Populus Trinitatis

Writing in the 12th century about the Battle of Hittin on 4 July 1187, the scribe Imad ad-Din al-Isfani described the defeat of the Crusaders this way:
Victory occurred on that day, Saturday 4 July 1187. Tormented by thirst, the Franks succumbed to defeat, impotent to recover their fall. The breeze was in their direction, and beneath their feet was grass. Some of our holy warriors set fire to the grass. Its flame bore down on them, and its heat became intense. They, the people of the Trinity, were consumed by a worldly fire of three types, each invincible and obliterating: the fire of flames, the fire of thirst, and the fire of arrows.
I've always been struck by that description of the Christians: The People of the Trinity. The joke, obviously, is that these people who believe that God is Three in One were consumed by three kinds of "fire", but the real joke is on our scribe: the Jews were blessed by God to know His name, but Christians are blessed to know His Nature. Saladin and his army, alas, knew neither.

The Christians on that day "were consumed by a worldly fire", but Christians of all times are continually consumed by the Divine Fire that is the Holy Spirit, who teaches us wisdom and truth. In that sense we never shall be, we cannot ever be, defeated.


Popular Posts