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Let's suppose you are the chairman of a bank and one of your staff gets kidnapped. He will be killed unless you pay a one million pound ransom.  One million pounds is nothing to you, but if you give in, then it is a signal to every potential kidnapper that you are a soft touch. If you give in, you risk the lives of all your employees. If you don't give in, the hostage might be killed.

 Politicians face similar tough decisions almost daily. Currently, the most publicised of those dilemmas concern situations in Iraq. We might say that the politicians should never have got into Iraq in the first place, but that doesn't help anyone to know what should be done now.

Over time, various virtues have taken it in turns to be considered to be of more importance than the rest. In the Victorian era, a reaction to drunkenness, sexual licence and poverty made temperance, chastity and philanthropy the favourites. In recent years, truth and justice have taken their place, at least in the circles in which I move.

It is not since Bible times that wisdom was thought of as being supreme. Not even Pope Gregory included wisdom in his list of seven virtues. Nor did he include the opposite, 'folly' in his list of deadly sins, either.  Yet, from the time of Pope Gregory till the present day, the lack of wisdom has caused immeasurable suffering across the globe.

The scriptures say that wisdom is supreme. It is better than rubies; and all the things that may be desired are not to be compared to it.  When Jesus' growth is mentioned in the Gospels, it is said not that he grew in faith, hope or love, but that he increased in wisdom.

It is time for us all to put the quest for wisdom near the top of our list of priorities and to pray for it for politicians and all who hold power, regardless of which side they are on. Without wisdom, they will never know what justice is, let alone be able to bring it about. Without that divine gift, the world's intractable problems are doomed to fester on. Let us pray ...


We continue our series on…

The A- Z of the Christian Faith

T for Trinity

No one can ever define God. God does not fit into the limits of our human minds. But the Christian faith proclaims that, though there is only one God, He has revealed Himself as Father, Son, and Holy Spirit – what we call the Holy Trinity. What does this mean?

Well, Scripture and Church tradition tell us that God created the world, God saved the world, and God dwells in  the world – in and between people. Also, scripture and tradition shows us that God is experienced as above or beyond us – God the Father. God is experienced as alongside us – God the Son. God is experienced as within and among us – God the Holy Spirit.

The three ‘persons’ of the Father, Son and Holy Spirit demonstrate that God is active and dynamic, reaching out to persons and to the world – not unreachable and unapproachable. God is also unity and community. Within the oneness of God, there is a community of persons.

This all seems very much a theory, but it shows us the ideal for us as Christians. We are called to be like God – a dynamic community of love, which is united in creating, saving, and hallowing our world.

Text Box:  The belief in the Trinity is at the heart of our beliefs, our liturgy, and our prayers. Our mass beings with “In the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit.” The blessing is also the in the name of the Trinity. Our prayer of Thanksgiving is addressed to God the Father, and prays that he will send the Holy Spirit on the Church, and on the bread and wine, so that Jesus the Son may be present among us in the communion. The heart of baptism is the pouring of water on the person with these words, “I baptize you in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit.” If you go to confession, the words of absolution are, “I absolve you from all your sins in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit.” The same is said when we anoint people with holy oil for healing. Always, we act in the name of the Trinity.

Jesus “Christ” gives us the name of “Christian”, but his preaching and teaching pointed always to Father and to Spirit. He was sent by the Father to do his will, and Jesus promises the indwelling Spirit for people (the Church) when he returns to the Father at the Ascension.

The story from the Bible which shows us most clearly how the Trinity is a real unity is the account of Jesus’ baptism. As Jesus emerges from the water, the Spirit descends on him life a dove, and the Father’s voice is heard saying, “This is my Son, my beloved, with who I am well pleased.”

The love and unity of the three persons of the Trinity is our ideal. It is the vision of God that has been given to us down the centuries. We are to adore and worship God as Father, Son, and Holy Spirit – beyond us, alongside, between, and within us, and try to live as the Church in imitation of that dynamic, loving community: “The grace of our Lord Jesus Christ, the love of God, and the fellowship of the Holy Spirit be with us, now and always. Amen.”

For other A-Z articles click below

An A - Z of the Christian Faith