Monday, June 10, 2013

What Catholics Believe, The Creed Part 2

Secondo Pia's 1898 negative of the Shroud of Turin
[Covered in What Catholics Believe, Part 1]

I believe in one God, the Father almighty,
    maker of heaven and earth,
    of all things visible and invisible.

****************************Part 2

I believe in one Lord Jesus Christ, 

Lord here is not the title of an earthly lord.  It is used as another word for God.  The name of God is  Hebrew was not used, so God was usually referred to in Scripture as Lord.  In the New Testament Lord is frequently used for both God the Father and Jesus Christ. (CCC 446)  Elizabeth proclaimed it to Mary, "Who am I that the mother of my Lord should come to me?"  

Jesus is the name announced by Gabriel at the Annunciation; the name Jesus means "God saves."  It is not just a name but the very core of the meaning of the Incarnation.  (CCC 430)

Christ is the Greek word for the Hebrew Messiah which is "anointed".  (CCC 436

These names/titles reveal much about Who we believe Jesus was and is.  He is God.  He saves.  He is the anointed One of God.  This is what we believe as Catholics.

        the Only Begotten Son of God, 

But when the fullness of time had come, God sent his Son, born of a woman, born under the law, to ransom those under the law, so that we might receive adoption. (Gal. 4:4-5)
We believe that Jesus was, literally, the Son of God born of a woman, Mary, and the Holy Spirit.  He "came from God" (Jn 13:3), "descended from Heaven" (Jn 3:13), and "came in the flesh" (I Jn 4:2). (CCC 423) He came from the Father in the Person of Jesus Christ.  He suffered and died for us.  He is now, after rising, living with us forever. (CCC 426)

        born of the Father before all ages. 

Michelangelo's Jesus on the Sistine Chapel
Born means produced or generated from.  Just as we receive our humanness from our father, so Jesus received His divine essence from God.  St. Peter said that Jesus was "the Christ, the Son of the living God", to which Jesus replied, "Flesh and blood has not revealed this to you, but my Father Who is in Heaven." (Matt. 16:16-17) 

We also believe that Jesus always existed in God.  
"In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God.  He was in the beginning with God.  All things came to be through Him, and without Him nothing came to be.  What came to be through Him was life..."  (John 1:1-4a)
     God from God, Light from Light, true God from true God, 

Jesus is not God the Father; He is God the Son.  They are distinct from one another but the are both God.  To continue with John 1:4:  "...and this life was the light of the human race."  The Father and the son light each other and in turn light the world with life.  They are of one voice, one "testimony".  (John 8:17-18)  We believe that Jesus is God; He is light; He is true God

    begotten, not made, consubstantial with the Father; 
In the early Church, some of the heresies that cropped up were that either Jesus was not God, but only a man; that Jesus was God who came in the appearance of a man; and that somehow God coexisted in the body of a man.  However, the Nicaea Creed emphasizes the fact that we believe He is of the same substance, homoousios, as the Father.  At the Council of Chalcedon, the Church affirmed that Our Lord Jesus Christ is
"Perfect in divinity and perfect in humanity, the same truly God and truly man, composed of rational soul and body; consubstantial with the Father as to His divinity and consubstantial with us as to His humanity; "like us in all things but sin."  (CCC 467)

         Through him all things were made. 

Separation of light and darkness (Michelangelo)
Here we go back to John chapter one. "In the beginning was the Word...and the Word was with God...all things were made through Him, and without Him was not anything made that was made." (John 1:1-4)  God created everything through the eternal Word, His Son, along with the Holy Spirit (we'll get to Him soon) Who is the "giver of life."  (CCC 291)

    For us men and for our salvation he came down from heaven, 

Appropriately, the name Jesus means "God saves."  (CCC 430)  The perfect name for the Incarnation Who came to free mankind from the bondage of sin.  As God, He existed before there was a world.  He came down from His home for the love of mankind.
The Word became flesh so that thus we might know God's love: "In this the love of God was made manifest among us, that God sent His only Son into the world, so that we might live through Him." (1 John 4:9)  "For God so loved the world that He gave His only Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have eternal life." (John 3:16) (CCC 458)
There is not much more I can say than that.

        and by the Holy Spirit was incarnate of the Virgin Mary, 
But Mary said to the angel, “How can this be, since I have no relations with a man?” And the angel said to her in reply, “The holy Spirit will come upon you, and the power of the Most High will overshadow you. Therefore the child to be born will be called holy, the Son of God....for nothing will be impossible for God.”  (Luke 1:34-35,37)
The Scripture tells us the name of His Mother and the manner of Jesus' conception.  It is not by Joseph or any other man that Jesus comes into being.  He becomes incarnate in the Virgin Mary's womb by the Holy Spirit.  Mary's virginity is and remains a dogma (something a Catholic must believe) of the Church.  Mary conceived "without any detriment to her virginity, which remained inviolate even after His birth" (Council of the Lateran, 649).  Mary in this way becomes the Mother of God.  (More on this later)

         and became man.

 He became truly man while remaining truly God.  Jesus Christ is true God and true man.  (CCC 464)  From apostolic times the Christian faith has insisted on the true incarnation of God's Son "come in the flesh." (CCC 465)  

*******************************************************End Part 2

    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.

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