The word "Trinity" is defined in the Webster Dictionary as "three people or three things as one." In this concept of the Holy Trinity, the three persons mentioned are the Heavenly Father, his son Jesus Christ and the Holy Spirit. At first glance, the math of three in one in the Trinity doesn't appear to work. It is obvious that three does not equal one anymore than one equals three. The equation seems illogical and hard to get your head around. It can make the concept of Trinity very difficult for most people to comprehend.✞
Saints have struggled down the ages to understand and to explain this great mystery. Saint Catherine of Siena (1347-1380) who was a Dominican Nun wrote, "You, O eternal Trinity, are a deep sea, into which the more I enter the more I find, and the more I find the more I seek." She became a prominent scholar and theologian in her age despite being born during the Black Death in Italy as the twenty third child in her family. She was however a happy child and nicknamed "Eurosyne" which is Greek for "joy." Catherine lived for many years in later life in almost total silence and solitude but still continued to struggle with the concept of the Trinity. She wrote, "The soul cannot be satiated by the abyss, for she continually hungers after you, the eternal Trinity, desiring to see you with the light of your light. As the heart desires the springs of living water, so my soul desires to leave the prison of this dark body and see you in truth." Catherine had a deep understanding of the Trinity and seemed to have grasped something of its depth.✞
The three equal persons in the Trinity have been pictured in more modern times as being like "the three slices of an apple pie" in which the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit are like three equal parts. All are of the same essence like the crust and the apple filing, yet the three persons give us three slices distinct from one another!✞
Another useful analogy for the Trinity is that of water. We are all familiar with water as a plentiful transparent fluid which forms the lakes, streams, and oceans. It has the chemical name H2O which equals one oxygen plus two hydrogen atoms (the creation of which say scientists is a miracle in itself!) Leonardo da Vinci (1452-1519) whose areas of interest included invention, painting, sculpting and architecture wrote tellingly, "Water is the driving force of all nature." Water is the only substance occurring naturally as a solid (ice), a liquid and a gas (water vapor). At normal temperatures, water flows as a clear liquid.
When heated up to 99.98°C, water vaporizes to a semi transparent gaseous steam. When frozen below 0.00°C, it is ice as hard as rock but strangely less dense than water. If you have ever wondered why ice on a lake stays on top of the cold water it is because as water freezes, its because molecules move apart, making ice less dense than water and so it floats! This is the opposite to the norm where materials on cooling down become more dense. This is another of God's miracles without which nothing in steams, rivers and lakes could survive a cold winter especially in Canada! The ice which forms in Wintertime would otherwise sink to the bottom of lakes and rivers and certainly kill most of the plant and animal life there!
Water also exists as fog, dew, many types of clouds and many different variations of snow. Snow flakes which are single ice crystals that have achieved a certain size come in a great multitude of shapes. Scientists tell us that individual snowflakes differ in detail from one another like fingerprints, which is another miracle! Snowflakes appear white in color despite being made of clear ice. This is because snowflakes diffuse and reflect the whole spectrum of light through its small crystal facets. Basically ice, steam and water are quite distinct even though they are the same material. They are in three quite different states. Equally, the Trinity consisting of three constituent parts in different states still combine to form one element. They are three in one and one in three!✞