Wednesday, November 28, 2012

The Genuine Articles

Today too the Creed needs to be better known, understood and prayed. It is important above all that the Creed be, so to speak, “recognized”. Indeed, knowing might be merely an intellectual operation, whereas “recognizing” means the need to discover the deep bond between the truth we profess in the Creed and our daily existence, so that these truths may truly and in practice be — as they have always been — light for our steps through life, water that irrigates the parched stretches on our path, life that gets the better of some arid areas of life today. The moral life of Christians is grafted on the Creed, on which it is founded and by which it is justified.

It is not by chance that Blessed John Paul II wanted the Catechism of the Catholic Church, a reliable norm for teaching the faith and a dependable source for a renewed catechesis, to be based on the Creed. It was a question of confirming and preserving this central core of the truths of the faith and of rendering it in a language that would be more comprehensible to the people of our time, to us. It is a duty of the Church to transmit the faith, to communicate the Gospel, so that the Christian truths may be a light in the new cultural transformations and that Christians may be able to account for the hope that is in them (cf. 1 Pet 3:15).

General Audience, 17 October 2012

Reflection – So, how are you going to live the Creed today? Hmmm… we don’t usually think like that, do we? Most reader of this blog are probably practicing Catholics or at least Christians, and could recite the Creed without too much difficulty. But, if asked to explain its direct relevance to daily life, how exactly it is light and water and life for our immediate experience, how it informs the choices we make every day… well, this is not perhaps so obvious to us.

It is a good exercise then, for the Year of Faith, to meditate on the Creed, article by article, asking just how this affects how we are to live today, the choices we are to make today. Let me help you get started on that by doing the first article for you.

‘I believe in God the Father almighty, maker of heaven and earth.’ The first thing we see in this is that we are not alone. We have a Father who loves us, and He is God. The universe is not some dead product of random cosmic energies. The world is not some bitter struggle for survival, and life is not ‘nasty, brutal, and short.’ Not really. We have a Father. We are loved, we are held, we are secure in the embrace of the Father at the deepest level of our existence.

Well, surely this will affect how we approach our daily lives, right? How we relate to people, how we work, the general attitude we bring to bear on the world. If there is a fundamental security, a basic wholeness that our life is resting on, surely we will have a certain freedom to love, to be generous, to be gentle and caring of others without undue regard for our own self.

‘Maker of heaven and earth.’ So everything that is, and more important everyone who is, is a creature of God. Beloved of Him, and fashioned by Him for some purpose, some intent. This means we can’t just treat people however we please. We can’t just treat things, even, however we please. Everything exists for a reason; everyone is a great mystery of God caught up in the divine plan for the world.

So, manipulation and control, using and abusing, an egoistical approach to others and to the world must give way to reverent care, service, wonder and awe. Our Father in heaven is the author of all that is; our life as his children is to participate with Him in his creative loving work, not to initiate our own works apart from Him.

So from the one first article of the Creed a whole ethic emerges of reverent service and ministering care, of generous selfless love for the world God made, a love made possible because our own lives are held by the love of the Father. Not bad, eh?
I leave it to you, then, to meditate on the rest of the Creed. What does it mean to believe in Jesus Christ… in the Holy Spirit… in the one, holy, Catholic, and apostolic Church… and the other articles? If there is no incarnational application, it is entirely irrelevant to us, right? But there is… oh yes, there is! Our job is to find it and live it.

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