Sep 7

“The Father is from none, not made nor created nor begotten. The Son is from the Father alone, not made nor created but begotten. The Holy Spirit is from the father and the Son, not made nor created nor begotten but proceeding.” How is the Son from the father, but not made nor created. What is begotten? What does it mean that the Holy Spirit is proceeding? How is the Holy Spirit from the Father and the Son?

Hello Justin:

If I could adequately and fully answer those questions, I would be God. 

So the relationships within the interior life of the Blessed Trinity are way above my pay grade, but in my limited and humble way let me see if I can address that question.

First, “begotten” is a way of saying Jesus comes forth from the Father, but not in time, not where you can pinpoint a “before” and “after.” He comes forth in an ever-coming-forth, in an eternal, without beginning kind of coming forth, without having been born or created or manufactured in a certain point of time. The Bible says:

we saw his glory, the glory as it were of the only begotten of the Father” (John 1:14).

And later it says:

"For as the Father hath life in himself, so he hath given the Son also to have life in himself" (John 5:26).

This “begetting” is understood to be an act of “intellection” or one single thought of the Father which eternally brings forth the “Word” spoken of in John 1:1. The Father has one “Thought” or one “Wisdom” and this one Thought or Word is His Son, who contains all the Father’s glory. This Word, the Son, loves His Father, and the Father loves His Son:

"This is my beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased" (Mattnew 3:17).

From this eternal love of the Father and the Son comes forth a breath, a spiration, which is the Holy Spirit. We say “proceeds” because this Third Person of the Trinity is not coming forth from one person in an act of begetting but is coming forth or being breathed forth in a sense from two persons in their eternal love. Jesus said that this Spirit comes upon us not just from the Father, but that the Son sends Him also, so He is a breath of both Father and Son:

when the Paraclete cometh, whom I will send you from the Father, the Spirit of truth, who proceedeth from the Father, he shall give testimony of me” (John 15:26).

So with one single thought the Father begets His Word, who has the relationship of Sonship, and from the love of Father and Son proceeds by a breath or spiration this fire of their love who is called the Holy Spirit.

This is a description of the Catholic belief regarding the internal relations of the Three Persons of the Divine Trinity. God bless and take care! Fr. Angel