Any ideas on how to teach 8th grade PSR (Christian Formation) on The Trinity?
The Baltimore Catechism has a good explanation
So did St. Patrick:
Finding that the pagan Irish had great difficulty comprehending the doctrine of the Trinity, St. Patrick held up a shamrock (similar to a three-leaf clover) to show how the three leaves combined to make a single plant, just as the Father, Son, and Holy Ghost combined to make the holy Trinity. The Irish understood at once, and from that time the shamrock has been the symbol of the land. Irishmen wear it in their hats on the saint’s day.
[font=Arial]Personally, I like to say that the Trinity is not 1+1+1=3, but rather 1 x 1 x 1 = 1.
Whatever you do, don’t neglect SCRIPTURE!! Catholics need to know it!!
But that’s just my opinion.
get two large clear plastic pitchers, and fill one with water, use a drop of food coloring to make it more visible. Pouring all the water from the first pitcher into the second, note that only a vessel large enough can contain all the water. God the Father is infinitely loving and pours Himself out completely in love, and only God the Son, being infinitely “large enough” in capacity can receive that love fully. The Father empties Himself completely, the Son receives Him full, and in turn empties Himself completely, in love for the Father, who alone is “large enough, has enough capactiy” to receive that infinite love. (as you do this, pour the contents of the second pitcher back into the first.) You must imagine each “pitcher” as being infinitely large, infinitely full, infinitely capable of receiving the contents of the other.
The continual action of outpouring and receptivity of divine love is the Holy Spirit, and is the source of the love that is poured out in creation and sustenance of the angels, mankind, the universe.
This analogy was made by a presenter at a conference I attended at Steubenvill, I would like to say Fr. Frederick Miller but would have to check my notes for sure.
I once saw a children’s book in 9th grade explaining the Trinity. It used the analogy of an apple. There are three parts: the core, the flesh, and the peel. Take any of these three away, and you haven’t an apple anymore. You can take it from there, I think.
Greetings, I like the analogy of the two jugs, here are some further thoufhts
Holy scriptures are there to inspire people to do something.
Possibly before coming to the question of the Trinity ask the questions as to how can Christ be one with the Father?
Can the words of the greatest commandments possibly show how Christ is one with the Father by describing their perfection and their relationship with each other?
The Father loves all that he is and all that he does with all his heart, soul, mind and strength.
The Father loves Christ as he loves HIMSELF.
Christ loves the father as he loves HIMSELF.
God loves each and every one of us as he loves himself?
Here is a short passage that uses the same kind of language to describe one flesh, as you read it, search in your heart for the profound mystery.
Ephesians 5:31 For this reason a man will leave his father and mother and be united to his wife, and the two will become one flesh. This is a profound mystery- but I am talking about Christ and the Church. However each one of you also must love his wife as he loves Himself, and the wife must respect her husband.
Paul brings together one flesh, marriage, Christ and the Church, and the second commandment making a profound connection between them all.
Are the scriptures of the Trinity there to inspire us to seek a greatest relationship with God and our neighbour?
Would these kind of questions challenge children to think of what to do?
In the Spirit of searching for greater relationships
you can also use the analogy of water, which has a basic nature H-2-O, and is solid at freezing temperature, liquid at room temperature, and gaseous at high temperature but still water with all the elemental properties of water, but with form and function differing in each state. none of these analogies do more than give a brief glimpse into the mystery and to give our imaginations something to help us. You must impress on them the true meaning of mystery, that it contains a reality we cannot possibly know or understand without God’s revelation to us. Jesus, God’s ultimate Revelation to mankind, is the One to look to for understanding the Trinity, in His relationship with the Father, and in sending the Spirit.
The Trinity is the perfection of the notion of Family and the Three Divine Persons exist in relationship to one another and cannot be separated in action or understanding.
Here are a couple of analygies that might or might not help…
8th grade students have probably heard of conjoined twins. The Trinity is sort of like triplets conjoined from the neck down, three human persons who share a single human body.
Ever see a movie where two kids disguise themselves as an adult, where one kid sits on the shoulders of the other kid and they hide their deception under a long coat? The Trinity is sort of like three kids disguised as an adult. From the outside the Trinity acts as a single being but on the inside there are really three Persons.
Ever see a play where two actors put on a horse costume, with one actor at the head end and one actor at the tail end? The Trinity is sort of like three actors in a horse costume. From the outside the Trinity acts as single being but on the inside there are really three Persons.
My personal favorite is to START (!) with the concept of Infinity.
That’s kind of a big chunk of a concept to put your arms around. Especially for starters.
But go with that…
God in infinite in time. So God is not bound to any one particular concept of time. You and I look at time as linear. We are born at date “A” and die at date “Z”. We grow, lose our baby teeth, go to school, get jobs, get married, have families, and die. Linear. Simple. For me, time is 80 years long. I have no personal knowledge of what happened before I was born. I hear stories and read books. Old movies are only in black and white; did things occur in “color” before I was born?
But the earth is around 10 billion years old. So what happened before the big bang? What happened 10 billion years before that? What is a year, anyway? It’s the passage of the earth around the sun. What is time???
What if time, in the cosmic sense was something other than linear. What if, in God’s Eye View, hundreds of billons of years to us, never ending, everything is so “small” and so close together that everything seems to take place simultaneously.
What if time was curved (as some scientists suggest) [whatever that means - and I don’t understand it – or suppose time was a “powder” so you could “step” or move from one particle of time to any other particle of time at any time of your own choosing.
God is infinite in space. And I have NO idea what space is… I happen to be three dimensional. (Four, if you include “time”.)
If I existed in ONE dimension, like the period at the end of this sentence, how would I explain THREE dimensions to one of my one dimensional friends. How would I explain time or color to my one-dimensional friends?
If I never travel more than five miles from home, then the Earth is flat! How can I possibly explain a spherically shaped earth?
If I look at the Earth from the Moon, it looks like a big blue marble. How can I possibly explain that it is really a big liquid centered chocolate (7000 miles in diameter) with a paper thin crust (30 miles thick) and a core that is around 5000 degrees hot liquid molten metal, rock and other stuff? And with an atmosphere that is about 3-5 miles thick. And it has been blowing up for millions of years with maybe 3000 volcanos (2000 underwater) and the crust “drifts”??? … moves around like pond scum???
What if there are an infinite number of dimensions?
God is infinite in creativity. He made aardvarks, platypuses, camels. He made this planet and put it into a “perfect” orbit around the “Sun”… and braided the rings of Saturn… He made us, but we are actually made of molecules and “DNA” (whatever is DNA???). And the molecules are made of atoms. And atoms are just statistical distributions of electrical charges separated by about 99.999999999% empty space. In a sense I am 99.99999999999% empty space, with a tiny amount of electrical charge AND free will.
How did THAT happen???
For a reason that we CANNOT fathom, God, the Infinite, Infinity Itself, took on human form. The incarnation. God somehow “detached” part of Himself … as Jesus… the second person of the Blessed Trinity… [“The Father and I are one…”] The humiliation of it… is overwhelming. WHY WOULD HE DO THAT? It would be like you or me deliberately taking on the form of one speck of dust.
We have NO IDEA of why God did that. Maybe being infinite is SO COOL that God wanted to share part of that infinity with someone else.
Then God let Himself be tortured to death… whipped like a low life and crucified… WHY!!!
We have a few answers… but not very many.
The word “love” gets over used and is not defined anywhere, except in parables… the Good Samaritan… which was a fictional story…
So, anyway, when Jesus says there is a third member of the “team”, I believe it.