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The central prayer for this Year of Faith is the Profession of Faith we call the Creed. The Creed is a brief formula by which the apostolic Church expressed and handed on her faith.  But it is more than that. Expressing and proclaiming what we, together, believe, the Creed draws us together in a communion of faith. As we profess our faith, we have the privilege of standing alongside the great witnesses to our faith through the past 2000 years: people like St. Paul, St. Augustine, St. Monica, St. Benedict, St. Athanasius, St. Edith Stein, St. Dominic, St. Francis, St. John Bosco, St. Francis Xavier, St. Thomas Aquinas, St. Thérèse, St. Bernadette, St. Gianna, Blessed Teresa of Calcutta, and Blessed John Paul II, to name just a few from so many walks of life. When we say, “I believe,” we are really saying, “I pledge myself to what we believe.” (cf. CCC 185)

The Catechism of the Catholic Church explains the origin of the Creed using these words: “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 the New Testaments” (CCC 186).

The Creed summarizes the faith that Christian profess. We recite a Creed—the Nicene or the Apostles’—at each Sunday’s Celebration of the Eucharist. Like the early Christians, we probably recite it from memory. The Creed, however, is not meant to be rattled off as an ending to the homily. It represents also a commitment. Saint Augustine speaks of the Creed thus: “You have received it and recited it, but in your minds and hearts you must keep it ever present, you must repeat it in your beds, recall it in the public squares and not forget it during meals: even when your body is asleep, you must watch over it with your hearts” (Porta Fidei, no. 9).

To profess “I believe” flows from the journey of faith we make throughout our lives. On this journey, the action of God’s grace transforms us in ways that make it possible for us even to act in faith. We become able to “see” with the “eyes of faith,” and we take our place in the unfolding drama of salvation. Finally, we confess this faith with our lips, publicly standing with the Lord and living in and through him.

Pope Benedict XVI advises: “During this time we will need to keep our gaze fixed upon Jesus Christ, the ‘pioneer and perfecter of our faith’ (Heb 12:2): in him, all the anguish and all the longing of the human heart finds fulfillment. The joy of love, the answer to the drama of suffering and pain, the power of forgiveness in the face of an offence received and the victory of life over the emptiness of death: all this finds fulfillment in the mystery of his Incarnation, in his becoming man, in his sharing our human weakness so as to transform it by the power of his resurrection. In him who died and rose again for our salvation, the examples of faith that have marked these two thousand years of our salvation history are brought into the fullness of light” (Porta Fidei, 13).

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