Saint Augustine on the Trinity

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All those Catholic expounders of the divine Scriptures, both Old and New, whom I have been able to read, who have written before me concerning the Trinity, Who is God, have purposed to teach, according to the Scriptures, this doctrine, that the Father, and the Son, and the Holy Spirit intimate a divine unity of one and the same substance in an indivisible equality; and therefore that they are not three Gods, but one God: although the Father has begotten the Son, and so He who is the Father is not the Son; and the Son is begotten by the Father, and so He who is the Son is not the Father; and the Holy Spirit is neither the Father nor the Son, but only the Spirit of the Father and of the Son, Himself also co-equal with the Father and the Son, and pertaining to the unity of the Trinity. Yet not that this Trinity was born of the Virgin Mary, and crucified under Pontius Pilate, and buried, and rose again the third day, and ascended into heaven, but only the Son. Nor, again, that this Trinity descended in the form of a dove upon Jesus when He was baptized; nor that, on the day of Pentecost, after the ascension of the Lord, when there came a sound from heaven, as of a rushing mighty wind, the same Trinity sat upon each of them with cloven tongues like as of fire, but only the Holy Spirit. Nor yet that this Trinity said from heaven, You are my Son, whether when He was baptized by John, or when the three disciples were with Him in the mount, or when the voice sounded, saying, I have both glorified it, and will glorify it again; but that it was a word of the Father only, spoken to the Son; although the Father, and the Son, and the Holy Spirit, as they are indivisible, so work indivisibly. This is also my faith, since it is the Catholic faith.

3 Responses to Saint Augustine on the Trinity

  • I see intimations of the filioque.

  • I always tacitly believed all the Church taught re: the Trinity but it never really made any difference in my life until one night at a family dinner, I happened to glance up at a picture on the dining room wall of the Trinity. It hit me that our fam, gathered around that table, was part of the “family” in the picture on the wall….that we wouldn’t be here without “them” &, in fact, we exist in them. THAT’s when the Trinity started to make a difference to me.

  • The story has it that Augustine was walking along the seashore, meditating on the Trinity. He came upon a child “emptying” the sea into a hole in the sand.
    “What are you doing?” he asked.
    “I am emptying the sea into this hole”.
    “Oh you will never succeed”.
    “I will succeed sooner than you will understand the Trinity”.

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