Friday, March 16, 2007

St. Patrick's Day

Or: More Theology For Your Door

I began this simple project by telling the children the story of St. Augustine, how he walked along the beach trying to understand the Trinity and the angel, who appeared as a little boy, demonstrated how impossible a task that truly was. My boys loved this story as they have very often dug holes in beach sand and filled them with as much ocean as they could hold.

So, we know that we cannot fully understand the Blessed Trinity, but there are a few things we can know because God has revealed them. It is these things that the good St. Patrick used the shamrock to demonstrate and if he did so, we can, too. "Is it one leaf or three?" St. Patrick asks. "It is both," the people answer. So too with God, He is one God and three persons.

We asked all the questions:

Is the Father God? Yes. Is the Son God? Yes. Is the Holy Spirit God? Yes.
Is the Father the Son? No. Is the Father the Holy Spirit? No. Is the Son the Holy Spirit? No.

How many Gods? One. How many persons? Three.

As they cut out their shamrocks and wrote the names of The Most Holy Trinity on the leaves, I read the biography of St. Patrick from the St. Joseph picture books series. Then, we got out the Baltimore Catechism and talked about how man was made in the image and likeness of the Triune God. Man is one nature with three parts. He is body and soul and his soul is divided into mind and will. We made another shamrock to demonstrate this. Man is made in the likeness of God, but is not EXACTLY the same so we used a different shade of green. And a whole new set of questions...

Is your body yourself? Yes. We don't say "My body fell down." Is your mind yourself? Yes. We don't say "My mind passed the math test." Is your will yourself? Yes. We don't say "My will took out the garbage." The boys loved this. They have been saying things like, "My will let Alex have the last hot dog," and "My body put its P.Js on," and such ever since we did this. But then we pointed out that though our bodies, our minds and our wills are distinct, they are not seperate persons as the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit are in God. Man is one person and one nature with three parts.

Again from the Baltimore Catechism: The family is made in the likeness of the Triune God. It is made up of a mother, father, and a child. Here, three separate persons make up one family, but each is not the family all by itself the way each person in the Trinity is fully and completely God. But again, we see a mirror of the trinity in the family and so it, too, gets its own shamrock in yet another shade of green.

On a completely different note, we are still waiting for these to turn green. And there is a recipe for Irish Whiskey Soda Bread over at The Virtual Kitchen.

Have a Happy St Patrick's Day, all!


Jennifer said...

Lovely post. Very well written and informative.

Anonymous said...

I came across a wonderful Irish company that catch Leprechauns

Happy St. Patrick's day

Gabrielle said...

Suzanne, I just visited the Virtual Kitchen blog for the first time, and it's really lovely. It's so cheerful and appealing. The Irish soda bread looks delicious, by the way.

Suzanne Temple said...

Oh, thank you gabrielle.

newhousenewjob said...

Hi Suzanne

I've been quietly enjoying your blog for a little while - in fact, I linked to one of your posts yesterday.

Hope you don't mind - I've just tagged you for a meme over at

Kristen Laurence said...

Ooohh, I love this! What a perfect way for small ones to learn about the Holy Trinity!

I'll be using it here!

MaryM said...

I love your explanation/exercise on the Trinity.

And BTW, have your carnations turned green yet? We are going to try the color change thing with some carnations I got today for our St. Joseph altar and I'm hoping it works.

Suzanne Temple said...

marym, They are green now. It took a week! Much longer than I had expected! Good Luck.