How Many Catholics Does it Take to Count to Three?

How Many Catholics Does it Take to Count to Three?

It depends on who's counting.
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Around April, members of the World Mission Society Church of God informally visited Rollins College to share their religious views with the student body. Every so often, they would stop people at random to inquire as to their beliefs. Specifically, they would ask if the student had heard of God the Mother, the fourth Person of the Christian God alluded to throughout the Bible. I had the pleasure of being stopped by a WMSC member on the way to the cafeteria and listening to him passionately expound his theology. While he left me unconvinced, I was glad to learn of yet another way to interpret the Divine Mystery.

“Surely,” I thought, “countless others must have their own way of apprehending the true nature of God. I as a Catholic apprehend God as the Holy Trinity in Unity, but how well do even I understand my own theology?”

Fortunately, I happened to be writing my thesis on Christian existentialism and the nature of belief at the time the church member approached me, so I thought I might take a moment to share what I had learned:

Theology is hard.


Theology is a science that takes natural truths discovered by science and supernatural truths revealed according to a religion and uses deductive reasoning to draw conclusions about God. Theologians consider their field a science because it uses induction to discover premises and first principles to reason from. In other words, theologians can work only from whatever is scientifically demonstrated to be true (e.g., the human body is composed of 11 periodic elements) and what has been revealed by faith (e.g., the human soul is immortal). This means if advances in science reveal new truths about the natural world (e.g., evolution), theologians have to reckon with them. On the other hand, theologians always must account for those truths especially made known by Divine Revelation (e.g., humans are the only animals that possess reason) that science is bound to recognize.

If this sounds like it’s a whole lot to juggle, it’s because it is. The Catholic Church has good reasons for not defining too much theology as dogma. For one, theologians are only human, and humans are known for being imperfect. (Well, there’s one dogma the Church has defined.) For another, a lot of theological conclusions have little to do with everyday life. That isn’t to say they’re unimportant, just that little details like the hierarchy of each species of angel probably won’t cause you to act nicer to your baby sister. And yet, many theological conclusions are important. For instance:

The Trinity is beyond human comprehension.

Good to know, right? All those geniuses walking around with Ph.Ds. in theology can’t fully explain how 1+1+1=1. The closest St. Augustine gets to an answer is something like this: God is a spiritual being. Humans are spiritual and material. Humans are created in God’s image. The part of God’s image humans are created in can’t be material, so it must be spiritual. The spiritual part of humans is the soul. Therefore, the human soul must be made in the image of God. What is the soul like? The soul thinks, and it wills. God thinks, and He wills. Therefore, the soul of God (which is all God in His Divine Nature is) performs these two actions. Similarly, God has revealed He has a Son and Holy Spirit. His Son Jesus has referred to the Father as the One He and the Holy Spirit come from. Connecting the dots, the Son and Holy Spirit coming from the Father are understood to be the intellect of God and the will of God respectively. But since a soul is in reality intelligence and will, these three can’t be separated. They’re simply the three ways humans have of understanding the Divine Nature of a God as revealed by Him.

All credit for the above goes to the 2000-plus years of theology done long before me. And if you didn’t understand it, that’s okay, because I still don’t understand the Mother of God. See, there’s a secret to theology, and that secret is:

Most people don’t (need to) know theology.

Theology is about science, but religion is about belief. You don’t need to know the 11 elements that comprise your body to use it; just eat and drink healthfully, and the rest takes care of itself. Similarly, you don’t need to understand Augustine’s De Trinitate to be a good Christian; just love other people as you love yourself, and God takes care of the rest.

Cover Image Credit: The Cripple Gate

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8 Reasons Why My Dad Is the Most Important Man In My Life

Forever my number one guy.
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Growing up, there's been one consistent man I can always count on, my father. In any aspect of my life, my dad has always been there, showing me unconditional love and respect every day. No matter what, I know that my dad will always be the most important man in my life for many reasons.

1. He has always been there.

Literally. From the day I was born until today, I have never not been able to count on my dad to be there for me, uplift me and be the best dad he can be.

2. He learned to adapt and suffer through girly trends to make me happy.

I'm sure when my dad was younger and pictured his future, he didn't think about the Barbie pretend pageants, dressing up as a princess, perfecting my pigtails and enduring other countless girly events. My dad never turned me down when I wanted to play a game, no matter what and was always willing to help me pick out cute outfits and do my hair before preschool.

3. He sends the cutest texts.

Random text messages since I have gotten my own cell phone have always come my way from my dad. Those randoms "I love you so much" and "I am so proud of you" never fail to make me smile, and I can always count on my dad for an adorable text message when I'm feeling down.

4. He taught me how to be brave.

When I needed to learn how to swim, he threw me in the pool. When I needed to learn how to ride a bike, he went alongside me and made sure I didn't fall too badly. When I needed to learn how to drive, he was there next to me, making sure I didn't crash.

5. He encourages me to best the best I can be.

My dad sees the best in me, no matter how much I fail. He's always there to support me and turn my failures into successes. He can sit on the phone with me for hours, talking future career stuff and listening to me lay out my future plans and goals. He wants the absolute best for me, and no is never an option, he is always willing to do whatever it takes to get me where I need to be.

6. He gets sentimental way too often, but it's cute.

Whether you're sitting down at the kitchen table, reminiscing about your childhood, or that one song comes on that your dad insists you will dance to together on your wedding day, your dad's emotions often come out in the cutest possible way, forever reminding you how loved you are.


7. He supports you, emotionally and financially.

Need to vent about a guy in your life that isn't treating you well? My dad is there. Need some extra cash to help fund spring break? He's there for that, too.

8. He shows me how I should be treated.

Yes, my dad treats me like a princess, and I don't expect every guy I meet to wait on me hand and foot, but I do expect respect, and that's exactly what my dad showed I deserve. From the way he loves, admires, and respects me, he shows me that there are guys out there who will one day come along and treat me like that. My dad always advises me to not put up with less than I deserve and assures me that the right guy will come along one day.

For these reasons and more, my dad will forever be my No. 1 man. I love you!

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The Notre Dame Cathedral–Such A Loss Of History And Beauty, But What A Gift It Was To Experience It

Reid shares her story as she is saddened for Paris and the church.

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After the massive fire that devastated large parts of the Notre Dame Cathedral in Paris, the 850-year-old cathedral's spire fell. French President Emmanuel Macron addressed the nation to share in the nation's sorrow but gave hope for the future. This includes the rebuilding of the cathedral together and making it more beautiful than ever. "The fire of Notre Dame reminds us that our story never ends. And that we will always have challenges to overcome. What we believe to be indestructible can also be touched," Macron said.

Tyler Reid

Among many others, Tyler Reid is saddened for Paris and the church. Although, she counts herself blessed to have seen it such a short time before it was destroyed. Reid, who was lucky enough to visit the amazing structure this past spring break, remarked:

My trip was filled with so many wonderful sites. Although, because Notre Dame carries the title of most-visited monument in Europe, my expectations were high. When I first walked up, there isn't one specific feeling I got; instead, it was more of a million thoughts running though my head. Once inside, looking at the massive stained glass windows combined with all the details in every crevice, it was hard for me to imagine people actually building this without the technology we have today. This hand crafted masterpiece really is so influential considering people still went there to worship, even after so much time has past and so many other cathedrals had been built. This proves how special the Notre Dame Cathedral really is. Due to my experience here, hearing about the fire hurt my heart, especially thinking about how some of the irreplaceable artworks and all of this history may be gone. This place truly influenced people, including me, and for it to be gone is a true tragedy.

Like Macron, Reid shares in the sorrow; although, for her, it was just from one visit. This proves the amazing impact the Notre Dame Cathedral had and hopefully will continue to have even after this devastation.

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