A+ A A-

Understanding the Most Holy Trinity


An artist will tell you…he put the whole of himself into that poem, that picture. 

123The image which exists in his mind, the thing which he is trying to utter, to externalize, on paper or on canvas or on the piano, is in a certain sense "the expression of his being." Which may help us to understand what Saint Paul means when he tells us that the divine Word is related to the Eternal Father as "the full expression of his being."

The artist, if he is a true artist, would have liked to do better; he has not, after all, put the whole of himself into his masterpiece.  But God is the perfect artist, and the masterpiece of his activity cannot be something less than himself.  He utters his Word, externalizes his thought, and it becomes, necessarily, a Second Person in the Godhead.  And when God utters his Eternal Word it does not pass outside himself—God had the Word abiding with him.

The artist loves his own work with a kind of parental affection; so much of himself has gone into it.  Three separate facts—the author of the work, the work itself, the love of the author for his work.  The work, a ­lifeless thing, cannot love in return.  But the Expression of the divine artist's thought is as personal as himself, and the Love that passes between them is therefore mutual.  And this Love itself is personal too; so Christian ­theology assures us.



knoxMsgr. Ronald Knox. "Understanding the Most Holy Trinity." from Lightning Meditations (Sheed and Ward, 1959).

Reprinted with permission of Bloomsbury Publishing

The Author

knoxMsgr. Ronald Arbuthnott Knox (1888-1957) was an English Catholic priest, theologian and author of detective stories. He was also a writer and a regular broadcaster for BBC Radio. Among his books are, The Holy Bible (a translation of the Latin Vulgate), The Creed in Slow Motion, A Retreat for Lay People, and In Soft Garments.

Copyright © 1959 Bloomsbury Publishing Plc
back to top