The Supernatural Aim of the Church: A Homily on the Solemnity of the Most Blessed Trinity
Let me begin by reminding you of something Saint Cyprian tells us: ‘The universal Church is a people which derives its unity from the unity of the Father, of the Son and of the Holy Spirit.’ It is not out of place therefore to preach about the Church on this feast of the most Blessed Trinity. The Church is rooted in this fundamental mystery of our catholic faith: the mystery of God who is one in essence and three in persons.
The Fathers all see the Church as centered in the Trinity. Look how clearly Saint Augustine puts it: God then dwells in his temple. Not only the Holy Spirit but also the Father and the Son… Therefore, the holy Church is the temple of God, the temple of the entire Trinity.
Next Sunday when we gather again, we will consider another marvelous aspect of the Church. We will fix our attention on the marks of the Church that we will recite in a few moments in the Creed after singing our belief in the Father, in the Son, and in the Holy Spirit: Et in Spiritum Sanctum, we say, and in unam, sanctam, catholicam et apostolicam Ecclesiam. We confess that there is only one Church which is holy, catholic and apostolic.
All those who have truly loved the Church have known how to relate these four marks to the doctrine of the Blessed Trinity, which is the most ineffable mystery of our faith. We believe in the one, holy, catholic and apostolic Church of God, in which we receive the faith. In her we know the Father, Son and Holy Spirit and are baptized in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit.
We need to meditate frequently on the fact that the Church is a deep, great mystery, so that we never forget it. We cannot fully understand the Church on this earth. If men, using only their reason, were to analize it, they would see only a group of people who abide by certain precepts and think in a similar way. But that would not be the Church.
In the Church we Catholics find our faith, our norms of conduct, our prayer, our sense of fraternity. Through it we are united with all our brothers who have already left this life and are being cleansed in Purgatory — the Church suffering — and with those who already enjoy the beatific vision and love forever the thrice holy God — the Church triumphant. The Church is in our midst and at the same time transcends history. It was born under the mantle of our Lady and continues to praise her on earth and in heaven as its mother.
Let us strengthen our faith in the supernatural character of the Church. Let us profess it with shouts, if necessary, for there are many, physically within the Church and even in high places, who have forgotten these capital truths. They try to propose an image of the Church which is neither holy nor one. Neither would it be apostolic since it is not founded on the rock of Peter. Their substitute is not catholic, because it is riddled with unwarranted irregularities which are mere human caprices.
This is nothing new. Since Jesus Christ Our Lord founded the Church, this Mother of ours has suffered constant persecution. In times past the attacks were delivered openly. Now, in many cases, persecution is disguised. But today, as yesterday, the Church continues to be buffeted from many sides.
Let me say once again that I am not a pessimist by habit or by temperament. How can we be pessimistic if Our Lord has promised that he will be with us until the end of the world?
The effusion of the Holy Spirit upon the Apostles gathered together in the Cenacle provided the first public manifestation of the Church.
Our Father God is a loving Father. To help us understand this, Scripture graphically tells us that he takes care of us like the apple of his eye. He never ceases to sanctify, through the Holy Spirit, the Church founded by his beloved Son. But the Church is going through difficult moments. Confused shouting is heard on all sides, and all the errors which have occurred in the course of the centuries are reappearing with great fanfare.
“The Supernatural Aim of the Church” is a homily by St. Josemaria Escriva on the Solemnity of the Most Blessed Trinity, May 28th, 1972. The homily is published by Scepter Publishers in the book “In Love with the Church”.