Thoughts About Our Faith

Saturday, January 17th, 2015

The Creed

Thursday, April 18th, 2013

YEAR OF FAITH

OCTOBER 11, 2012 TO NOVEMBER 24, 2013

Catechism of the Catholic Church All this information is from the Catechism)

THE CREED

A creed is used to identify the proper object of loyalty and to define the group that shows such loyalty. In the context of religion a creed provides a brief authoritative formula of religious belief; a set of fundamental beliefs. The word “creed” comes from the Latin word credo, which means, “I believe.”

In order to separate themselves from Judaism and other beliefs, our early church leaders, the Apostles, struggled to develop a “creed” for this “New Way”, the following of the teaching of Jesus Christ. These followers of Jesus Christ developed a number of short professions of the faith. As they developed their various professions they were not initially concerned with uniformity of expression. However the need for one creed became clear to the Church leaders during the second and third centuries as this new faith spread throughout the known world. 

Two creeds developed to take a special place in the Church’s life: the Apostles’ Creed and the Nicene Creed. The Apostles’ Creed is considered to be a faithful summary of the apostles’ faith while the Nicene Creed draws its great authority from the fact that it stems from the first two ecumenical Councils of the Catholic Church (in 325 and 381).  It is common to all the great Churches both East and West to this day and it is the creed that we recite at Mass.

Almost one-third of the Catechism of the Catholic Church is devoted to the discussion of the two creeds; from paragraph 198 through paragraph 1065. As stated in paragraph 196, “Our presentation of the faith will follow the Apostles’ Creed, which constitutes, as it were, the ‘oldest Roman catechism.’ The presentation will be completed however by constant references to the Nicene Creed which is often more explicit and more detailed.”

The presentation is organized into twelve “Articles’, beginning between paragraph 198 and 199. Each “Article” is a direct quote from the Apostles’ Creed.

Each Article presentation discusses many specific topics dealing with the Article. It takes awhile to get through the twelve Articles but it is worth the effort.

Please note that the Catechism does not include the changes made to the Nicene Creed recently. For example, the word “consubstantial” found in the recent translation is not in the Catechism.

The Nicene Creed presented below is a copy of the current creed found in the pews.

 

Nicene Creed

I believe in one God, the Father almighty, maker of heaven and earth, of all things visible and invisible.

I believe in one Lord Jesus Christ, the Only Begotten Son of God, born of the Father before all ages.

God from God, Light from Light, true God from true God, begotten, not made, consubstantial with the Father; through him all things were made.

For us men and for our salvation he came down from heaven, and by the Holy Spirit was incarnate of the Virgin Mary, and became man.

For our sake he was crucified under Pontius Pilate, he suffered death and was buried, and rose again on the third day in accordance with the Scriptures.

He ascended into heaven and is seated at the right hand of the Father.

He will come again in glory to judge the living and the dead and his kingdom will have no end.

I believe in the Holy Spirit, the Lord, giver of life, who proceeds from the Father and the Son is adored and glorified, who has spoken through the prophets.

I believe in one, holy, catholic and apostolic Church.

I confess one baptism for the forgiveness of sins and I look forward to the resurrection of the dead and the life of the world to come. Amen

Next month we will look at the “Precepts of the Church.”

Characteristics of Faith

Friday, March 22nd, 2013

YEAR OF FAITH

OCTOBER 11, 2012 TO NOVEMBER 24, 2013

(Numbers on the left margin refer to the Catechism of the Catholic Church paragraph numbers. All this information is from the Catechism)

153: Faith is a grace. When St. Peter confessed that Jesus is the Christ, son of the living God, Jesus declared to him that this revelation did not come “from flesh and blood,” but from “my Father who is in heaven.” Faith is a gift of God, a supernatural virtue infused by him.”

154: Faith is a human act. Believing is possible only by grace and the interior helps of the Holy Spirit. But it is no less true that believing is an authentically human act. Trusting in God and cleaving to the truths he has revealed are contrary neither to human freedom nor to human reason.

155: In faith, the human intellect and will cooperate with the divine grace: “Believing is an act of the intellect assenting to the divine truth by command of the will moved by God through grace.”

156: Faith and understanding: What moves us to believe is not the fact that revealed truths appear as true and intelligible in the light of our natural reason: we believe “because of the authority of God himself who reveals them, who can neither deceive nor be deceived.”

157: Faith is certain. It is more certain than all human knowledge because it is founded on the very word of God who cannot lie.

158: Faith seeks understanding. It is intrinsic to faith that a believer desires to know better the One in whom he has put his faith and to understand better what He has revealed; a more penetrating knowledge will in turn call forth a greater faith, increasingly set afire by love.

159: Faith and science. “Thought faith is above reason, there can never be any real discrepancy between faith and reason. Since the same God who reveals mysteries and infuses faith has bestowed the light of reason on the human mind, God cannot deny himself nor can truth ever contradict truth.

160. The freedom of faith. To be human, “man’s response to God by faith must be free, and …therefore nobody is to be forced to embrace the faith against his will. The act of faith is of its very nature a free act.”

161: The necessity of faith. Believing in Jesus Christ and in the One who sent him for our salvation is necessary for obtaining that salvation.  “Since ‘without faith it is impossible to please (God)’ and to attain to the fellowship of his sons, therefore without faith no one has ever attained justification, nor will anyone obtain eternal life ‘but he who endures to the end.’”