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Advent-Christmas Cyber Retreat

Fr. Timothy Hayes, EGL 1


THEME: The Creed: Faith in the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit in the Church


Hebrews11:1: “Faith is the assurance of things hoped for, the conviction of things not seen.”


The Creed


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.


Comment:  This week, we consider the Creed we profess.  This takes various forms from the Questions of the Rite of Baptism to the Apostles’ Creed, to the Niceno-Constantinopolitan Creed prayed at Sunday Masses.  We note that each of these has a Trinitarian structure.  Each article of the Creed is worthy of our attention.  Reflection upon the words carefully chosen by the early Church opens to us a living understanding of the God in Whom we believe.


26 We begin our profession of faith by saying: “I believe” or “We believe.” Before expounding the Church’s faith, as confessed in the Creed, celebrated in the liturgy, and lived in observance of God’s commandments and in prayer, we must first ask what “to believe” means. Faith is man’s response to God, who reveals himself and gives himself to man, at the same time bringing man a superabundant light as he searches for the ultimate meaning of his life.


When others ask us about the reason for our hope, it is fitting to respond in terms of a personal relationship with God Who IS Father, Son and Holy Spirit and Who speaks to us in and through the Church.  How do you understand the Creed we profess?  What aspects of the Creed do you need to study more in depth?



Scripture:I Thessalonians 3:12-4:2

Brothers and sisters: May the Lord make you increase and abound in love for one another and for all, just as we have for you, so as to strengthen your hearts, to be blameless in holiness before our God and Father at the coming of our Lord Jesus with all his holy ones. Amen.

Finally, brothers and sisters, we earnestly ask and exhort you in the Lord Jesus that, as you received from us how you should conduct yourselves to please God —and as you are conducting yourselves— you do so even more. For you know what instructions we gave you through the Lord Jesus.


Comment:  Faith is in response to the Revelation of God.  There is an act (fides qua) and a content (fides quae).  These two aspects are inseparable.  The only way to believe in God is to accept God at His Word, the Word that is proclaimed to us in the Person of Jesus Christ.


How does St. Paul’s exhortation to the Thessalonians speak to you as a person of Faith? 
In this Year of Faith, how do you want to respond?


12/03  Monday:          I believe: the Act of Faith

                        Ask:  How do I express my trust in God and what He reveals?


185 Whoever says “I believe” says “I pledge myself to what we believe.” Communion in faith needs a common language of faith, normative for all and uniting all in the same confession of faith.



12/04  Tuesday:         I believe: the Content of Faith

                        Ask:  What is the center of the Creed which is considered this week?


186 From the beginning, the apostolic Church expressed and handed on her faith in brief formulae for all.  (Cf. Romans 10:9; 1 Corinthians 15:3-5, etc.) But already early on, the Church also wanted to gather the essential elements of its faith into organic and articulated summaries, intended especially for candidates for Baptism:


This synthesis of faith was not made to accord with human opinions, but rather what was of the greatest importance was gathered from all the Scriptures, to present the one teaching of the faith in its entirety. And just as the mustard seed contains a great number of branches in a tiny grain, so too this summary of faith encompassed in a few words the whole knowledge of the true religion contained in the Old and New Testaments.   (St. Cyril of Jerusalem)



12/05  Wednesday:    I believe: Faith in the Church

                        Ask:  How does the Church community express the Creed?


187 Such syntheses are called “professions of faith” since they summarize the faith that Christians profess. They are called “creeds” on account of what is usually their first word in Latin: credo (“I believe”). They are also called “symbols of faith.”



12/06  Thursday:       I believe: the Communion of Saints

                        Ask:  What Saints do I know who witness to the Creed?     


188 The Greek word symbolon meant half of a broken object, for example, a seal presented as a token of recognition. The broken parts were placed together to verify the bearer’s identity. The symbol of faith, then, is a sign of recognition and communion between believers. Symbolon also means a gathering, collection, or summary. A symbol of faith is a summary of the principal truths of the faith and therefore serves as the first and fundamental point of reference for catechesis.



12/07  Friday:            I believe: Faith at Home         

                        Ask:  How do I share the Creed with those among whom I live?


189 The first “profession of faith” is made during Baptism. The symbol of faith is first and foremost the baptismal creed. Since Baptism is given “in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit,” (Matthew 28:19) the truths of faith professed during Baptism are articulated in terms of their reference to the three persons of the Holy Trinity.


12/08  Saturday:        Solemnity of the Immaculate Conception


491 Through the centuries the Church has become ever more aware that Mary, “full of grace” through God, (Luke 1:28) was redeemed from the moment of her conception. That is what the dogma of the Immaculate Conception confesses, as Pope Pius IX proclaimed in 1854:


The most Blessed Virgin Mary was, from the first moment of her conception, by a singular grace and privilege of almighty God and by virtue of the merits of Jesus Christ, Savior of the human race, preserved immune from all stain of original sin. (Ineffabilis Deus)


492 The “splendor of an entirely unique holiness” by which Mary is “enriched from the first instant of her conception” comes wholly from Christ: she is “redeemed, in a more exalted fashion, by reason of the merits of her Son.”  (Lumen Gentium 53, 56) The Father blessed Mary more than any other created person “in Christ with every spiritual blessing in the heavenly places” and chose her “in Christ before the foundation of the world, to be holy and blameless before him in love.” (Cf. Ephesians 1:3–4)


493 The Fathers of the Eastern tradition call the Mother of God “the All–Holy” (Panagia) and celebrate her as “free from any stain of sin, as though fashioned by the Holy Spirit and formed as a new creature.”  (Lumen Gentium 56) By the grace of God Mary remained free of every personal sin her whole life long.


Attend the Mass of the Solemnity of the Immaculate Conception,
the Patronal Feast of the United States of America.
[Note that this Solemnity is always a Holy Day of Obligation]


Say a “Hail Mary” for other participants in the Retreat.


I believe: Witness of Faith

                        Ask:  To whom do I witness the Creed?



12/09  Sunday:           I believe: Worship of the Living God as you profess the Creed.

                        Renew your commitment to practice and live the Faith as you participate in worship.

Ask:  How does the Christian Community proclaim this aspect of Faith together?


190 And so the Creed is divided into three parts: “the first part speaks of the first divine Person and the wonderful work of creation; the next speaks of the second divine Person and the mystery of his redemption of men; the final part speaks of the third divine Person, the origin and source of our sanctification.”  (Roman Catechism) These are “the three chapters of our [baptismal] seal.” (St. Irenaeus)


191 “These three parts are distinct although connected with one another. According to a comparison often used by the Fathers, we call them articles. Indeed, just as in our bodily members there are certain articulations which distinguish and separate them, so too in this profession of faith, the name articles has justly and rightly been given to the truths we must believe particularly and distinctly.”  (Roman Catechism)  In accordance with an ancient tradition, already attested to by St. Ambrose, it is also customary to reckon the articles of the Creed as twelve, thus symbolizing the fullness of the apostolic faith by the number of the apostles.


The Year of Faith “will also be a good opportunity to intensify the celebration of the faith in the liturgy, especially in the Eucharist.”  In the Eucharist, mystery of faith and source of the new evangelization, the faith of the Church is proclaimed, celebrated and strengthened. All of the faithful are invited to participate in the Eucharist actively, fruitfully and with awareness, in order to be authentic witnesses of the Lord.


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