LITURGY MATTERS: What we choose to believe?
By Michael McKenna, the Archbishop’s Master of Ceremonies
This Easter we will again be invited to renew our baptismal promises and be sprinkled with the Easter water blessed at the Paschal Vigil. In some parishes, the Easter water will also baptise those who at the Rite of Election ceremony, on the First Sunday of Lent, committed to a life-changing choice to become missionary disciples of Jesus Christ and be welcomed into the Church.
In the Easter liturgy the Profession of Faith or the Creed is replaced by a dialogue or series of questions that refresh those assurances made at Baptism that the Christian faith has been received, understood, and affirmed. So too, in our Sunday liturgy and on Solemnities, the Creed is situated in the liturgy as our response to the Word of God and a confirmation by us that what has been spoken by God through Holy Scripture has been received and understood. A response of faith.
Through the Creed, the body of Christ, the Church, repeats back to God what has been revealed to her over the centuries and held by those who prayed before us, what we live today, and what we will pass on to those who will pray after us. We express our faith in the Holy Trinity, in the divinity and salvation brought by Jesus Christ, and in His Church. We acknowledge the role of each Person of the Trinity in our salvation. We recall principal figures of salvation history, from Mary to Pontius Pilate and affirm our faith in the history to come, and what will come at the end of all history.
The Creed is a humbling statement of belief. Though a communal act in the liturgy which recalls a series of events directed to a singular purpose, at a deeper personal level, in reciting the Creed we are owning the history of our salvation and the salvation of all those who we hold dear. Owning in one collective expression of belief what God has done for each of us individually, which is why we recite the Creed in the first person singular: “I believe in one God…”
While for seasoned Catholics the Profession of Faith rolls off the tongue, this Easter as we exclaim our Alleluia, let us reflect more deeply on that which we profess to believe. Let the magnitude of what God has done for you and those dear to you really sink in. And with renewed vigour and purpose of heart begin again… I Believe!