RCIA Session The Creed God the Father-14

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The Creed: God, the Father - I believe in God, the Father almighty, creator of Heaven and Earth.

February 3, 2014 - Beth Berard

Opening Prayer

  • Readings
  • Exodus 3:1-10
    • Psalm 145:8-21 – “The Lord is gracious and merciful…slow to anger and abounding in mercy.”
    • Ephesians 1:3-10
    • Luke 12:22-33
  • Our Father Prayer

Content

4 pillars of the Catholic Church: faith, sacraments, commandments, and prayer - CCC 2558 - The stool that the Church stands upon. Summary of the Catechism

“I believe in God, the Father almighty, creator of Heaven and Earth.”

Creed – important because it is truth. Pilate “what is truth?” He was truly seeking truth and we all seek truth as people. The purpose of the creed is to express truth and truth is the life and the food for our soul. We start with the creed so that we can know what we believe before we learn how to live our life in Christ. - Apostles Creed: attributed to the teachings of the Apostles - Nicene Creed: produced by the Council of Nicea (325). A man named Arius denied the divinity of Christ (heresy). The Church announced that Jesus is consubstantial – “one in being with the Father”. o 381 – Council of Constantinople expanded the Creed to define the divinity of the Holy Spirit. Introduced to the Mass in ~500 A.D.

John 18:38 – Pilate asks Jesus, “What is truth?” - Pilate was really seeking the truth and we all desire to seek the truth. - The purpose of the Creed is to express truth and this truth is the life and the food of our soul. - We have to know what we believe before we learn how to live our life in Christ – morals, commandments, building our relationship with Christ, deeper teachings, etc. Exodus 3 - God is not removed from the people. Not oblivious to what is really happening. Knows the difficulties that the Israelites are having in slavery in Egypt. He has heard their cry. He cares for them and he will do something about it.

Psalm – mercy and tenderness of God. God is merciful and tender.

Ephesians – God had a plan through Jesus before the world began. Before we were created. He would use the Church to bring life to the people. (Ephesians 1:4)

Luke – We see how the Father cares for us. “Do not be afraid any longer, little flock, for your Father is pleased to give you the Kingdom.” - Jesus came to make known the Father to us. - We can find our identity in Him and we can experience real freedom, which is what God the Father wants for us. We are given a unique dignity from God that he would send his Son to die for our sins. - Example of Moses in Exodus 3 (Prototype) - Jesus comes in request of the Father to be able to die for us so that we are forgiven. Think about it – if there is no right or wrong (justice), then we can have no mercy.

“I believe in God, the Father almighty, creator of Heaven and Earth.”

We are joining the faith of the Church when we recite the Faith. Our belief is supported by the rest of the Church. - “Look not on our sins, but on the faith of your Church, and grant us the peace and unity of your kingdom where you live for ever and ever.”


“I believe in God, the Father almighty, creator of Heaven and Earth.”

How do we know that God exists? (reason, revelation, and tradition) - “Fides et ratio” (Faith and Reason) by Pope John Paul II - “Faith and reason are like two wings on which the human spirit rises to the contemplation of truth; and God has placed on the human heart the desire to know the truth – in a word, to know himself – so that by knowing and loving God, men and women can come to the fullness of the truth about themselves” (n.1) - Faith is man’s obedient response to God’s revelation - Reason: man can know that God exists by reflecting on creation, and relies on others as a source of knowledge.

“I believe in God, the Father almighty, creator of Heaven and Earth.”

- We address God as Father: that is at the heart of what Jesus reveals.

- Jesus calls us to call God “Abba” (Mark 14:36, Romans 8:15, Galatians 4:6) – intimacy and familiarity with God. Jesus reveals his relationship with God by calling him “Abba” and shows us how we’re to have a relationship with God.

- The word “Father” is mentioned in the Gospels 170 times alone. This is really showing that God is revealing himself through Jesus.

- Exodus 3: God is not removed from us or oblivious to our needs. He comes to us because He cares.

- The father and mother in a family stand for origin and authority; protective and supportive. Jesus Christ shows us what God the Father is really like “He who has seen me has seen the Father” (John 14:9)

- Parable of the Prodigal Son – Jesus addresses the most profound human longings of a merciful father. (Luke 15:11-32)

- Matthew 18: Parable of the Lost Sheep

“I believe in God, the Father almighty, creator of Heaven and Earth.”

- Out of all of the characteristics of God, this is the only one that is used in the Creed. I thought it was interesting that this is the only phrase used.

- Almighty is used right away in the Creed. When you hear “almighty” you think a negative connotation (dictator, mean, out of get you, etc.).

- The CCC says that this is great significance in our life. If we do not believe that God is almighty, then you cannot believe in his existence at all. Why would you want to follow that someone that doesn’t have the power or ability? OT filled with references to this. God was seen as an almighty, powerful God.

- Job refers to the Father as “in whom should one take refuge, if not in him who can do all things?” It makes sense that God would be almighty. It can’t be separated from his goodness – he is the source of all consolation in this world where horrible things are happening.

- “For God, nothing will be impossible” – Luke 1:37

Other characteristics of God:

Eternal – He is existence – he is the simplest form of matter. He exists. “I am who am”. He is always. He keeps everything going through his present

Infinite – all knowing, all powerful. Absolute fullness of being, meaning his perfect. No limitations. There is nothing that he doesn’t know. We operate in time; God doesn’t. It’s hard to see that with our finite minds.

Unchangeable – he doesn’t need our love. There is nothing that he can’t acquire that he doesn’t already have nor can he lose anything that he doesn’t already have. God is unchangeable.

Transcendent – surpasses all other being. Doesn’t even exist in this world – higher than us

Incomprehensible – God is not limited in any way.

What does this mean for us? - God cannot do anything that would deny his nature of who he is. He cannot do anything that is not what he is. He can’t tell a lie, he can’t act in a contradictory manner or change his mind.

- He cannot create anyone with a purpose of making them unhappy.

- He can’t create anything that is in opposition to who he is. That is important for us to understand. When we look at him as a merciful God – each one of us is good! God cannot create something that is not good. That is what our identity is. He didn’t create us to increase his happiness (He can’t be change – happy as can be). He did it show his goodness by all of these things that he created. He wants us not because he needs us, but that he loves us.

- He gives without expecting anything in return – that is what we are called to do as well. He cannot disappoint us because he is Love. If we truly give our life to the Lord, we will not be disappointed.

“I believe in God, the Father almighty, creator of Heaven and Earth.” - God created the world out of nothing. There was a beginning to the world – God didn’t have to create the world, but he did out of love. [Ephesians 1:4]

- Evolution: church is open to evolution. Church says (origin of man) – person with mind and intellect that God put the spirit into it. Viewed from a Christian perspective, evolution takes place as God’s continuous creation in natural processes.

- “We are not some casual and meaningless product of evolution. Each of us is the result of a thought of God. Each of is willed, each of us loved, each of us is necessary.” (Pope Benedict XVI, April 24, 2005)

- The creation account is not a scientific model for explaining the beginning or the world. "God created the world" is a theological statement that is concerned with the relation of the world to God.

- God willed the world; he sustains it and will perfect it. Being created is a lasting quality in things and the fundamental truth about them.


references/sources

  • CCC Part One (Paragraph 198 and on)
  • US Catholic Catechism for Adults Cpapt. 5
  • Fides et ratio John Paul II, (recommended) overview article
  • Bolt, Robert. A Man for All Seasons. NY: Vintage International, 1990. ACT II.
  • Dulles, Avery. Newman (from Outstanding Christian Thinkers Series), NY: Continuum, 2002. p.50.
  • Reasons to Believe, Hahn Chapter 2 - Ours to Reason Why.
  • Pieper, Josef. Faith Hope and Love. San Francisco: Ignatius Press, 1997.
  • Tanner, Norman P. The Councils of the Church. NY: The Crossroad Publishing Company, 2001. Pp 21-25.