Author by : Anthony Nguyen Ngoc Dung (Father, SDB)
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Description : Fides intellectum quaerens (“faith seeking understanding”) is always a challenge and also an important task for Christians in general and for theologians in particular. The emergence of postmodern theologies, which call for a “personal approach” to God has challenged today theologians to present God as a “personal God.” God is not a “concept” which is put on the table for discussion. Our God is “communion of persons.” He is the One whom man can converse “face to face” in Jesus Christ. However, it is easy said than done. Many has theoretically acknowledged God as a personal God, but in practice, God remains a “transcendent and unmoved” Being, who resides in heaven and has nothing to do with man in his day-to-day living. Aware that the central mystery of Christian faith is the mystery of the Blessed Trinity, and that there is very little explicit reference on the “triune character” reflected in man’s personal relationship with God, the author has offered his findings on John Paul II’s concept of “acting person” and has proposed a “personal approach” to the mystery of the Blessed Trinity. The main objective of the study is, therefore, to analyze the thought-elements in the concept of “acting person” of John Paul II and its contribution to the understanding of the personness of the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit in the mystery of the Trinity based on John Paul II’s Trinitarian Triptych: Redemptor Hominis, Dives in Misericordia, and Dominum et Vivificantem. Precisely, with the use of text-based analysis together with the historical hermeneutic method of research in different Chapters of the study, the author has carried out his investigation. The study has offered the following findings: first, as history unfolds, the concept of “person” has been used in human early history. The concept of “person” gains a deeper meaning and significance with the birth of Christianity. Even in the Christian tradition, the concept of “person” has gone through a long process of development. However, until now there is not a universal and all-agree definition on the concept of “persons” (Chapter II); second, the Roman Catholic Church was given a saint, St. John Paul II as her leader. This saintly Pope has guided the Church not only with his example, but also his writings, especially his work The Acting Person, whose detected thought-elements have a great contribution to the understanding of the Divine Persons and their roles in divine plan of salvation (Chapter III); third, John Paul II’s teaching has its center in the mystery of the Trinity. This is specifically found in his three encyclicals dedicated to reflecting on the Three Divine Persons: the Son in Redemptor Hominis (4 Macrh, 1979), the Father in Dives in Misericordia (30 November, 1980), and the Holy Spirit in Dominum et Vivificantem (18 May, 1986) (Chapter IV); fourth, the thought-elements found in John Paul II’s concept of “acting person” is a unique legacy of his, which becomes a great contribution to the understanding of the Divine Persons and their roles in divine plan of salvation (Chapter V). In sum, the author hopes that with the analysis of John Paul II’s thought-elements found in the concept of “acting person,” there would be more effective transformation of one’s life and deeper understanding of the mystery of the Trinity. This transformation and understanding result from the fact that the divine Persons are not “static beings” but “dynamic persons” who are capable of entering into a very personal relationship with man. God, indeed, is not a God of the dead, but of the living (see Mt 22:32).