Little Bobby was spending the weekend with his grandparents. His grandmother decided to take him to the park on Saturday morning. It had been snowing all night and everything was beautiful.
His grandmother remarked, "Doesn’t it look like an artist painted this scenery? Did you know God painted this just for you?"
Bobby said, "Yes, God did it and he did it left handed."
This confused his grandmother a bit, and she asked him, "What makes you say God did this with his left hand?"
"Well," said Bobby, "we learned in religion class last week that Jesus sits on God's right hand!"
It must have been funny to see Grammy’s face when Bobby answered her question! We can understand Bobby’s confusion as well. The revelation of the Blessed Trinity is part of our spiritual knowledge, something revealed by Jesus Himself to the Apostles and passed down from generation to generation in the Church to our own day. But the revelation of a mystery doesn’t always mean that we fully understand what that mystery is or what it means.
“Mystery” is defined in the following way: “a religious truth that one can know only by revelation and cannot fully understand <the mystery of the Trinity>” – Merriam-Webster Dictionary. Let’s note the last part of the definition: we “cannot fully understand” the mysteries of the faith! But that doesn’t mean we can’t explore the depths of revelation as we travel with the Church through time.
We have the guidance of the Church in helping us to remain faithful to the revelation that Jesus gave to us. It’s very easy to add our own meanings and understanding to what has been passed down to us. That is why the Church has preserved for us exactly what Jesus intentions and words mean. This is important, because Jesus is God, His revelation is always and forever true and final. We cannot add to or take away from anything that He has revealed to us. This is confirmed in the Scriptures:
“In your observance of the commandments of the LORD, your God, which I enjoin upon you, you shall not add to what I command you nor subtract from it.” (Deut. 4:2) T
“The Spirit and the bride say, "Come." Let the hearer say, "Come." Let the one who thirsts come forward, and the one who wants it receive the gift of life-giving water. I warn everyone who hears the prophetic words in this book: if anyone adds to them, God will add to him the plagues described in this book, and if anyone takes away from the words in this prophetic book, God will take away his share in the tree of life and in the holy city described in this book.” (Revelation 22:17-19) (The bride mentioned here is the Church!)
“Therefore, brothers, stand firm and hold fast to the traditions that you were taught, either by an oral statement or by a letter of ours.” (2 Thessalonians 2:15)
The Second Vatican Council confirms the preservation of God’s revelation and explains how it is preserved and passed on through the ages in the document on Revelation, Dei Verbum: The Word of God:
7. In His gracious goodness, God has seen to it that what He had revealed for the salvation of all nations would abide perpetually in its full integrity and be handed on to all generations. Therefore Christ the Lord in whom the full revelation of the supreme God is brought to completion (see Cor. 1:20; 3:13; 4:6), commissioned the Apostles to preach to all men that Gospel which is the source of all saving truth and moral teaching, and to impart to them heavenly gifts. This Gospel had been promised in former times through the prophets, and Christ Himself had fulfilled it and promulgated it with His lips. This commission was faithfully fulfilled by the Apostles who, by their oral preaching, by example, and by observances handed on what they had received from the lips of Christ, from living with Him, and from what He did, or what they had learned through the prompting of the Holy Spirit. The commission was fulfilled, too, by those Apostles and apostolic men who under the inspiration of the same Holy Spirit committed the message of salvation to writing.
But in order to keep the Gospel forever whole and alive within the Church, the Apostles left bishops as their successors, "handing over" to them "the authority to teach in their own place." This sacred tradition, therefore, and Sacred Scripture of both the Old and New Testaments are like a mirror in which the pilgrim Church on earth looks at God, from whom she has received everything, until she is brought finally to see Him as He is, face to face (see 1 John 3:2).