At least once a week we recite either the Apostles’ or the Nicene Creed, a summary of the doctrines we accept as fundamental to our religion. They become especially meaningful as we receive newly formed candidates into the church, and when our young people receive the sacrament of Confirmation. At these liturgies it is common for the congregation to join in the profession of faith.
In addition to pledging adherence to the traditional Creed, the ten commandments, and the rules of the Church, it is even more important that we remind ourselves of Jesus’ teachings as recorded in the Gospels. For in Matthew, Chapters 5 through 7, Jesus calls us to a deeper interpretation of the Law. You have heard it said . . . (and he quotes an existing law) . . . but I tell you . . .
For several of the ten commandments, he adds a deeper rule that surpasses the apparent goodness, or righteousness, of the Pharisees: Do not kill is elevated into Do not be angry with another. Do not commit adultery is not enough: we must reject any lustful thoughts. As children of our heavenly Father, we are held to a certain standard of behavior that goes above and beyond loving those who love us. Anyone can do that! Our transformation into the people of God means that we become God-like in our love and prayer for enemies, not just for our friends.
At the Last Supper Jesus gave his disciples a “new commandment” that covers all the rest: to love one another as He has loved us. This is the very center of our Christian faith and the path to union with God, as urged by the principles of Vatican II. It is through love for others that we arrive at a deeper understanding of who God is and of our relationship with Him: If you love me, you will keep my commandments …. Whoever loves me will be loved by my Father, and I will love him and reveal myself to him. (John 14:15; 21)
And so, we need to profess fidelity to this law of love, so that we let others see that we are indeed the children of God in Christ.
Christian Creed: A Sequel
* I believe in God the Father Almighty, in Jesus Christ his Son, and in the Holy Spirit, the Spirit of Love that binds them and us together.
* I believe in loving my neighbor and myself, as God loves us.
* I believe in forgiving anyone who causes me pain.
* I believe in praying for those who hurt me.
* I believe in loving my enemies.
* I believe that, as a Christian, the Father, Son and Holy Spirit live in me, and that I carry the Trinity to all I see or touch in this world.
* I believe that God desires happiness and unending life for all souls he has created, and that is why he sent his Son to teach us how to live in harmony with one another.
* I believe that Christ taught what he heard from the Father; that for these teachings he accepted rejection, cruel treatment and execution.
* I believe that God’s law of love as taught and exemplified by Christ is the one thing necessary; that the law of love must be followed and cherished, thus drawing us into an unending place of joy and love.
* I believe that I am called to relive the life of Christ in the unique circumstances given to me.
* I believe that we who call ourselves Christians are called to imitate Christ in all things.
* I believe that we are given the graces necessary to live by the commandments of Christ.