Porta Fidei 9: Liturgy and Creed

Liturgy is intended to be a major focus on the Year of Faith:

9. We want this Year to arouse in every believer the aspiration to profess the faith in fullness and with renewed conviction, with confidence and hope. It will also be a good opportunity to intensify the celebration of the faith in the liturgy, especially in the Eucharist, which is “the summit towards which the activity of the Church is directed; … and also the source from which all its power flows.”[Sacrosanctum Concilium 10] At the same time, we make it our prayer that believers’ witness of life may grow in credibility. To rediscover the content of the faith that is professed, celebrated, lived and prayed,[Cf. Fidei Depositum 116] and to reflect on the act of faith, is a task that every believer must make (her or) his own, especially in the course of this Year.

Not without reason, Christians in the early centuries were required to learn the creed from memory. It served them as a daily prayer not to forget the commitment they had undertaken in baptism. With words rich in meaning, Saint Augustine speaks of this in a homily on the redditio symboli, the handing over of the creed: “the symbol of the holy mystery that you have all received together and that today you have recited one by one, are the words on which the faith of Mother Church is firmly built above the stable foundation that is Christ the Lord. You have received it and recited it, but in your minds and hearts you must keep it ever present, you must repeat it in your beds, recall it in the public squares and not forget it during meals: even when your body is asleep, you must watch over it with your hearts.”[Sermo 215:1]

The presentation of the Creed is an important minor rite in RCIA. Remember, the Church prefers to celebrate this rite publicly (RCIA 157). There are many suggestions afloat for the Year of Faith, but one I have not seen is the making of the Presentation of the Creed (during the first week of Lent) into an event with a higher profile. Even for a parish without catechumens, the ritual Mass for the presentation of the Creed might be a possible celebration to consider.

Here is the prayer over the Elect after the presentation of the Creed:

Lord, eternal source of light, justice, and truth,
take under your tender care
your servants N and N.

Purify them and make them holy;
give them true knowledge, sure hope, and sound understanding,
and make them worthy
to receive the grace of baptism.

We ask this through Christ our Lord.

Slightly adapted, this would be an apt prayer for any gathering of believers.

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About catholicsensibility

Todd and his family live in Ames, Iowa. He serves a Catholic parish of both Iowa State students and town residents.
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