Well, we might answer, the Apostles of course!My thoughts exactly, but how did it come about?
Our common understanding permits us to accept the legend that yes, the 12 Apostles did in fact write the Creed on the day of Pentecost. There being 12 principles in the Creed, it could be assumed that each of the 12 Apostles supplied one of the tenets.
The Apostles’ Creed is used in our Catholic Church, the Anglican Church and many Protestant churches as well. However, it is not recognized in the Eastern Orthodox churches. Again, according to tradition, it was composed by the 12 Apostles. However, it may have actually developed from early interrogations of catechumens preparing to be baptized (interestingly, the Rite of Election and Call to Continuing Conversion, which is a step in those desiring to enter into full communion with the Catholic Church is being celebrated today, March 5, at St. Mary’s Cathedral at 3 p.m.)
The bishop would ask the candidates “Dost thou believe in God the Father almighty?” and so forth continuing with the major Christian beliefs. Answered positively, these statements of faith became a creed. Such creeds were known and still are today as the baptismal creed. The candidates nowadays are generally infants in the Catholic Church and these questions are answered by the parents, godparents and all present at the baptism of a child.
The present text of the Apostles’ Creed is similar to the earlier baptismal creed used by the Roman church in the 3rd and 4th centuries. It reached its final form in France in the late 6th century. It gradually replaced all other baptismal creeds and became the official statement of faith of the entire Catholic Church in the West.
So, the creed that we pray every day has a rich and historical past dating way back to the days of the first Pentecost when the Holy Spirit descended upon the Apostle’s. And it has a rich and fruitful future as new members of the church are baptized.
The Catechism of the Catholic Church says this in article 1274: “This Creed is the spiritual seal, our hearts’ meditation, and our ever present guardian; it is, unquestionably, the treasure of our soul.”
The Nicene Creed, generally prayed during Sunday Mass is the subject for another blog in the future.
Psalm 71 contains this phrase: “Now that I am old and grey-headed, do not forsake me, O God.”
The psalm is the voice of suffering and oppression.
The voice of old age and diminished capacity.
The voice of a lifetime of experiences.
The voice of acknowledging God’s acts of grace throughout life.
It is the lament of an old person who seeks asylum in the temple.
Apparently persecuted by some enemies who say that the afflictions of old age are a sign of some sort of divine judgement. The writer turns to the God of righteousness whose praise he has been singing since he was a small child. He sings now a passionate cry to God, his immovable rock of refuge.
Will God allow this voice of pleading and praise to go silent under the attack of the man’s enemies? The writer/singer knows his voice will be heard and vows to continue the song of praise begun in his youth.
The world sometimes looks at our older generation as being weak, and feeble, and not worth spending time with or on. I beg to differ. My experience with older folks has been quite the opposite. I believe that we can become more faithful and faith-filled as we age.
I wish to acknowledge our retired priests as one great example. I have witnessed priests in their 70s, 80s, and even 90s come to the nursing homes to celebrate the Eucharist with the residents who are hungry for it. They come to bring Jesus to the sick and the lame but also for staff members, family members as well as to the healthier residents in the apartments.
These priests are so dedicated to their ordinations that occurred 40, 50, 60 years or more ago. And they treat everyone with the Love of Christ.
I thank God that we have these wonderful men, “Still green, still full of sap.”
Having recently retired from my duties as chaplain at a St. Cloud nursing home, I have found an old saying to be true: “When people find out you’re retired, your phone will start ringing off the wall!”
Well, the phone is actually still on the wall but one of the calls I received was to ask if I would consider writing for this blog.
I’ve been asked to write a little about our senior population. I have worked with this “greatest generation” for over thirty years now and I have learned so much from them. They are awesome. They are so faithful and faith-filled.
Spirituality takes on a whole new position in our lives when we reach a certain age. When sickness or injury requires nursing home care we tend to take everyday things more seriously. Our faith becomes more of a priority.
I have witnessed many, many life stories over the years and walked with many wonderful golden age persons to the time of their departure from Earth. I’ve prayed with their families as Mom or Dad moved on to heaven, the next step in the journey of life.
I recall one individual, a fine lady in her nineties who was near death after living in the nursing home for a number of years. She was a close acquaintance of a local priest and so she had actually received that wonderful sacrament of the Anointing of the Sick several times over the years. Nevertheless she was alert enough to request that Father come and anoint her one last time — “the Last Rites,” so to speak.
The priest was delayed for some reason and so I was called to come and be with her in her last minutes. She spoke to me quietly of going to see Jesus. I assured her that she was ready to go and that she would be with Jesus in Paradise today. Just before she breathed her last breath, her face lit up and practically glowed. As she looked up at the ceiling, a huge and glorious smile came across her face and I firmly believe it remains there forever. The priest arrived shortly after she passed and remarked, after seeing that smile, “I don’t think she needs anything from me!”