By Becky Schlofner
Faith is therefore both a relationship with God as well as an engagement with the truths that He reveals. In other words, faith refers to both the act by which we accept God’s word and the content of what He has revealed to us.
There is a very important part to our lives as a Roman Catholic Christian that follows the homily (sermon) at our masses and services: the Creed. It is here that we pledge our Faith. It is here that we renew our baptismal promise. But why are there two of them and what is the difference?
The Nicene Creed is the one that we say most of the time. This creed goes all the way back to the year 325 when Constantine formed the Council at Nicea (now Iznik, Turkey) and updated in 381 at the Council of Constantinople. With this we are able to be perfectly clear with what it is we believe in as a Roman Catholic Community.
With the Nicene Creed we pledge our faith in God in the Trinity. “God from God, Light from Light, True God from True God.” We acknowledge that we know Jesus was “begotten, not made” as Mary was God’s vessel for His Son. We know God is responsible for creating all things in existence. Jesus came to us to save us from our sins. The fact that He had to suffer on the Cross when Pontius Pilate had Him crucified was done to fulfill an ancient prophecy from God. We know Jesus will come again. Our baptism is a baptism in the Trinity, and we look forward to life after here on earth.
The Apostle’s Creed has history going back a bit farther as this is the credo that is said to have come from the Twelve themselves. The original core beliefs that Christendom has is within the Apostle’s Creed. It was necessary for converts to understand what it was they were following. It is thought that it may have been used during the baptism into the Church.
With the Apostle’s Creed we haven’t swayed from our pledge to the Holy Trinity. It isn’t as bluntly clear in some areas as the Nicene Creed, but we cover the same bases. Here we start by stating our belief in God the Father and Creator of Heaven and Earth. Jesus is His only Son and he is Our Lord. Jesus suffered, died, was buried, and resurrected. In this Creed we state that Jesus descended into Hell. He went into the realm of the dead to bring those that deserved to go to Heaven with Him. The ending to the Apostle’s Creed is different from the Nicene. “I believe in the… forgiveness of sins, the resurrection of the body and life everlasting.” The Nicene Creed has a clearer vision of what we mean when we say that.
Next time you recite the Apostle’s Creed or Nicene Creed at Mass, realize you are pledging your faith to our God. Feel the meaning of the words. Feel God with you.
Resource: United States Catholic Catechism for Adults, United States Conference of Bishops, Washington DC, ©2006