Wednesday, September 11, 2013

Catholic 101: I believe...

Catholic 101

Today, 12 years after the attacks on the World Trade Center and the Pentagon, we are praying for all the people who gave their lives to help, and those whose lives are still affected by this tragedy. As our country stands on the precipice of yet another war, we pray for peace in Syria, for wisdom for those God has placed as leaders in our country and around the world, and especially for the next generation - for those people we are raising right now - that they would be a generation of peacemakers.

These two little words would have been easy to skip on my way to what seem like meatier sections of the Creed, but without these words, none of the rest of it would matter. Without "I believe," a list of the tenets of a faith as beautiful as ours would be just that: a list.

I tend to take belief for granted. I was raised believing in God. My parents encouraged me to see His fingerprints in every corner of the world I lived in, taught me how to talk to Him and lean on Him when I was hurting, to praise Him when I was joyful. I am deeply grateful that I have felt the presence of God so closely for my entire life. On my journey toward the Catholic Church, as I read books that made me question many of my assumptions about faith, I felt God nudging me closer to Him, closer to the truth.

We are each created with an instinctive drive to search for the ultimate meaning of life. God reveals Himself to us, and we respond in faith: "I believe." Here's the tricky part, though: "Whoever says 'I believe' says 'I pledge myself to what we believe" (Catechism of the Catholic Church, 1994 edition, page 51). Belief is not just something you say. It's who you are, and how you live. Every day, the implications of what we believe ripple through every part of our lives. The creed is merely a symbol of a lived reality.

"For by grace you have been saved through faith; and this is not your own doing, it is the gift of God--not because of works, lest any man should boast. For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand, that we should walk in them." -Ephesians 2:8-9

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