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5 Myths About the Trinity that Too Many People Still Believe (Maybe Even You!

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The Trinity is arguably the most important doctrine of the Church, since it deals with the very nature of
God. And it is also very often misunderstood!

Here are five of the most common misconceptions:

Myth 1: The Trinity didn’t exist in the Old Testament

Truth: Actually, God has always existed as a Trinity. In the Old Testament, God did not reveal himself as
clearly as a Trinity (though some evidence is there), but that doesn’t mean God wasn’t a Trinity. The
doctrine of the Trinity describes the eternal nature of God.

Myth 2: The persons of the Trinity are different forms God switches between

Truth: This is often accidentally asserted with various metaphors people use to try to simplify the Trinity.
A popular one says that the Trinity is like water: it can exist as steam, liquid, or ice, but it’s all water. The
problem with this is that the three persons of the Trinity – Father, Son, and Holy Spirit – exist at the same
time, and always have from all eternity. The persons are not modes or forms that God switches between.

Myth 3: The persons of the Trinity operate independently of each other

Truth: We may sometimes say that the Father is the creator, the Son is the savior, and the Holy Spirit is
the sanctifier (and rightly so according to the principle of appropriation), but strictly speaking all the
persons of the Trinity always act together in unity.

So, for example, yes the Father is the creator. But so are the Son and the Holy Spirit and equally so. Things
get a bit tricky in talking about the the Incarnation (since only the Son assumed a human nature), but even
then the three person had perfect unity in will.

Myth 4: The Trinity was invented by the Catholic Church and doesn’t come from the Bible

Truth: Actually the Bible teaches the doctrine of the Trinity. No, the word “Trinity” isn’t in the Bible, but
the concept is there.

There’s a lot of relevant Scripture on the topic, but a few examples will suffice: Genesis uses the third
person plural to describe God creating the world, in the Gospel of Matthew Jesus commands his Apostles
to baptize “in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit,” and St. Paul often invokes
the Trinity in his letters (e.g. 2 Corinthians 13.13).

Myth 5: Belief in the Trinity is optional

Truth: You might think the doctrine of the Trinity is too confusing or doesn’t make sense and so just
dismiss it. But don’t!

The doctrine of the Trinity is a dogma of the faith, which means that it has been taught infallibly by the
Church and Christians are required to believe it. Obstinately rejecting this doctrine can actually put one in
danger of hell. So it’s not optional!

Further, as mentioned earlier, the doctrine of the Trinity is regarding the very nature of God. So insofar we
love God and have dedicated our lives to him, we should care deeply about the doctrine of the Trinity,
however mysterious it may be. But shouldn’t we expect God to be mysterious?

Praise be to God: the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit!
5 Myths About the Eucharist that Too Many People Still Believe (Maybe Even
You!)

Corpus Christi is a special feast each year to especially commemorate the dogma of the real presence of
Christ in the Eucharist. Since the Eucharist is Christ himself, the Eucharist is at the center of our Christian
faith!

Which is why it’s unfortunate there are so many misconceptions about it. Here are 5 common myths:

Myth 1: The Eucharist is just a symbol

Truth: Of course, there is symbolic value in our spiritual food coming to us in the form of bread and wine.
But the Eucharist is not just a symbol. The Eucharist is Jesus himself!

We know this because Jesus told us so. At the Last Supper, when Jesus instituted the Eucharist, he did not
say that the bread was “like” his Body, or a “symbol” for his Body. He said “this is my Body.” Catholics
take him at his word and believe in his real presence in the Eucharist by faith.

Myth 2: The Real Presence is a late corruption of the faith by the Catholic Church

Truth: Aside from Christ’s own clear teaching on the matter mentioned above (as well as St. Paul’s, see 1
Corinthians 11), we know from their own writings that the earliest Christians believed in the real presence
of Jesus in the Eucharist.

Here are just two (of many) examples: At the beginning of the 2nd century, St. Ignatius of Antioch wrote
that a defining characteristic of heretics was to “not confess that the Eucharist is the flesh of our Savior
Jesus Christ, flesh which suffered for our sins and which that Father, in his goodness, raised up again.”
(Letter to the Smyrnaeans, 7)

And St. Justin the Martyr wrote in the mid-2nd century: “For not as common bread nor common drink do
we receive these; […] the food which has been made into the Eucharist by the Eucharistic prayer set down
by him… is both the flesh and the blood of that incarnated Jesus.” (First Apology, 66)

Myth 3: Catholics believe they are re-sacrificing Jesus over and over again because his first sacrifice
wasn’t enough

Truth: This is old Protestant propaganda against the Catholic Church, and it’s simply false. The Bible
(compiled and preserved by the Catholic Church) is explicit that Christ died “once for all” for the sins of
the world (cf. Romans 6:10, Hebrews 7:27, et al.) And the Catechism makes this clear as well (cf. CCC
1330).

When we call the Eucharist the “Holy Sacrifice of the Mass,” we mean that “it makes present the one
sacrifice of Christ the Savior.” (CCC 1330) Christ’s one sacrifice on the cross is the infinite source for all
the grace God dispenses in the world and in the Church. The Eucharist is a mysterious way that Christ left
us for making his one sacrifice present for all generations so that we may join with his sacrifice and have
it applied to our lives.

Myth 4: Everyone, regardless of their beliefs or the state of their soul, should be allowed to receive
the Eucharist

Truth: This might sound welcoming or inclusive, but to open the Eucharist to everyone regardless of their
beliefs or the state of their soul would actually be bad for people who are unprepared, in addition to directly
contravening Scripture.

This isn’t something the Church made up. St. Paul specifically addresses the problem of people receiving
the Eucharist unprepared:
“Therefore whoever eats the bread or drinks the cup of the Lord unworthily will have to answer for the
body and blood of the Lord. A person should examine himself, and so eat the bread and drink the cup. For
anyone who eats and drinks without discerning the body, eats and drinks judgment on himself. That is why
many among you are ill and infirm, and a considerable number are dying.” (1 Corinthians 11.27-30)

Of course, Catholics want everyone to receive the Eucharist – just as believing and practicing Catholics.

Myth 5: It’s acceptable to use grape juice instead of wine

Truth: It’s common among evangelical Protestants to use grape juice instead of wine for their celebrations
of the Lord’s Supper. This practice appears to have come from the 19th century anti-alcohol Temperance
movement in the United States and was based on a concern about the abuse of alcohol.

That might sound reasonable at first, except that it’s contradicting what Christ, in his perfect wisdom,
specifically told the Church to do.

Christ could have used any drink for the Eucharist, but chose wine. It’s not our place to determine that
Jesus’ decision was unwise or socially unacceptable and then change it. The Catholic Church rightly
remains faithful to Christ’s own institution and only uses real wine (and bread).

A Priest’s Warning: You Can’t Ignore God and Still Expect His Blessings
One cannot expect to ignore the Holy Spirit and receive his blessings at the same time.

One cannot expect to ignore God’s will and yet receive the benefits of following Him.

One cannot treat God as a hobby and expect to be treated as His son or daughter.

One cannot blow off the teachings of the Church yet expect to receive its benefits unabated.

One cannot spread discord, detraction, and calumny and call yourself a loyal son or daughter.

One cannot allow the sin of another, real or perceived, to be cause and justification for one’s own sin.

We can only reap the crop we sow.

We will have the measure used on us that we used on others.

This is why Catholicism is hard. The focus of judging actions always starts with the manner in which
they either judge or give license to their own sin. It is in this that we understand the necessity we have for
God’s mercy and necessity we have to be agents of God’s mercy: neither ignoring or enabling sin, but
always calling to holiness.