In the previous article, we looked at the first half of the Nicene Creed. As we study this new English Translation of the Roman Missal, we find the focus is less centered upon ourselves at Holy Mass, and perpetually centered on Christ Jesus. It is easy to misunderstand this teaching, especially in light of relativism so prevalent in the broader culture today. We must look first to Jesus in the Holy Eucharist and ponder the Incarnation in order for this Liturgical orientation to be restored in our hearts and minds. Msgr. Guido Marini, the Papal Master of Ceremonies, said it clearly:
“Theologically speaking, the Holy Mass, as a matter of fact, is always addressed to God through Christ our Lord,
and it would be a grievous error to imagine that the principal orientation of the sacrificial action is the community.
Such an orientation, therefore, of turning towards the Lord must animate the interior participation of each individual
during the liturgy.”
Our personal actions are indeed important, principally our Christ-like love for one another. At Mass our actions indeed, both interior and exterior, are always centered on God through Jesus in the Eucharist.
We can especially ponder this within the context of the Nicene Creed, as each of us professes our Faith in Christ, the Man made flesh, brought to human life by the Virgin Mary. From the Latin incarnatio, our current English translation, “He was born…” seems an extremely simple notion, meant to describe a more profound embodiment, the union of the Divine clothed with human flesh in Christ Jesus. The new translation will be changed to read, “incarnate of the Virgin Mary.”
The Incarnation is the central mystery of our Faith. As the Holy Gospel of St. John begins, “In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God.” We are then reminded of the Angelus as St. John continues, “And the Word was made flesh, and dwelt among us, and we saw His glory, the glory as it were of the only begotten of the Father, full of grace and truth.”
St. Athanasius, in his treatise “De Incarnatione,” speaks of the utmost importance of the Incarnate Word made flesh dwelling among us, and then rising in the glory of His Resurrection. Although we as humans are corruptible beings, as long as we remain united with the Word, we are incorruptibly connected to the Father of life, truth and love by virtue of grace.
We find the supreme model of self-giving love within the Holy Family. By her beautiful and unsurpassed fiat, our Blessed Mother gave her consent to Christ's conception and allowed the Holy Spirit to form the sacred humanity of Jesus with her blood. Good St. Joseph also had a part in this mystery, the protection of Mary's perpetual virginity before and during his married life with her.
As a result of God’s Incarnation and Resurrection, we are called as children of God to a continuous worship, more precisely a profound adoration of the Triune God, the Holy Trinity. This reference is imperative as the Creed summarizes the gifts that God gives man: the almighty Father, the Creator; his Son Jesus Christ, our Lord and Savior; and the Holy Spirit, the Sanctifier. Just as the Gloria contains a Litany of praise, the Creed calls us to profess, adore and glorify the Holy Trinity.
The Trinity is a mystery of our faith, that which draws us in closer to God in faith. As each of us in our lives of conversion turn toward the Lord in humility, acknowledging Him at all times, we learn that it takes more than acknowledgement in order for our faith to bear fruit. The Catechism teaches us the importance of Baptism as a profession of faith throughout our lives, more than a mere cognizance or one time action: “Those who belong to Christ through faith and Baptism must confess their baptismal faith before men.” Each of us personally confesses the faith in Baptism, thus the new translation of the Creed uses the English cognate “confess” from the Latin confessio. We must not only be aware of our faith, but also be willing to live it each day of our lives. This includes standing up for the Catholic faith of one another, much like our godparents did for us in Baptism.
This Incarnate Word, Jesus--miraculously bore by the Virgin Mary, and resurrected in utmost glory--grants us the faith we profess. This faith as Catholics allows us personally to trust God in every circumstance. With this confidence and our sins forgiven, we can proclaim our fiat, “Amen, I believe,” allowing full credence for us to look forward to the resurrection of the dead and the life of the world to come.
Nicene Creed (con’t) - Latin
Qui propter nos hómines et propter nostram salútem
Descéndit de cælis.
Et incarnátus est de Spíritu Sancto
Ex María Vírgine, et homo factus est.
Crucifíxus étiam pro nobis sub Póntio Piláto; Passus, et sepúltus est,
Et resurréxit tértia die, secúndum Scriptúras,
Et ascéndit in cælum, sedet ad déxteram Patris.
Et íterum ventúrus est cum glória
Iudicáre vivos et mórtuos,
Cuius regni non erit finis.
Et in Spíritum Sanctum, Dóminum et vivificántem: Qui ex Patre Filióque procédit.
Qui cum Patre et Fílio simul adorátur et conglorificátur: Qui locútus est per prophétas.
Et unam, sanctam, cathólicam et apostólicam Ecclésiam. Confíteor unum baptísma in remissiónem peccatorum.
Et expecto resurrectionem mortuorum, Et vitam ventúri sæculi. Amen.
For us men and for our salvation he came down from heaven: by the power of the Holy Spirit he was born of the Virgin Mary, and became man.
For our sake he was crucified under Pontius Pilate;
he suffered, died, and was buried. On the third day he rose again in fulfillment of 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.
We believe in the Holy Spirit,
the Lord, the giver of life, who proceeds from the Father and the Son. With the Father and the Son
he is worshipped and glorified.
He has spoken through the Prophets.
We believe in one holy catholic
and apostolic Church.
We acknowledge one baptism
for the forgiveness of sins.
We look for the resurrection
of the dead, and the life of the world to come. Amen.
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.
And 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.
And 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.