We love teaching about the Holy Trinity, but always approach the subject with a little trepidation.
The Trinity is a mystery of faith in the strict sense, one of the “mysteries that are hidden in God, which can never be known unless they are revealed by God”. To be sure, God has left traces of his Trinitarian being in his work of creation and in his Revelation throughout the Old Testament. But his inmost Being as Holy Trinity is a mystery that is inaccessible to reason alone or even to Israel’s faith before the Incarnation of God’s Son and the sending of the Holy Spirit. –CCC 237
The Holy Trinity is an inaccessible mystery yet God chooses to reveal parts to us, and that’s what we’re passing on to students this month. This image is a wonderful starting point because it’s rich with teaching symbolism. (Lots of this is pretty obvious, but we’ll go through it anyway. Let me know if I missed something.)
- The entire piece is enclosed in one large circle, representing the unity of the Trinity.
- Each of the three Persons also has their own circle as well, showing their distinctions.
- The circles are equally sized.
- The circles are intertwined, again showing unity.
- The Father’s circle is on top featuring a hand of blessing.
- The hand is a symbol of one who creates (as we most often do with our hands) and this emphasizes the role of Creator that we often associate with God the Father.
- The word YHWH is the Hebrew name of God, typically pronounced YAH-way. It can be translated as I am Who am.
- Abba is the Aramaic word for father, used in a familiar way as a child would when addressing his or her father.
- In the left circle we see Jesus represented as the Lamb of God, emphasizing his sacrificial role.
- ICXC is a christogram, a combination of letters forming an abbreviation of the name of Jesus. These are an abbreviation of the Greek version of the name of Jesus Christ.
- The book with the seven seals is a reference to Revelation 5:1-13
- The flag is a symbol from the Middle Ages; a sign of victory through the cross.
- The Holy Spirit’s circle is bottom right and features a dove and tongues of flame all descending downward. These are two major symbols of the Holy Spirit, showing His action in revealing God to us.
- The equilateral triangle in the background symbolizes that all three are equal and unified.
- Each has a halo (red circle with golden rays) showing their sanctity.
- The words “Holy, Holy, Holy” are from Revelation 4:8 and echo the words of heaven where they constantly sing the song of praise, “Holy, holy, holy is the Lord God almighty, who was, and who is, and who is to come.”’
- The trefoils at the point of the triangle are traditional symbols of the Trinity, like a clover, showing the 3 in 1 concept.