Dear Father Angelo,
My name is Daniele, I always follow you with great interest and in recent years your answers have cleared up many doubts for me.
Lately some doubts have arisen about the Trinity.
We believe in the Triune God. If God is one, even if made up of three distinct Persons, was Jesus separate from the other two Persons when the second Person became incarnate? In eucharistic adoration and in the Most Holy Sacrament in the church, do we adore Jesus or the whole Trinity?
Thank you for your attention and I ask you to pray for me.
The Father’s answer
1. As I have already replied recently to another visitor to the site, when we speak about the Holy Trinity, we do not say that God is composed of three Persons, but that He subsists in Three Persons.
Although you intend to mean the same thing, however, what is “composed” results from the whole or the union of different parts.
This is not the case with the Most Holy Trinity, because each divine Person is as extensive as the whole Trinity.
The Three Persons are distinct not as far as substance is concerned, because there is only one substance, but as regards relationship.
That is, because the Father is the divine substance that generates the Thought (the Word, the Son), and from the Father and the Son proceeds Love, the Holy Spirit.
But Father, Son and Holy Spirit are one and the same only divine substance.
2. The first question you ask me is the following: at the moment that the second Person became incarnate, was Jesus separate from the other two Persons?
The answer is no, because where there is a Person there is the whole divine substance.
Father, Son and Holy Spirit are one divine substance, the only divine substance, the one God.
Therefore where there is a divine Person, there also are the others.
They are present and joined together by circuminsession or, if you want to use a Greek term, by perichoresis.
Circuminsession is the mutual immanence (being one in the other) of the three divine Persons, none of which can be without the other.
Now although the term incarnation may give the idea that the Son has descended, in reality he has neither descended nor separated, but has assumed human nature.
3. The second question you ask me is the following: In adoration and in the Most Holy Sacrament in church, do we adore Jesus or the whole Trinity?
The answer is this: consecration has as its objective to make present the Body and Blood of Jesus Christ.
However, since the Body and Blood cannot be without what gives them life, the human soul of Jesus is also present by real concomitance.
And since the Body, the Blood and the Soul cannot be without the subject (the Person) who holds them together, it follows that the Body and Blood of the Lord are united by real concomitance not only with the human soul of Jesus, but also with his divine Person.
But since a divine Person is inseparable from the others, by perichoresis or by circuminsession, in the Most Holy Eucharist not only the second Person of the Most Holy Trinity is present. but the whole most holy and adorable Trinity.
Therefore, in fact, by adoring Jesus Christ in the Most Holy Eucharist, in fact we adore the one God subsisting in the Three divine Persons.
4. For this reason St. Thomas in the Tantum ergo Sacramentum (the last two stanzas of the Pange Lingua) concludes by adoring in the Most Holy Sacrament the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit with these words: “To the Father and the Son (Genitori Genitoque) praise and joy, health, honor, power and blessing; to the one who proceeds from both (Procedenti ab utroque: the Holy Spirit) be equal praise. Amen”.
5. A French Dominican, V. Bernadot, wrote a beautiful booklet entitled From the Eucharist to the Trinity.
It was reprinted a few years ago by ESD, the Dominican studio editions of Bologna. It helps to live the Eucharistic Communion well.
I thank you for the question, I entrust you to the Lord and I bless you.