Do All Good Things Come in Threes?
April is quite an expensive time for me each year as we have three family birthdays that month: those of my daughter-in-law and my own twins.
It may be 27 years since the twins were born, but I can distinctly remember an episode that occurred when I was expecting them.
My husband and I had gone to the hospital for my second scan. We had just about recovered from the shock of the first one, when we were told that we were going to be the proud parents of twins.
Now my husband told me that he was disappointed that they hadn’t found a third baby at that second scan–and he was serious!
Needless to say, I was astounded—and also very relieved that this hadn’t, in fact, happened! There is a school of thought which suggests that both bad things and good things can come in threes. I’m not too sure of the veracity of this, but it is true that trilogies work well.
Ornamental groupings always look better in threes, for example, and a three-course meal is usually a recipe for success.
The number three is a highly significant biblical and theological number, of course. God calls Samuel three times, the Magi brought the infant Jesus three gifts; Jesus goes back to the Garden of Gethsemane to pray three times; and he also repeats the phrase “Feed my sheep” to Peter three times.
Peter, of course, had previously denied Christ three times. It goes without saying that we can’t talk about the number three in this context without referring to the significant fact of Jesus rising from the dead after a period of three days.
In fact, in Jewish culture at that time, three days after the time of death indicated that a person was truly dead, so this made Jesus’ Resurrection all the more remarkable for the people of that era—and obviously this didn’t happen by chance.
Finally, we can’t consider the number three without looking at the Trinity. God is three in one: the Godhead/Father, Son and Holy Spirit.
Our God is a trinitarian God above all others. And so, whether our good and bad things come in ones, twos or threes, we can always be assured and reassured that we worship, adore and give thanks to a God who is three-in-one.
I might not have received three babies for the price of one (two was quite enough!), but my faith shows me that three is, and continues to be, a significant number in our lives.
Thanks be to God!
Julia Beacroft is an author, editor, workshop leader and presenter in Catholic faith formation. Her book Sanctifying the Spirit is available on Amazon. Her first children’s book, Monsieur Claude’s Great French Adventure, is also out now.