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The Profession of Faith
Life in Christ
Pope John Paul II
faith, man completely submits his intellect and his will to God. With his
whole being man gives his assent to God the revealer. Sacred Scripture
calls this human response to God the author of revelation, 'the obediance
of faith'. Abraham was the model of this obedience to faith and the Virgin
Mary is the perfect embodiment. The Old Testament is rich in testomies
of faith and the New Testament shows us how Mary welcomed the tidings of
the Archangel Gabriel, believing that 'nothing is impossible with God'.
Throughout her life and until the final ordeal when Her Son died on the
Cross, Mary never once lost faith and the fulfilment of God's Word.
Faith is an adherence of man to God and is also the free assent to the whole truth that God has revealed. Christian faith differs from our faith in any human person because it is right and just to place complete faith in God and believe absolutely in what He says but futile to do so in a human being. Because we believe in God we also believe in the One He sent. Jesus Christ is God, the Word Made Flesh and within Him is the Holy Spirit, the spirit of all three. The faith of the Trinity - Father, Son and Holy Spirit, Three in One.
Faith is a gift from God, a supernatural virtue infused by Him, yet given to man through the grace of God and the Holy Spirit, who moves the heart and converts it to God, who opens the eyes of the mind and 'makes it easy for all to accept and believe the truth'. Faith is also a human act. Trusting God and holding onto the truths He has revealed is part of human reason and human freedom. In faith the human intellect and will cooperate with divine grace. We are moved to believe because God can neither deceive nor be deceived.
Faith is certain, above all that of human knowledge, because it is founded on the very word given to us by God, who cannot lie. Faith seeks understanding, leaving the believer with a thirst to know better the One in whom he has put his faith, and a clearer understanding of the revelations given by Him. The more penetrating knowledge will yield a greater faith, opening the 'eyes of the heart'. It is a clearer understaning of God's plan for us and the mysteries of our connection with Christ and with each other.
Because the things of the world and the things of faith derive from the same God, there can never be any real discrepency between faith and reason. Since the same God bestowed man with reason and faith they are mutually compatible, coming from God, who can never deny Himself. The humble and perservering investigator of nature is being led by God in spite of himself, for it is God who made them what they are.
The act of faith is a free act., never against man's will. God calls man to serve Him through conscious decision not through coercion. evident by Christ who called invited people to faith and conversion. Believing in Christ and all He taught is necessary for our salvation since without faith it is impossible to please God or attain eternal life. Perserverance in faith is necessary in order to hold onto the priceless gift of faith and can be easily lost by rejecting conscience. It must be continually nourished by the Word of God and the Sacraments left to us by His Divine Son, Jesus Christ.
Faith gives us a glimpse of what is before us, the beatific vision, the goal of our lifely journey. Often that faith brings us through times of dark periods in life and it acts as a beacon, a lighthouse, an anchor to hold on to. Our experiences of evil, injustice and death seem to contradict the good news of the Word and can lead us away from the focus on God's promises. In times like these we turn to the witnesses of faith, Abraham, Mary, the saints who have gone before us.
Faith is not an isolated act, no one can believe alone, just as no one can live alone. Faith is passed on by others just as faith is passed on by us, and it is the faith of others that feeds our faith and helps us to feed others in turn. The body of faith is the Church and it is through the Church that we receive faith and new life in Christ through Baptism, our pathway to eternal life. Salvation comes from God alone but because we receive the faith required for that salvation from the Church, she is our mother and therefore the teacher of the faith.
The Church, the 'pillar and bulwark', of the faith, faithfully guards 'the faith which was once for all delivered to the saints'. She guards the memory of Christ's words and has handed down the apostles' confession of faith. Through the centuries, through the many different cultures, nations, languages, the Church has constantly confessed this one true faith, received from the one Lord, transmitted through one Baptism and grounded in the conviction and truths held by all the people of God since Christ. Regardless of all the differences between man and his place, the Tradition has held true, constant and solid the same way of salvation offered to man by God through His Divine Son.
We profess our faith through the creeds handed on by the Apostles and the symbols of faith that they initiated. Baptism is the first profession of faith, given in the name of the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit - the Creator, the Redeemer and the Source of our Sanctification.
We profess our faith through the Apostle's Creed, the oldest Roman Catechism, and through the Nicene Creed from the great Churches of both east and west.
In the Apostle' Creed we profess our faith in God the Father Almighty creator of heaven and earth,
The Nicene Creed extends that faith our belief in - the One God, the Father Almighty, maker of heaven and earth, of all that is seen and unseen.
In the Apostle's Creed we state our simple faith in Jesus Christ, conceived by the Holy Spirit and born of the Virgin Mary.
The Nicene Creed deepens that faith to include 'we believe in one Lord, Jesus Christ, eternally begotten of the Father, God from God, Light from Light, true God from true God, begotten not made, of one Being with the Father. Through Him all things were made. For us men He came down from heaven; by the Power of the Holy Spirit He became incarnate of the Virgin Mary and became man.
In the Apostles Creed we state that Christ suffered under Pontius Pilate, was crucified and was buried; that He decended to the dead and that on the third day He rose again. He ascended into heaven and is seated at the right hand of God. He will come again to judge the living and the dead.
In the Nicene Creed we acknowledge Christ's suffering for us and our belief of all that the Scriptures told us about His death and resurrection - 'for our sake He was crucified under Pontius Pilate and was buried. On the third day He rose again according to 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 - our belief in God's never-ending plan of salvation for all.
In the Apostle's Creed we profess our belief in the Holy Spirit, the holy catholic church, the communion of saints, the forgiveness of sins, the resurrection of the body and life everlasting.
The Nicene Creed deepens that declaration of faith by stating - we believe in the Holy Spirit, the Lord and Giver of Life, who proceds from the Father and the Son, with the Father and the Son He is worshipped and glorified. He has spokken through the prophets. We believe in one holy catholic apostolic church. We acknowledge one baptism for the forgiveness of sins. We look forward to the resurrection of the dead and the life of the world to come.
The catholic church is that universal church handed down to all Christians by the Apostles and loyal to all the truths and teachings of the Apostles, carrying on the Sacraments as given to the Apostles by Jesus Christ. The sacrament of Baptism, of the Forgiveness of sins, of the Eucharist, of Confirmation by the Holy Spirit, of the sanctity of Marriage before God, of the Ordination of men to Holy Priesthood, of praying for the Sick and Dying.
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