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.
For us men and for our salvation he came down from heaven
With these lines we not only return to our introduction to the Creed, but also to the incarnation of the Lord; the nigh-incomprehensible fact that our God became like one of His own creations, a man. No God or divine person in another religion has performed this act of pure life and care for his creations. For as the lines from the Creed tell us, God became man for us, and not for any benefit to himself.
The incarnation, or the Son of God becoming a man, Jesus Christ, among us, is not without reason. It happened for us, and as such it happened at a specific time and place, because we are bound by these dimensions. We lead our lives in the places where we live and work, in the time given to us. In order to become man, Jesus also had to limit Himself to these dimensions. By His becoming one of us, we are able to re-establish a deep and personal relationship with Him. He is no longer out of reach. And so we can achieve our salvation, which He continuously offers to us.
Because of this, God also knows us intimately, because He has known everything that we experience in our lives, from profound joy and satisfaction to deep sorrow and regret. He identifies with us, and so we can identify with Him, at least enough for the aforementioned personal relationship to be established.
Art Credit: “Adoration of the Child,” by Gerrit van Honthorst, ca. 1620