Today, we celebrate the Solemnity of the Most Holy Trinity, which focuses on the mystery of God as three persons in one divine nature. We are also in the midst of a national Eucharistic Revival to increase understanding and faith in the reality of the Eucharist. The Catechism refers to the mystery of the Most Holy Trinity as “the central mystery of the Christian faith and of Christian life” and refers to the Eucharist as “the source and summit of the Christian life,” positioning both mystical realities at the center of everything we believe and live as Catholics (CCC 261, 1324). Given their importance, the two mysteries are necessarily linked, with neither able to exist without the other, providing the foundation for all other doctrines and matters of faith. Let’s explore the relationship between them to draw ourselves deeper into the gift of these mysteries.

The Church defines a “mystery” as something that is beyond the capabilities of our human understanding except to the extent that God has revealed it to us. As we grow closer to God, he will reveal more, which enables us to understand more, but we can never fully understand his mysteries until we see him face to face in heaven. Simply put, we can know and understand something about a mystery, but we can’t know everything. Both the Trinity and the Eucharist are mysteries of our faith and, therefore, worthy of our contemplation.

The doctrine of the Trinity tells us that God is three distinct persons — Father, Son, and Holy Spirit — who share one divine nature. “They are distinct from one another in their relations of origin: ‘It is the Father who generates the Son who is begotten, and the Holy Spirit who proceeds’” (CCC 253). Further, the generative nature of the Trinity is eternal and infinite, so there was not a moment in time where one did not exist or come to exist. While each of the three is distinct and whole in and of himself, they also cannot be separated from one another because their identity lies in their relationship to one another in their shared divine nature. The Trinity, then, is relational, unitive, and communal; it is the image in which our own relational natures were created. God reveals this trinitarian mystery to us in our marriages, families, parishes, and other communities.

The Eucharist is a sacrament instituted by Jesus at the Last Supper. Prior to that, he prepared his disciples for what was to come when he said, “I am the living bread that came down from heaven; if anyone eats of this bread, he will live forever… he who eats my flesh and drinks my blood has eternal life and…abides in me, and I in him” (Jn: 6:51, 54, 56). Note that many of his disciples at that time left him after he said this because his words were too difficult to accept. This indicates that they took him literally, as no one ever left him when he spoke symbolically. During the Liturgy of the Eucharist, Christ’s sacrifice is made present, and through the words of consecration, the bread and wine become his body and blood. “In the most blessed sacrament of the Eucharist ‘the body and blood, together with the soul and divinity, of our Lord Jesus Christ and, therefore, the whole Christ is truly, really, and substantially contained” (CCC 1374, emphasis added). While the appearance of bread and wine remains, with faith, we believe in God’s divine power to transform them into his flesh and blood as he said he would.

On the surface, the Eucharist seems to only be about the person of Jesus, as it is his body and blood that are made present to us. However, we have already established that the persons of the Trinity cannot be separated, so we can look further into how all three divine persons of the Trinity participate in the sacrament. We know that Jesus sacrificed himself for the forgiveness of our sins and the possibility of our redemption, but to whom was he sacrificed? St. Paul tells us, “And walk in love, as Christ loved us and gave himself up for us, a fragrant offering and sacrifice to God.” (Eph 5:2). God the Father deemed the Son’s sacrifice as acceptable; then, it is through the Holy Spirit that the gift of sacrifice is made possible, efficacious, and eternal. Our Old Testament fathers were commanded to make sacrifices on an altar to God for the atonement of their sins. Jesus came and, out of love rather than obligation, freely and willingly offered himself as the lamb to be sacrificed to God in atonement for our sins, and by the power of the Holy Spirit, we are able to receive the spiritual benefits of the sacrifice.

I also stated earlier that the Trinity is relational and communal. Notice that we often refer to the Eucharist as Communion. We say, “Holy Communion because by this sacrament we unite ourselves to Christ, who makes us sharers in his Body and Blood to form a single body” (CCC 1331). When we consume the Blessed Sacrament, not only does his body and blood enter our body, but also his soul and divinity, and thus, the one divine nature of the Blessed Trinity dwells within us. A good analogy to help our understanding is the Sacrament of Holy Matrimony, where the bride and groom are sacramentally united, and the two become one flesh. Just as there is a supernatural unification between the spouses, we are able to supernaturally partake in the communal life of the Trinity through the Eucharist. We do this, not only as individuals, but also as members of the communion of saints, which includes all of us, along with those in purgatory and heaven. Through the Eucharist, we are all communally caught up together in this mystery, binding us to one another under the triune God.

Finally, and most importantly, the link between the Trinity and the Eucharist is founded in love. The three persons of the Blessed Trinity are perpetually generating love amongst themselves. From this love came the desire to create man to participate in this divine love. Jesus offered himself as a sacrifice out of love for us and a desire for us to live with him for eternity in heaven. The gift of the Eucharist was given to us as a constant reminder of his sacrificial love and to provide spiritual nourishment, thus empowering us to offer our love in return to God and our neighbors in response. While the Trinity and the Eucharist are indeed the central mysteries of our faith, their very reason for being is love, and everything else springs from that love.

This week, meditate on how the Blessed Trinity enhances your understanding of the Eucharist. The next time you receive the Blessed Sacrament or sit before him in adoration, be aware of the presence of each of the three persons. Let each person of the Trinity enter you as distinct but united and ask each one to conform your love to his.

Pray the Chaplet of the Most Holy Trinity here.

To receive articles and reflections like these directly to your inbox, please subscribe.