All of us experienced a shock this past week, “like a lightning bolt in a clear blue sky” as Cardinal Angelo Scola put it, when Pope Benedict humbly announced his resignation. I don’t have anything profound to say. However, I wish to express my personal gratitude for Pope Benedict XVI and my ongoing prayers for him and the Church at this time, confident that the Holy Spirit is mightily working.
Moreover, as a way of honoring Pope Benedict and his legacy, I would like to offer you a brief series of reflections on the Apostles Creed. This series serves two purposes. First, it is an opportunity, during this year of faith, to reflect more deeply on the fundamental content of our faith. Second, I would like these reflections to serve as an introduction to a future series on Human Formation. Human formation is a hot topic for religious orders, seminaries and lay communities of all sorts these days. The Church clearly teaches that grace builds on nature, and, therefore, if grace is to be effective in the lives of disciples, their human nature needs to be understood so that it can heal, develop and become more open to grace. Yet, to understand our human nature, we need to begin with God, who gifted us with it in the first place. Therefore, we begin with the Creed.
These reflections are not my own. They were developed by a priest I know as part of a dialogue with a young woman returning to the faith. They speak powerfully of the steadfast and personal love of God for each one of us, something Pope Benedict proclaimed time and time again.
At the beginning of each reflection I will place the particular article of the Creed at the top, followed by the reflection. Let us begin! Enjoy and be edified!
I believe in one God, the Father Almighty, the maker of heaven and earth.
You have a Father in heaven, God, who created you. Even before the world began to exist, God your eternal Father thought of you, knew you, loved you, wanted you, and brought you into being. Your life is from Him. Although you need not have existed, He wanted you to exist, and therefore you do exist. Your life was given to you so that you might come to know how much He loves you and to love him in return. You are precious in His eyes. You are priceless to Him. For you are made in his image and likeness. When your eternal Father looks upon you He loves what He sees. He rejoices at the sight of you. Although you do not comprehend how much he loves you and adores you, He has provided a way for you to come to know His incredible love for you. What you are reading is a step on that way.
To be continued…
God bless you all,
Fr. Isaac Mary Spinharney, CFR
St. Joseph Friary