The Catechism of the Catholic Church explains “faith is a personal adherence of the whole man to God who reveals himself. It involves an assent of the intellect and will to the self-revelation God has made through his deeds and words (CCC, 176).
In the New Testament, the Letter to the Hebrews, faith is explained as “the realization of what is hoped for and evidence of things not seen” (NAS Heb 11:1). It goes on to say in Hebrews 11:6, “but without faith it is impossible to please him, for anyone who approaches God must believe that he exists and that he rewards those who seek him.” There are many wonderful examples of sincere faith in the Letter to the Hebrews. Abel, Enoch, Noah each demonstrated their adherence to God and were rewarded. Abraham, because of his faith became the forefather of the Chosen People of God. His faith led him to the promised land and there, God gifted him with “descendants as numerous as the stars in the sky and as countless as the sands on the seashore” (NAS Heb 11:12). We learn later in Hebrews that Abraham so trusted God through his faith that he offered up his only son, Isaac, as a sacrifice. Hebrews continues by explaining the lineage of Abraham’s decedents through Isaac, Jacob, Esau, Joseph, and Moses. The hereditary line continued through to David and later Jesus. Through the Blessed Virgin’s faith, we’re able to see the fulfillment of God’s promise to those who had faith, within the embodiment of the Risen Christ.
As Catholics, we profess our faith through creeds. There have been many creeds throughout Church history all brought about in times of challenge from heresies to the beliefs of the Church. These creeds were designed to offer clarification for Church followers, helping to give followers a more definitive direction and help them to avoid falling into their own heresies. Creeds are “symbols of faith”, that are made up of statements of belief.
Through creeds, we profess our faith allowing us to express the faith of the Church and to hand it on as Abraham did to his descendants. The faith of the Church is protected in the Creed and allows us to celebrate our beliefs as a united community. The creeds of the Church have each been based on individual organized statements, which have come together in time of Church crisis to form the Creeds we profess today.
Two of the creeds that we use today are the Apostles’ Creed and the Nicene Creed. While similar, each is distinct. The Apostles’ Creed is a summary of the Apostle’s teachings and is “the ancient baptismal creed of the Church in Rome” (CCC, 194)
I believe in God, the Father almighty, Creator of heaven and earth, and in Jesus Christ, his only Son, our Lord, who was conceived by the Holy Spirit, born of the Virgin Mary, suffered under Pontius Pilate, was crucified, died and was buried; he descended into hell; on the third day he rose again from the dead; he ascended into heaven, and is seated at the right hand of God the Father almighty; from there he will come to judge the living and the dead. I believe in the Holy Spirit, the holy catholic Church, the communion of saints, the forgiveness of sins, the resurrection of the body, and life everlasting. Amen.(CCC p49/p50)
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.
The Nicene Creed is a statement of faith dating from the fourth century, written at the Council of Nicaea in AD 325 and revised in AD 381 at the Council of Constantinople. The Nicene Creed was the first universally accepted creed of the Church, and expanded on the Apostles’ Creed providing a more precise accounting of what we believe. We use the Apostle’s creed today when catechumens prepare to receive the Sacrament of Baptism and the Nicene Creed on Sunday’s and Holy Days.
We know through the Scriptures that a strong faith and belief in God will lead to great rewards. It remains our responsibility to share this belief and help others to find an unwavering faith in God and his promise of everlasting life.
Senior, Donald, et al. Editors: The Catholic Study Bible, Second Edition New American Bible
Revised Edition, New York: N.Y. Oxford Press, 2011 Print.
“Apostles’ Creed.” United States Conference of Catholic Bishops, United States Conference of
Catholic Bishops, 2017, www.usccb.org. Accessed 18 Sept. 2017.
“Creed and Faith Definitions.” Merrian-Webster Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Incorporated,
2017, www.merriam-webster.com/. Accessed 18 Sept. 2017.