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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 Lord Jesus Christ, the Only Begotten Son of God
From the Father we now move to the Son. This line from the Creed tells us a few things about Him. First of all, it tells us who He is: Jesus Christ, and He is our one Lord. This statement identifies the Son – He is the one we can read about in the Gospels – and also grounds Him in our historical reality, for the person of Jesus Christ is also a historical figure. He lived among us at a specific time and place. God, in the person of the Son, came to us in a way that we can verify and understand; He lived among us , shared our lives and reality.
He is our one Lord, indicating that there is a relationship of authority and responsibility between us and Him. Christ has authority, but the responsibility goes both ways. Subsequent lines in the Creed will further explore the reasons for both His authority and our and His responsibility.
Christ is also the “only begotten Son of God”. In the first place, this tells us that He is unique. There is none like Him, not other sons or daughters of God. The word ‘begotten’ tells us that He came forth from the Father without some female involvement: this was not procreation in the human sense. The Son, Jesus Christ, came from God the Father as His only and unique Son.
Art credit: ‘Portrait of Christ’ by Jan van Eyck (1440)