We utter the words every time we go to Mass, but when was the last time that you took a moment to reflect on what you are truly saying when we pray The Nicene Creed?
The Creed is more than a prayer, it is a profession of the truths of the Christian faith.
The words are a powerful statement of the Gospel message, but we often fail to express their true meaning when we mechanically echo them at Mass.
In this excerpt from the Augustine Institute series Symbolon, we hear Dr. Edward Sri begin to draw us into the meaning of the Creed. Dr. Sri so eloquently tells us that as the early Christians kneeled to pray the Creed, “It’s as if each would be professing the story of faith proclaimed in this Basilica is my story too.”
Do you pray in the same way as the early Christians? Is the Creed your story too? Do you make this part of the Mass a profession of your beliefs and passionately say the words with meaning or do you simply recite the words you have known since childhood?
We invite you to take a moment to quietly pray and reflect on the Creed throughout your prayer time this week in order to renew and refresh your approach to this profession of our Catholic beliefs.
Day 1: Today, start by reading slowly over the words of the Creed. Grab a pen and paper. (No copying and pasting allowed. Do this the old-fashioned way!) Carefully write out the words of the Creed.
Day 2: Look back at the words you wrote yesterday. Once again, slowly pray these powerful words. Look through the prayer again and underline or highlight words of importance to you. Which of these beliefs resonates deep within your soul? Which words speak truth into your life?
Day 3: Slowly pray once again the words that you have written. Today we ask that you concentrate on “the first part (that) speaks of the first divine Person and the wonderful work of creation” (CCC 190). How does this part of the Creed help you to know the Father? Take a moment to thank God, the creator of all things, for the things He has created for you. Which words in this part of the Creed help you to desire more of God in your life?
Day 4: Again, start by slowly and intentionally praying the words of the Creed. Concentrate on the second part of the Creed, that which “speaks of the second divine Person and the mystery of his redemption of men” (CCC 190). How does this part of the prayer help you to know Jesus, the Son of God? Take a moment to thank Jesus for coming down from heaven in order to save us from our sin. Which words in this part of the Creed provide hope for both your life on earth and eternity?
Day 5: Begin with slowly and intentionally praying the words of the Creed. Focus today on the third part of the Creed that “speaks of the third divine Person, the origin and source of our sanctification.” (CCC 190) How does this part of the Creed help you to understand the Holy Spirit? Spend some time adoring and glorifying the Holy Spirit. The Holy Spirit spoke through the prophets and continues to speak through the Word of God today. Ask the Holy Spirit to speak into your life and lead you to a deeper understanding of the faith.
The 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, the giver of life, who proceeds from the Father and the Son, who with 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.
After taking partfive-day five day reflection, go to Mass this Sunday with a renewed passion and fire for the beliefs of our faith. This is the truth we believe. It is powerful. It is both life changing and eternally impactful. Let’s live out the teaching of the Catechism of the Catholic Church, “As on the day of our Baptism, when our whole life was entrusted to the “standard of teaching”, let us embrace the Creed of our life-giving faith. To say the Credo with faith is to enter into communion with God, Father, Son and Holy Spirit, and also with the whole Church which transmits the faith to us and in whose midst we believe:‘This Creed is the spiritual seal, our heart’s meditation and an ever-present guardian; it is, unquestionably, the treasure of our soul.” (197)
And the next time someone asks you what Catholics believe, don’t be afraid to recite the Creed with true conviction and devotion. Make the Creed your story by proclaiming its truths with your life.