We celebrated Trinity Sunday last week, which is sometimes jokingly referred to as "Heresy Sunday" among clergy due to the very real danger that the more we try to explain the Holy Trinity the more likely we are to fall into a heresy by mistake.
All humor aside, heresy is not a joking matter. Heresy in the denial of the essential teachings of the Church. The root meaning of heresy is "opinion", and occurs when we substitute our own subjective opinion for the Faith once delivered. It is dangerous not because it is a different way of thinking, but in that a heresy cannot lead us to the healing of salvation. Heresy is the spiritual equivalent of self-treatment and self-medication against your physician's advice.
This is one reason the Church has given us the Creeds, so that we have the proper boundaries of theology, the theology that brings us to spiritual health. While we are used to using the Apostles' and Nicene Creeds, there is a lesser known creed named for its first words "Quicunque Vult" (Whosoever will) and commonly called "The Creed of St. Athanasius".*
I leave you this week with the portion of this creed that regards the Holy Trinity (The text is from our Book of Common Prayer):
"Whosoever will be saved, before all things it is necessary that he hold the Catholic Faith.
Which Faith except everyone do keep whole and undefiled, without doubt he shall perish
And the Catholic Faith is this: That we worship one God in Trinity, and Trinity in Unity,
neither confounding the Persons, nor dividing the Substance.
For there is one Person of the Father, another of the Son, and another of the Holy Ghost.
But the Godhead of the Father, of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost, is all one, the Glory
equal, the Majesty co-eternal.
Such as the Father is, such is the Son, and such is the Holy Ghost.
The Father uncreate, the Son uncreate, and the Holy Ghost uncreate.
The Father incomprehensible, the Son incomprehensible, and the Holy Ghost
The Father eternal, the Son eternal, and the Holy Ghost eternal.
And yet they are not three eternals, but one eternal.
As also there are not three incomprehensibles, nor three uncreated, but one uncreated, and
So likewise the Father is Almighty, the Son Almighty, and the Holy Ghost Almighty.
And yet they are not three Almighties, but one Almighty.
So the Father is God, the Son is God, and the Holy Ghost is God.
And yet they are not three Gods, but one God.
So likewise the Father is Lord, the Son Lord, and the Holy Ghost Lord.
And yet not three Lords, but one Lord.
For like as we are compelled by the Christian verity to acknowledge every Person by
himself to be both God and Lord,
So are we forbidden by the Catholic Religion, to say, There be three Gods, or three Lords.
The Father is made of none, neither created, nor begotten.
The Son is of the Father alone, not made, nor created, but begotten.
The Holy Ghost is of the Father and of the Son, neither made, nor created, nor begotten,
So there is one Father, not three Fathers; one Son, not three Sons; one Holy Ghost, not three
And in this Trinity none is afore, or after other; none is greater, or less than another;
But the whole three Persons are co-eternal together and co-equal.
So that in all things, as is aforesaid, the Unity in Trinity and the Trinity in Unity is to be
He therefore that will be saved must think thus of the Trinity."