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The Creed is the faith that we confess at every Mass, and it is therefore a summary of what we believe, the truths we hold as such – truths. These truths not only identify what we believe in, but also who we are. They form our Catholic identity.
On the road towards the Year Of Faith, I want to take a look at the Nicene Creed, line by line, to see what it tells us about the truth of being Catholic Christians.
I believe in one God, the Father almighty
In the first line of the Creed we find that every word has meaning. It starts of with “I believe”, indicating that this is my confession. It is not merely some statement that applies to all who say it in a general sense; no, it is intensely personal. This implies that, when we say the Creed, we should really try to do so consciously, aware of what we are saying, and, equally important, to whom. Are we telling the people around us what we believe, or do we direct our words, like everything in the liturgy of Mass, towards our Lord God?
Which handily leads us to the rest of that first line. We believe “in one God”. There is a single God, and that God is one. That’s not just some juggling with words, but it tells us something about God. He is unique, there are no others like Him. This has an effect on our relationships with other religions (although this is not the place to delve into the intricacies of ecumenism), but also focusses our worship, our relationship with Him. He is not an option among many, He is the only option, really.
He is also “the Father”. God is a father, which gives a hint about how we relate to Him: like children to a father. Like human fathers (or fathers as they should be, to be fair), God loves us. He also has a responsibility towards us, like a father has to his children. A responsibility to love, raise and educate them. Fathers also usually know better than their children, and we trust them to act for our wellbeing, even if we don’t appreciate their actions or decisions at the time. We know that God is for us, never against us.
Lastly, we state that God is “almighty”. He exceeds all earthly powers and strength, standing, as we will learn in the next line of the Creed, above all creation. All that we see around us, all that we are capable of, finds its source in the almighty God. His might is not something earned or achieved, but something that is innate to His being.
Art credit: God the Father, by Antoniazzo Romano (1489)