Deep in your gut, what do you believe about our Catholic faith? Would you be able to give a bold response when questioned about the teachings of the Catholic church? If we are being honest, I am not sure how confident I would be in my answer. I find that the more I learn about my faith, the more I realize how much I do not know about being a Catholic.
Luckily, we have a shortened version of ‘the Catholic Faith for Dummies’ in one short prayer. The Apostles' creed states the foundation of what we should believe as christians. This 30 second prayer is recited by the entire congregation towards the beginning of Mass. (The Apostles Creed or the Nicene Creed is prayed but they both state the same truths.) It is the first prayer prayed during the rosary and is also a part of the divine mercy chaplet. It is the perfect prayer to pray because the Apostles' creed holds the basic fundamentals of living out the Catholic Faith, in one prayer.
I believe in God, the Father almighty,
maker of heaven and earth;
And in Jesus Christ, his only Son, our Lord;
who was conceived by the Holy Ghost,
born of the Virgin Mary,
suffered under Pontius Pilate,
was crucified, dead, and buried.
He descended into hell.
The third day he rose again from the dead.
He ascended into heaven,
and sitteth on the right hand of God the Father almighty.
From thence he shall come to judge the quick and the dead.
I believe in the Holy Ghost,
the holy catholic Church,
the communion of saints,
the forgiveness of sins,
the resurrection of the body,
and the life everlasting. Amen.
Because of the frequency that this prayer is prayed, it is easy for me to graze over the words and not pay much attention to what I am saying. When I soak in the words and allow myself to ruminate on what I am saying, I am oftentimes convicted. It does not matter how many times I ponder on the words, there is always something I can apply to my daily life. Let me show you what I mean.
Let's start at the very beginning. The first two words of the apostles creed….I believe. The definition of the word believe is to accept (something) as true or to feel sure of the truth. I find it easy to interchange the word belief with the word faith. The word faith means to have complete trust or confidence in something or someone. Wow! Both definitions include the word trust. We have to trust that God is good. We have to trust that we were created for union with Him one day. We have to trust that God created each of our souls for a specific purpose. And when we do, we avoid the vicious cycle of despair.
The next lines of the Apostles' creed is a bold statement. I believe in one God. There is only one God. DUH! But if you reflect on every angle of your life could you boldly state that there is only one God? I know there have been stages of my life where I placed earthly things in front of God. I prioritized exercise over prayer or developed a habit of comparison with other people. We can say that there is only one God, but we do not always worship one God. The scary part is, we do not always notice when we are placing other things before God in our hearts. It is important to reflect and ensure that we are living out the absolute truth of this prayer by continually redirecting our hearts to the one true God.
I believe in one God, the Father Almighty. The word almighty means to have complete power. Our Heavenly Father has complete power over our lives. Don't worry, we do not have a cruel or controlling God….. the power of God is applied to our lives in a loving and responsive form. He answered prayers! I have witnessed physical healings through the intercession of prayer. I have heard countless stories of how God has answered prayers and I know through my experiences he has gone above and beyond my expectations when answering a specific prayer of mine. God is our father in the sense that he knows us intimately. He is interested in everything that he has made. If I believe that he is good and he is my almighty father then I should have confidence to be bold knowing he has complete power to answer my prayers.
I could continue to write about each phrase of the Apostles Creed. But I want you to experience the unique truth behind the foundations of the Catholic faith. Your soul is a specific creation of God's earthly design. Because He created you, you belong absolutely to God. Take time to soak in the words and allow them to transform how you live out your Faith.
Fr. Ronald Knox wrote a series of homilies that were compiled into a book called the Creed in Slow Motion. I highly recommend this book for anyone who is looking to deepen their understanding of the Apostles Creed and the foundations of our faith.
Until next time~Your sister in Christ,