Wednesday, February 10, 2010

The Apostle's Creed

Prayers of the Rosary

The second prayer of the Rosary is the Apostle's Creed.  It is said only once.

The words are as follows:
I believe in God, the Father Almighty, Creator of Heaven and earth; 
and in Jesus Christ, His only Son Our Lord, 
Who was conceived by the Holy Spirit, born of the Virgin Mary,
suffered under Pontius Pilate, was crucified, died, and was buried. 
He descended into Hell;
the third day He rose again from the dead; 
He ascended into Heaven, and sits at the right hand of God, the Father almighty;
from thence He shall come to judge the living and the dead.
I believe 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 Catechism of the Catholic Church has this to say about the Apostle's Creed at 194, as quoted from EWTN here:
"The Apostles' Creed is so called because it is rightly considered to be a faithful summary of the apostles' faith. It is the ancient baptismal symbol of the Church of Rome. Its great authority arises from this fact: it is 'the Creed of the Roman Church, the See of Peter, the first of the apostles, to which he brought the common faith." 
From the same site, St. Ambrose is quoted:
"This Creed is the spiritual seal, our heart's meditation and an ever-present guardian; it is, unquestionably, the treasure of our soul."
So, we move into the heart of the Rosary by praying a mini Apostle's Creed with the Sign of the Cross, and then follow up with the whole enchilada.

Though the actual date of origin of this prayer is hard to find, it is clear that it has been in fundamental existence since the early days of the Church.  One tradition states that the 12 Apostles provided one article each of the 12 in the Creed as early as at Pentecost.  Does it matter really how or when this revelation came to be, as long as it came to be?  It is called the Apostle's Creed because it summaries the faith of those first Apostles of the Christian faith.

If you look back above to the prayer, you can see that I separated it into the 12 Articles of Faith that are contained therein.

This beautiful prayer joins us to all Christians in the world, going back as far as the Apostles.  There is a history of the actual words evolving, but this is the essence of our faith, that most of us say in our weekly Celebration of the Eucharist, and here too, in the Rosary.

The Apostle's Creed  highlights a major focus of the Rosary.  The Rosary is by and large a small instruction manual in the faith.  We have already seen how the Sign of the Cross serves that function in its simplicity, but depth.

As a Catholic, I believe that praying the Rosary daily draws me ever deeper into the faith of our fathers, and closer to He who is the author of that faith, our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ.

1 comment:

JOSHUA said...


It IS a beautiful prayer, isn't it? I love reading a familiar prayer like this - by pure chance. I read it and see it with "new" eyes - and hopefully a deeper understanding - and continue my day feeling a little lighter for the spiritual boost!

Thank you!