[I believe in] the Holy Catholic Church
Happy Easter! Since Jesus rose, we can assemble as the Church – God’s people gathered by His Word and nourished by the Body of Christ to become His Body. Jesus’ death & resurrection fulfill His words & actions that founded the Church. Blood & water flowed from His pierced side symbolizing the Church’s origin & growth.
The Church is catholic, meaning universal, because she possesses the fullness of Christ’s presence & the means of salvation, and is sent out to impart this fullness to all peoples of all times.
Though we are imperfect, the Church is holy by virtue of the Holy Spirit, who is the source and giver of all holiness. The fathers of the early church said the Church is the place “where the Spirit flourishes.”
Father, may we nourish ourselves with the Eucharist, allow the Holy Spirit to flourish in our lives, and recognize our role in the Church’s mission as bearers of good news. Amen!
[I believe in] the communion of Saints
The term “communion of saints” means sharing in holy things and sharing among holy persons.
What are these holy things we share? The sacraments, charisms, and charity. The sacraments unite the faithful with Jesus & with one another. Charisms, or special abilities from the Holy Spirit, are distributed among all the faithful for the common good. Charity, in this context, refers to a sharing in our spirits: if one member suffers, all suffer together; if one member is honored, all rejoice together. We are one body.
Who are the holy persons with whom we have communion? They are pilgrims on earth, the dead who are being purified, and the blessed in heaven. Together we form one Church, and we believe that in this communion, the merciful love of God and his saints is always attentive to our prayers.
Father, help us to experience communion with the faithful through your sacraments, by sharing our charisms, and by sharing charity. Amen!
[I believe in] the forgiveness of sins
Baptism is the first and chief sacrament of the forgiveness of sins. Yet the grace of Baptism delivers no one from all the weakness of nature. Thus the Church must have some means to forgive sins.
After Jesus rose on Easter Sunday, He instituted the sacrament of Reconciliation giving the apostles the power to forgive sins or to hold them bound. The apostles and their successors carry out this ministry of reconciliation, not only by announcing to men God’s forgiveness merited for us by Christ, but also by calling them to conversion and faith.
There is no offense, however serious, that the Church cannot forgive, provided the sinner’s repentance is honest. Jesus, who died for all men, desires that in His Church the gates of forgiveness should always be open to anyone who turns away from sin.
Father, thank you for forgiving my sins so that I can begin again a life of holiness. Amen!
[I believe in] the resurrection of the body
As we say earlier in the Apostles Creed, we believe in God who is creator of the flesh. We believe in Jesus who became flesh in order to redeem us. We believe that Jesus was the first to rise in the flesh.
As a consequence of original sin, we must suffer bodily death. At death the soul is separated from the body, but in the final resurrection God will give incorruptible life to our body, transformed by reunion with our soul. Just as Christ is risen and lives forever, so all of us will rise at the last day.
Father, we thank you for sending Jesus to redeem us so that, at the end of time we will rise body and soul to be with you for eternity. Amen!
[I believe in] life everlasting
Following Jesus’ example, the Church warns of the “sad and lamentable reality of eternal death”, also called hell. Hell’s freely chosen reality – eternal separation from God – disturbs the soul which can only find in God the life and happiness for which he was created.
The Catholic Church firmly believes and confesses that on the final day of judgment we will all appear in our own bodies before Christ’s tribunal to render an account of our own deeds. Those who die in God’s grace and friendship imperfectly purified, although they are assured of their eternal salvation, undergo a purification after death, so as to achieve the holiness necessary to enter the joy of God.
Once purified, the just will reign with Christ forever, glorified in body and soul, and the material universe itself will be transformed.
Father, thank you for creating & redeeming us! May our daily choices reflect our hope for eternal life in your presence. Amen!