I Believe in One God
Cf. Catechism of the Catholic Church, 185-231
February 10, 2013 I Believe in One God
Cf. Catechism of the Catholic Church, 185-231
Peter recognizes the divinity of Jesus, and naturally he falls down and worships him: "Go away from me, Lord, for I am a sinful man". The true knowledge of God has consequences for our life. It is not something we learn only to know more, but to love more, to live better.
This is the reason why we are talking about the Catechism, and this is particularly the reason why today we will talk about God, the beginning of the Creed. "I believe in God". I will first talk about the creed in general, then we will move to what we believe about our God, and finally what are the consequences for our life.
1) Why do we express our faith in formulae, like the Creed, for example?
Because "From the beginning, the apostolic Church expressed and handed on her faith in brief formulae normative for all". Rom 10:9 "If you confess with your mouth, "Jesus is Lord," and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved". 1Co 15:3-5 "For what I received I passed on to you as of first importance: that Christ died for our sins according to the Scriptures, that he was buried, that he was raised on the third day according to the Scriptures, and that he appeared to Peter, and then to the Twelve." (186). Also, because "This synthesis of faith (the creed) was not made to accord with human opinions, but rather what was of the greatest importance was gathered from all the Scriptures, to present the one teaching of the faith in its entirety" (186).
"Our profession of faith begins with God, for God is the First and the Last,ÿThe beginning and the end of everything." (198).
2) What do we believe about God?
"God is unique; there is only one God" (200). Jesus himself affirms that God is "the one Lord" [.] at the same time Jesus gives us to understand that he himself is "the Lord"" [Mark 12:35-37 "Since David himself called the Messiah 'my Lord,' how can the Messiah be his son?"]ÿ (202). Our faith in Jesus as Lord and in God the Holy Spirit is not in opposition to our faith in only one God.
God revealed his name to let us know who he is. By revealing his name he wanted in some way to give himself to us, to make himself available for a personal relationship with him. By his revelation we know him as the "living God" and the "God of our fathers" (cf. 205). But he also gave us his proper name: "I am who I am". This mysterious name shows us that he is a hidden God, "infinitely above everything that we can understand or say" (206). It shows us also that God is always there, he IS, he is present to save us. It is like a loving person who says to us: "I will be always there when you need me".
The greatness and the mystery of God move us to a great reverence in front of his Majesty, but at the same time to a great confidence. How can we be reverent and at the same time confident? We are confident not because God is just a "good fellow", or less important. Our confidence is because God forgives us and loves us. "The divine name, "I Am" or "He Is", expresses God's faithfulness: despite the faithlessness of men's sin and the punishment it deserves, he keeps "steadfast love for thousand generations"". He IS, he remains faithful.
Because God is creator, God is immutable. "He transcends the world and history. He made heaven and earth: "They will perish, but you endure; they will all wear out like a garment....but you are the same, and your years have no end." (Psalm 102:27-28). In God "there is no change or shadow of variation."" (James 1:17). "God is the fullness of Being and of every perfection, without origin and without end. All creatures receive all that they are and have from him; but he alone is his very being, and he is of himself everything that he is".
God is truth, because he "is light" (1John 1:5). "The Son of God has come and has given us understanding, to know him who is true" (1Jn 5:20). "God is love" (1John 4:8.16). "God's very being is love [.] God himself is an eternal exchange of love, Father, Son and Holy Spirit, and he has destined us to share in that exchange".
3) What are the consequences of all this for our daily life?
Believing in God, the only One, and loving him with all our being has enormous consequences for our whole life. It means coming to know God's greatness and majesty; it means to "serve God first". It means living in thanksgiving: if God is the only One, everything we are and have comes from him: "What have you that you did not receive?" (cf. 222-224). "It means knowing the unity and true dignity of all men and women: everyone is made in the image and likeness of God" (225). "It means making good use of created things: faith in God, the only One, leads us to use everything that is not God only insofar as it brings us closer to him, and to detach ourselves from it insofar as it turns us away from him:
My Lord and my God, take from me everything that distances me from you.
My Lord and my God, give me everything that brings me closer to you
My Lord and my God, detach me from myself to give my all to you" (226).
"It means trusting God in every circumstance, even in adversity. A prayer of St. Teresa of Jesus wonderfully expresses this trust:
Let nothing trouble you
Let nothing frighten you
Everything passes / God never changes
Patience / Obtains all things
Whoever has God / Wants for nothing
God alone is enough" (227).
May God grant us that we may live as we believe. May God grant us a deep knowledge of the greatness of our God, so that we may love him above all things.