself, therefore, to be ruled and guided by Him, as a kingdom suffers itself to be ruled by its king, an army by its leader, a chariot by its charioteer, the will by the reason, the body by the soul, the world by the sun. “Thou art sufficient for God,” says S. Augustine; “let thy God be sufficient for thee.”

⇦ Back to Trinity Sunday