The Fifteen Most Powerful Words

We read in the Gospel of Luke:

“After all the people had been baptized and Jesus also had been baptized and was praying, heaven was opened, and the Holy Spirit descended upon him in bodily form like a dove. And a voice came from the heavens, saying, ‘You are my beloved Son, with you I am well pleased.’” (Luke. 3:21-22)

This was the first time that the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit were witnessed together as distinct persons. This relationship we call the Holy Trinity; One God, yet three divine persons.

Our Belief in the Holy Trinity

St. Francis De Sales said:

“The fifteen most powerful words in the English language are in the name of the Father, and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit.”

The words themselves are powerful because they are a testimony of our belief in the Holy Trinity, but they also call to mind our salvation through the passion and death of Jesus Christ as we trace the cross over ourselves. As Catholics, all of our prayers, including the Holy Mass, begin and end with the sign of the cross. Those fifteen words, along with the sign of the cross, identify us as Catholic Christians. This formula is the official blessing of the Church by way of Holy Orders for special occasions and designated items and individuals. However, we all should bless ourselves throughout the day, asking God to guide and protect us. It is very meaningful for children to have their parents bless them in the morning before leaving home and in the evening before bed. When faced with an urgency, it is very simple to say,

“God come to my assistance, in the name of the Father, and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit.”

We have been baptized in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit and have received the gifts of the Holy Spirit. Our purpose for being on this earth is to bring to completion the good work that was begun in us at our baptism. God has a great plan for humanity that can only be realized in a relationship with him. It is for this reason he has given us the Church and the sacraments. We must remember that in our humanity, we inherited a fallen nature, and often we are tempted to want to live for ourselves at the expense of others. God has made it possible for us to overcome these temptations which lead to sadness and even hopelessness. He desires to pour his grace into the hearts of those who believe in him. We need God; he created us to be in a relationship with him.

Equipping the Called

In the Gospel, Matthew tells us that when the Disciples saw the Lord, they worshiped, but they doubted. This would be the last time they would see Jesus before he returned to heaven, and they doubted. For three years they heard his teaching, witnessed his miracles and were present during his apparitions after he rose from the dead, and still, they doubted. It can be difficult to overcome the limitations of our logic. However, Jesus wasn’t disheartened by their lack of faith. He immediately commissioned them and said:

“Go, therefore. And make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit, teaching them all that I have commanded you. And behold, I am with you always, until the end of the age”.

Jesus knew that on their own they would not be able to complete the mission he charged them with. He would send his Holy Spirit so that all he commanded them to do he would accomplish through them. The same is true of us. God expects us to do things we can only do with his help, which he freely offers. Every baptized person has a vocation, whether it be religious, marriage, or single life. As our life unfolds, if we remain close to God, he will help us overcome the challenges that we might give up on if we did not ask for his help.  We all will have to endure things we may now think we cannot endure or to accomplish things that we think we cannot accomplish. But if it is God’s will, he will bring all things to completion in and through us. We must discern what the will of God is by remaining in the state of grace through the sacraments, a discipline of prayer and faith formation. God is as close to us as his name on our lips.

As we remember our veterans this Memorial weekend, I am sure there were moments when many had doubts about the mission ahead.   If they knew exactly what was before them perhaps it would have been more difficult for them to fulfill their duty. These warriors too were in the hand of God and it is they, who with his help completed their mission, even if it was with the sacrifice of their lives. God bless America and the veterans who preserve our freedom.


Deacon Tom FoxK.H.S. is Co-Founder & Co-Director of Pilgrim Center of Hope with his wife, Mary Jane Fox. The two left their careers after a profound conversion experience and began working full-time in ministry at their parish in 1986. After several years and having impacted tens of thousands of families, the Foxes founded Pilgrim Center of Hope in 1993 as a response to the Church’s call for a New Evangelization. Deacon Tom is an invested member of the Equestrian Order of the Holy Sepulchre of Jerusalem, a Knight of the Holy Sepulchre.

Answering Christ’s call, Pilgrim Center of Hope guides people to encounter Him so as to live in hope, as pilgrims in daily life. See what’s happening & let us journey with you! Visit PilgrimCenterOfHope.org.