Fr Dwight Longenecker on the Holy Trinity and Jesus as the Way, the Truth and the Life
When Jesus Christ says, "I am the Way, the Truth and the Life, no one comes to the Father, but through me" is he also pointing us toward an insight concerning the Holy Trinity and our progress in the Christian life and vocation? The Holy Trinity is therefore, not some abstruse doctrine, but a living and vital concept that renews me from within and is hidden, but revealed, within the simple gospel teaching that Christ himself is the Way, the Truth and the Life.
Fr Dwight Longenecker
P>GREENVILLE, SC (Catholic Online) -When Jesus Christ says, "I am the Way, the Truth and the Life, no one comes to the Father, but through me" is he also pointing us toward an insight concerning the Holy Trinity and our progress in the Christian life and vocation?
Here's my reasoning. The Way can, by anaology, be understood as the physical aspect of our being. It's the walk we walk. It's the life we lead. It's the body we have. It's the actions we do. It's the deeds we decide on. It's the body.
The Truth can, by analogy, be understood as the mental or intellectual aspect of our being. It's the doctrine we believe. It's the philosophy we follow. It's the analysis we understand. It's the thought, the concept, the decision and the dogma. It's the head.
The Life can, by analogy, be understood as the spiritual, intuitive, relational, emotional aspect of our being. It's the relationships we have. It's the emotions we feel. It's the intuitions we have. It's the life that we live. It's the compassion we feel and the love that we love. It's the heart.
These three aspects, Body, Mind and Spirit make us, in an analogous sense, into little trinities. However, also in us, because of the effects of sin, those three are at war. They are discordant. They are not in harmony. The end of the Christian journey is to be fulfilled and completed, whole and in balance, to be 'self actualized', as properly understood. To become that we were intended to be.
In other words-to be saints. Saints have these three aspects of body, mind and spirit in perfectly graced balance. They have responded to God by offering their human freedom, by saying yes to God's continued offer of grace, they have been completed, perfected in Him. Jesus is the Way, the Truth and the Life.
So, if these three aspects of Body, Mind and Spirit are meant to be one, when Jesus says he is Way, Truth and Life he is also saying that he is fulfillment of the Body, the Mind and the Spirit. He completes the physical, mental and spiritual aspects of who we are. Life in Christ is therefore life that is completed physically, mentally and spiritually. In Him we come to wholeness. In Him all that is lacking in body, mind and spirit is completed, purified, fulfilled and made One.
The Church teaches us that what one person of the Holy Trinity does, all do. So, for example, when God spoke the world into existence he did so through the Divine Word (who was in time incarnate as the Son) and through the indwelling and overshadowing of the Holy Spirit. Likewise, at the incarnation God the Father, who begat the Son eternally, overshadows the Virgin through the power of the Holy Spirit so that the Son is enfleshed. Likewise here, the Son speaks of being the Way, the Truth and the Life and so indicates that he IS the physical aspect, the mental aspect and the Spiritual aspect of Man, and therefore One Unity. Blessed Trinity.
And this is where the Holy Trinity comes in. Jesus prays in John 17 that we might be "one as he and the Father are one." That if I am Body, Mind and Spirit-a little trinity, then I am called to be three in one and one in three, total unity and total trinity. This is what I aim to become in Christ and by his grace and through his church, for through his church I am given three aspects of my redemption and sanctification. I have sacraments which minister to the Body and Doctrine which ministers to the Mind, and Grace-the infilling of the Holy Spirit, which redeems my Spirit.
The Holy Trinity is therefore, not some abstruse doctrine, but a living and vital concept that renews me from within and is hidden, but revealed, within the simple gospel teaching that Christ himself is the Way, the Truth and the Life.
Fr Dwight Longenecker is the pastor of Our Lady of the Rosary Catholic Church in Greenville, South Carolina. Browse his books, connect with his blog and be in touch at dwightlongenecker.com
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