Do You Believe?
If you attend Mass frequently, or at least once a week, you are probably very familiar with what comes next. Both the Nicene Creed and the Apostles Creed provide a brief yet powerful summary of the truths of our faith. Although there can be a temptation to devalue a word due to overuse of it, the words “I believe” are powerful enough to withstand such a devaluation.
What Does it Mean to Believe?
When one says “I believe” and then stops, people are curious to listen. They want to find out what this person believes. Because that belief is part of that which can define that person. As the Catholic Encyclopedia puts it: Belief is “that state of the mind by which it assents to propositions, not by reason of their intrinsic evidence, but because of authority.”
Why say “I believe” as opposed to
- “I know”
- “I feel”
- “I think”
Because belief allows us to have a foundation on which to base other beliefs, it is a firm hold of ourselves rooted in a set of precepts that guide us in life and force us to reflect on our actions in relation to our beliefs.
Creating a Powerful Echo
That is why the Creed is so powerful. As a community, we are echoing together a set of precepts that guide our hearts and move us to be united as one Body in Christ. As the Catechism of the Catholic Church states:
“Whoever says “I believe” says “I pledge myself to what we believe.” Communion in faith needs a common language of faith, normative for all and uniting all in the same confession of faith.” (no. 185)
Belief and faith:
“You believe that God is one. You do well. Even the demons believe that and tremble.” (James 2:19)
If belief can be seen as an intellectual ascent, faith is seen as a spiritual ascent.
Fr. Mike Schmitz said,
“once that there is a distinction being believing in God and believing God.”
To trust in God is to connect our belief in Him with our faith that He will be with us always, it is to trust in His love and Mercy.
I believe in God, and I have faith that He is good.
Belief and Faith
This is similar to my faith journey.
Growing up, I became very involved in apologetics, the study of defending your faith. I would research scripture passages, quotes, and arguments, not for my faith life, but to show how someone else was wrong.
Although I had a lot of knowledge about my faith, and I believed it fully, I wasn’t as faithful to my beliefs. I hadn’t developed that trust in God even as I was busy trying to defend the truth of His existence to others.
It was only in college, through the wonder of Eucharistic Adoration, that my faith grew to match my beliefs. Even though each day is a journey, I can say I believe… and I have faith.
“Faith is to believe what you do not see; the reward of this faith is to see what you believe.” – St. Augustine
Let us continue to grow together as we work to see the truth and the beauty in the words “I believe.”
Daniel Quintero is a newlywed husband, writer, and avid karaoke singer. He currently attends Prince of Peace Catholic Church where he volunteers in the lector ministry and with faith formation. His favorite motto: “Awkwardness does not exist.”
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