The third part of the Creed
In both the creeds that are part of the celebration of Mass – the Apostles’ Creed and the Nicene Creed – the third section begins: ‘I believe in the Holy Spirit….’.
In the Apostles’ Creed, we have a simpler formula which reads: ‘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.’
In the Nicene Creed, which was formulated later, we find the following: ‘I believe in the Holy Spirit, the Lord, the giver of life, who proceeds from the Father and the Son, who with the Father and the Son is adored and glorified, who has spoken through the prophets. I believe in one, holy, catholic and apostolic Church. I confess one baptism for the forgiveness of sins and I look forward to the resurrection of the dead and the life of the world to come.’
The reason for the additions to this longer Creed was that in the course of the fourth and fifth centuries, there were groups who denied the divinity of the Holy Spirit or who saw the Spirit as independent of the Father and the Son.
The creeds do not try to express every aspect of the Christian Faith. Rather they seek to express its core, the source from which everything else arises. And so each creed expresses faith in Christ and his mystery and in the mystery of the Trinity: Father, Son and Holy Spirit.
Then in the third part that we are about to concentrate on, we find faith expressed in the Church, in baptism, in forgiveness, in the resurrection promised to us and the new life to come.
Over the coming weeks we will look at these aspects of the Christian Faith.
By Fr Frank O’Loughlin