2 + 2 = 4. . .

“Two and two makes four” is confidently asserted, but cannot be proved. It can only be demonstrated. “Four less two leaves two” is hardly proof. It is instead a circularity.

This is to my mind why such a concept as the Holy Trinity is lost upon the moderns. Presented as God, Christ, Spirit, it can make some sense to any peasant; but the “threeness” of it only leads us astray. It is a quality in the Divine that has nothing to do with number; it is indeed an impenetrable Mystery. Or shall I say a mystical fountain, gushing forth: “I am that I am.”

The ancient Hebrews were rightly reticent of naming what could not be named. Only, I think, in the Messiah did God, for our salvation, “name Himself.”

He would come, He has come, He will come: now there’s a trinity. But there is no three in it. Past, present, future are not three separable things. We cannot describe Time from within Time, nor understand it any better as an infinite recession in two directions from our own “fixed” point. In the moment we begin to apprehend it, it passes away.

Towards Christmas, if perhaps Advent is observed, the Gift comes irresistibly into view. It is nothing like a box with ribbons; nothing like a package with a present inside. Nothing in the womb of Our Lady is reducible to “an item” like that. It is Gift in the absolute, as our own lives are absolute Gift: a totality that cannot be reduced to pieces. It is a mysterious Event, that transcends events. We can only pretend to accept it or reject it, for it simply and immortally IS.