Malankara World

Faith of the Church: Trinity

Trinity - Father, Son and Holy Spirit

St. Ephrem and Eastern Orthodox Concepts on Trinity

St. Ephrem, Deacon and Doctor of the Church, "Harp of the Holy Spirit," uses the image of the sun to help us understand the Trinity as Three-In-One: the bright sphere we see in the sky is the origin of what we know as the sun; it is like the Father, origin of all there is. The light of the sun, coming from the origin, is what we actually see; this is like the Son, Ray and "Light of the World". We feel the warmth of the sun, also coming from the origin; this is like the Holy Spirit, the warmth of God's Love poured out graciously upon us. Source, Light and Warm Love seem separate to us but they are all one. One advantage of this analogy is it similarity to the references to light in the Creed.

In general, the East has tended to favor the economic Trinity approach to the Blessed Trinity. In particular, the Syriac Church (including the Maronite Church) favored the economic Trinity approach as its tradition was adamantly scriptural and initially resisted the terms used in Greek philosophy to talk about theology. The West tended to favor the immanent approach (CCC236).

Today, all Traditions have elements of both approaches to help understand something that will only be fully understood in God's Presence in the Kingdom. For example, at every Maronite Divine Liturgy, at the conclusion of the Penitential Rite, this strong affirmation of the inner life of the Trinity is made, as the Celebrant blesses the Congregation:

May the grace of the most Holy Trinity +,
eternal and co-equal in essence,
be with you, my brothers and sisters,
forever.

We thus realize: The economic Trinity is the immanent Trinity. The ancient Church expressed the truth by the Greek word, perichoresis, which can be understood as a "dancing together" within the Godhead and as reaching out to us. What Jesus revealed to us in the words of the New Testament is nothing less than the inner life of the Divine One.

Awesome!

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