The Trinity and Mercy

Ulrich Saaby Ulrich Mokam Saa, SX –

In a world wounded by natural calamities, war, diseases, famine, discrimination, terrorism, we can be tempted to doubt about God’s presence in the reality. In a world ruled by the strict observance of the law and the strict sanction applied to it,  people yearn for a concrete experience of mercy: a hand to raise them up, an embrace to save them, forgive them, pick them up, flood them with infinite, patient, indulgent love; to put them back on their feet.[1]

Actually, heading towards the end of the Jubilee year of Mercy, we have judge necessary to go back to the Scriptures in order to rediscover the Trinitarian character of God as merciful. In fact, Pope Francis has exemplified his papacy[2] not only by bringing it closer to people, and mostly the outcast, but by also simplifying the gospel in order to bring people to God.

In fact, Christian belief in God is not monotheism in it strict sense, rather, a Trinitarian monotheism. As a point of fact, a Christian is not merely someone who believes in God, he is someone who believes in a God who is Father, Son and Holy Spirit, equal but distinct. It is this that distinguishes a Christian believer from the non-Christian philosophers who admitted the existence of God but to whom the revelation of one God in three persons appears as polytheism, a belief in a number of Gods.[3]

This concrete experience of mercy comes from the discovery of the face of God as the merciful one who, through his loving kindness, remains close to his people. He brings love and mercy out of chaos; He reveals himself as merciful and binds himself to humanity through a covenant. With the help of the Holy Spirit, human beings respond in faith and merciful actions to his gift of friendship and, despite our sins, He remains faithful by restoring us from our sinful state. Jesus, to show us the merciful embrace of the Father and the glory to come, he was incarnated and became for us a concrete example of Christian mercy and the Church as a family of children of God.

Searching for a deeper understanding of the concept of triune merciful God, we will divide this topic into four parts. Firstly, after glancing over the meaning of mercy in the Hebrew culture, we will study God’s mercy in the Old Testament through his work of creation and the revelation of his name on the mount Horeb. Secondly, after showing that Jesus is in fact the fulfillment of God’s image as merciful, we will exemplify it with some of his words and deeds. This will bring us both to analyze the Holy Spirit as merciful and the concrete Trinitarian image of God as merciful. Finally, we tackle the economic dimension of the triune merciful God.

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[1] Pope Francis, The name of God is mercy (London: Bluebird, 2016), 14.

[2] Pope Francis, Evangelii Gaudium [Apostolic Exhortation on the proclamation of the gospel in today’s world], 24 November 2016, Vatican Archive, https://w2.vatican.va/content/francesco/en/apost_exhortations/documents/papa-francesco_esortazione-ap_20131124_evangelii-gaudium.html (accessed 20 October 2016), no. 32.

[3] Piault, what is the Trinity? (London: Burns & Oates, 1959), 8.

One Comment:

  1. A very thoughtful reflection.

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