//THE NICENE CREED: A FORTY DAY MEDITATION FOR LENT

THE NICENE CREED: A FORTY DAY MEDITATION FOR LENT

With a few exceptions, Baptism, for example, and where the Apostles’ Creed is a permitted alternative, we say, sing or hear the Nicene Creed at Mass every Sunday or Solemnity. That liturgical repetition allows the words to be embedded in our consciousness, to become part of the fabric of our thought. There is, however, danger in over-familiarity that can result in a mere mechanical recital of words and phrases that almost lose their meaning and impact for us. The Nicene Creed particularly may be prone to that.

It is always useful and salutary, from time to time, to stand back, to reconsider and rediscover their meaning and to refresh our understanding and, so strengthen our faith. So familiar is the text, we forget that it is firmly grounded in Scripture. The Fathers at the Council of Nicaea did not pluck phrases out of the air, they were rooted in the scriptural texts.

This meditation takes the words and phrases of the Creed and provides their scriptural basis and divides the Creed into forty sections suitable for a daily meditation during the Lenten season. There are no further prompts to our consideration and there is no necessity to restrict our meditation to the verses suggested. Some may find it helpful to look beyond the individual verses to the context in which they appear. Some words and phrases have more than one scriptural source and not all need to inform our meditation. It can be tailored to the time and opportunity you have.

The Creed is offered in two forms, in Latin, and in the latest English translation in the Roman Rite. Other translations, BCP, Common Worship, the former ICEL translation may be substituted. Some may prefer “et homo factus est” rendered as “was made man” rather than “became man”. Some may happily welcome back “consubstantial” instead of “of one Being.” No translation is likely to satisfy everybody: chacun à son goût. Similarly, although the scriptural verses here are taken from the Revised Standard Version of the Bible (RSV), which falls between the Jacobean cadences of the Authorised (King James) Bible and the more demotic contemporary renderings, such as the Jerusalem Bible, other, versions may be substituted to satisfy individual tastes.

Whatever resources we choose the common factor is the Nicene Creed as the bedrock, the succinct summary of the faith that binds us within the fold of the Church Catholic and Apostolic.

 

DAY 1

Credo in unum Deum,

I believe in one God,

“He is not God of the dead, but of the living.” [S. Mark 12: 29]

“One God and Father of us all, who is above all and through all and in all.” [Ephesians 4: 6]

 

DAY 2

Patrem omnipotentem,

the Father almighty,

“I will be a father to you, and you shall be my sons and daughters, says the Lord Almighty.” [2 Corinthians 6: 18]

 

DAY 3

factorem caeli et terrae,

maker of heaven and earth,

“In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth.” [Genesis 1: 1]

“Thou didst create all things, and by thy will they existed and were created.” [Revelation 4: 11]

 

DAY 4

visibilium omnium et invisibilium,

of all things visible and invisible.

“For in him all things were created, in heaven and on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or dominations or principalities or authorities – all things were created through him and for him.” [Colossians 1: 16]

“By faith we understand that the world was created by the word of God, so that what is seen was made out of things which do not appear.” [Hebrews 11: 3]

 

DAY 5

Et in unum Dominum Iesum Christum,

I believe in one Lord Jesus Christ,

“For us there is one God, the Father, from whom all things and for whom we exist, and one Lord, Jesus Christ, through whom are all things and through whom we exist.” [1 Corinthians 8: 6]

”One Lord, one faith, one baptism” [Ephesians 4: 5]

 

DAY 6

Filium Dei unigenitum, et ex Patre natum,

born of the Father

“For God so loved the world that he gave his only Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life.” [S. John 3 ; 16]

“And lo, a voice from heaven saying, ‘This is my beloved Son, with whom I am well pleased.” [S. Matthew 3; 17]

 

DAY 7

ante omnia saecula,

before all ages.

“He is the image of the invisible God, the first-born of all creation … He is before all things, and in him all things hold together.” [Colossians 1” 15, 17]

 

DAY 8

Deum de Deo,

God from God,

“In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. He was in the beginning with God.” [S. John 1: 1-2]

 

DAY 9

lumen de Lumine,

Light from Light,

“In him was life, and the life was the light of men … The true light that enlightens every man was coming into the world.” [S. John 1: 4, 9]

DAY 10

Deum verum de Deo vero,

true God from true God,

“And we know that the Son of God has come and has given us understanding, to know him who is true; and we are in him who is true, in his Son Jesus Christ.” [1 John 5: 20]

 

DAY 11

genitum, non factum,

begotten, not made,

“No one has ever seen God; the only Son, who is in the bosom of the Father, he has made him known.” [S. John 1: 18]

 

DAY 12

consubstantialem Patri:

consubstantial with the Father;

“This is the message we have heard from him and proclaim to you, that God is light and in him is no darkness at all.” [1 John 1: 5]

“In him was life, and the life was the light of men … The true light that enlightens every man was coming into the world.” [S. John 1: 4, 9]

 

DAY 13

per quem omnia facta sunt.

through him all things were made.

“All things were made through him, and without him was not anything made that was made.” [S. John 1: 3]

“For in him all things were created, in heaven and on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or dominations or principalities or authorities – all things were created through him and for him.” [Colossians 1: 16]

“For us there is one God, the Father, from whom are all things and for whom we exist, and one Lord, Jesus Christ, through whom are all things and through whom we exist.” [1 Corinthians 8: 6]

“Thou, Lord, didst found the earth in the beginning, and the heavens are the work of thy hands.” [Hebrews 1: 10]

 

DAY 14

Qui propter nos homines et propter nostram salutem

For us men and for our salvation

“She will bear a son, and you shall call his name Jesus, for he will save his people from their sins.” [S. Matthew 1: 21]

“For God has not destined us for wrath, but to obtain salvation through our Lord Jesus Christ.” [1 Thessalonians 5: 9]

“He has delivered us from the dominion of darkness and transferred us to the kingdom of his beloved Son, in whom we have redemption, the forgiveness of sins.” [Colossians 1: 13-14]

 

DAY 15

descendit de caelis.

he came down from heaven,

“No one has ascended into heaven but he who descended from heaven, the Son of Man … He who comes from above is above all; he who is of the earth belongs to the earth, and of the earth he speaks; he who comes from heaven is above all.” [S. John 3: 13, 31]

“For I have come down from heaven, not to do my own will, but the will of him who sent me; and this is the will of him who sent me, that I should lose nothing of all that he has given me, but raise it up at the last day.” [S. John 6: 38]

 

DAY 16

Et incarnatus est de Spiritu Sancto ex Maria Virgine

and by the Holy Spirit was incarnate of the Virgin Mary,

“And Mary said to the angel, ‘How shall this be, since I have no husband?’ And the angel said to her, ‘The Holy Spirit will come upon you, and the power of the Most High will overshadow you; therefore the child to be born will be called holy, the Son of God.’” [S. Luke 1: 34-35]

 

DAY 17

et homo factus est.

and became man.

“And the Word became flesh and dwelt among us, full of grace and truth; we have beheld his glory, glory as of the only Son from the Father.” [S. John 1: 14]

“Since therefore the children share in flesh and blood, he himself likewise partook of the same nature, that through death he might destroy him who has the power of death, that is, the devil.” [Hebrews 2: 14]

 

DAY 18

Crucifixus etiam pro nobis

For our sake he was crucified

“He himself bore our sins in his body on the tree, that we might die to sin and to live to righteousness. By his wounds you have been healed.” [1 Peter 2: 24]

“Jesus cried again with a loud voice and yielded up his spirit.” [S. Matthew 27: 50]

 

DAY 19

sub Pontio Pilato;

under Pontius Pilate,

“So Pilate, wishing to satisfy the crowd, released for them Barabbas; and having scourged Jesus, he delivered him to be crucified.” [S. Mark 15: 15]

 

DAY 20

passus et sepultus est,

he suffered death and was buried,

“Joseph took the body, and wrapped it in a clean linen shroud, and he laid it in his own new tomb, which he had hewn in the rock; and he rolled a great stone to the door of the tomb, and departed.” [S. Matthew 27: 59-60]

 

DAY 21

et resurrexit tertia die,

and rose again on the third day

“The Son of Man will be delivered into the hands of men, and they will kill him; and when he is killed , after three days he will rise.” [S. Mark 9: 31]

“God raised him on the third and made him manifest.” [Acts 10: 40]

 

DAY 22

secundum Scripturas,

in accordance with the Scriptures.

He opened their minds to understand the scriptures and said to them, ‘Thus it is written, that the Christ should suffer and on the third day rise from the dead.” [S. Luke 24: 45-46]

“I delivered to you as of first importance what I also received, that Christ died for our sins in accordance with the scriptures, that he was buried, that he was raised on the third day in accordance with the scriptures.” [1 Corinthians 14: 3-4]

 

DAY 23

et ascendit in caelum,

He ascended into heaven

“As they were looking on, he was lifted up, and a cloud took him out of their sight.” [Acts 1: 9]

 

DAY 24

sedet ad dexteram Patris.

and is seated at the right hand of the Father.

“The Lord Jesus, after he had spoken to them, was taken up into heaven and sat down at the right hand of God.” [S. Mark 16: 19]

“From now on the Son of man shall be seated at the right hand of the power of God.” [S. Luke 22: 69]

 

DAY 25

Et iterum venturus est cum gloria,

He will come again in glory

“They will see the Son of man coming in clouds with great power and glory.” [S. Mark 13: 26

“When I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again and will take you to myself, that where I am you may be also.” [S. John 14: 3]

“The Lord himself will descend from heaven with a cry of command, with the archangel’s call and with the sound of the trumpet of God. And the dead in Christ will rise first.” [1 Thessalonians 4” 16-17]

 

DAY 26

iudicare vivos et mortuos,

to judge the living and the dead

“The Son of man is to come with his angels in the glory of his Father, and then he will repay every man for what he has done.” [S. Matthew 16: 27]

“We must all appear before the judgment seat of Christ, so that each one may receive good or evil, according to what he has done in the body.” [2 Corinthians 5: 10]

“I charge you in the presence of God and of Christ Jesus who is to judge the living and the dead, and by his appearing and his kingdom.” [2 Timothy 4: 1]

“They will give account to him who is ready to judge the living and the dead.” [1 Peter 4: 5]

 

DAY 27

cuius regni non erit finis.

and his kingdom will have no end.

“Of the Son he says, ‘Thy throne, O God, is for ever and ever, the righteous sceptre is the sceptre of thy kingdom.” [Hebrews 1: 8]

“There will be richly provided for you an entrance into the eternal kingdom of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ.” [2 Peter 1: 11]

DAY 28

Et in Spiritum Sanctum,

I believe in the Holy Spirit,

“You shall receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you.” [Acts 1: 8]

“Go and make disciples of all nations, baptising them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit.” [S. Matthew 28: 19]

“I will pray the Father, and he will give you another Counsellor, to be with you for ever, even the Spirit of truth, whom the world cannot receive, because it neither sees him nor knows him; you know him, for he swells with you, and will be in you … The Counsellor, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in my name, he will teach you all things and bring to your remembrance all that I have said to you.” [S. John 14: 16-17, 26]

“When the Counsellor  comes, whom I shall send to you from the Father, even the Spirit of truth, who proceeds from the Father, he will bear witness to me; and you have been with me from the beginning.” [S. John 15: 26-27]

“I tell youth truth: it is to your advantage that I go away, for if I do not go away, the Counsellor will will not come to you; but if I go, I will send him to you. And when he comes, he will convince the world concerning sin and righteousness and judgment: concerning sin, because they do not believe in me; concerning righteousness, because I go the Father, and you will see me no more; concerning judgment, because the ruler of this world is judged.” [S. John 16: 7-15]

“All are inspired by one and the same Spirit, who apportions to each one individually as he wills.” [1 Corinthians 12: 11]

“The Spirit helps us in our weakness; for we do not know how to pray as we ought, but the Spirit himself intercedes for us with sighs too deep for words. And he who searches the hearts of men knows what is the mind of the Spirit, because the Spirit intercedes for the saints according to the will of God.” [Romans 8: 26-27]

“The fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control.” [Galatians 5: 22-23]

“While Peter was pondering the vision, the Spirit said to him, ‘Behold, three men are looking for you. Rise and go down, and accompany them without hesitation; for I have sent them.” [Acts 10: 19-20]

“While they were worshipping the Lord and fasting, the Holy Spirit said, ‘Set apart for me Barnabas and Saul for the work to which I have called them.’” [Acts 13: 2]

“The Holy Spirit also bears witness to us; for after saying, ‘This is the covenant that I will make with them after those days, says the Lord: I will put my laws on their hearts and write them on their minds,’ then he adds, ‘I will remember their sins and their misdeeds no more.’” [Hebrews 10: 15-17]

“And it shall come to pass afterward, that I will pour out my spirit on all flesh; your sons and your daughters shall prophesy, your old men shall dream dreams, and your young men shall see visions.” [Joel 2: 28]

DAY 29

Dominum et vivificantem:

the Lord, the giver of life,

“It is the spirit that gives life, the flesh is of no avail; the words that I have spoken to you are spirit and life.” [S. John 6: 63]

“God has made us competent to be ministers of  new covenant, not in a written code but in the Spirit; for the written code kills, but the Spirit gives life.” [2 Corinthians 3: 6]

 

DAY 30

qui ex Patre Filioque procedit.

who proceeds from the Father and the Son,

“When the Counsellor comes, whom I shall send to you from the Father, even the Spirit of truth, who proceeds from the Father, he will bear witness to me.” [S. John 15: 26]

“I tell you the truth: it is to your advantage that I go away, for if I do not go away, the Counsellor will not come to you; but if I go, I will send him to you.” [S. John 16: 7]

“It is not you who speak, but the Spirit of your Father speaking through you.” [S. Matthew 10: 20]

“Being exalted at the right hand of God, and having received from the Father the promise of the Holy Spirit, he has poured out this which you see and hear.” [Acts 2: 33]

“Because you are sons, God has sent the Spirit of his Son into our hearts, crying, ‘Abba. Father.” [Galatians 4: 6]

 

DAY 31

Qui cum Patre et Filio simul adoratur et conglorificatur:

who with the Father and the Son is adored and glorified,

“Will not the dispensation of the Spirit be attended with greater splendour?” [2 Corinthians 3: 8

 

DAY 32

qui locutus est per prophetas.

who has spoken through the prophets.

“The prophets who prophesied of the grace that was to be yours searched and inquired about this salvation; they inquired what person or time was indicated by the Spirit of Christ within them when predicting the sufferings of Christ and the subsequent glory.” [1 Peter 10-11]

“The mystery of Christ, which was not made known to the sons of men in other generations as it has now been revealed to his holy apostles and prophets by the Spirit.” [Ephesians 3: 5]

 

DAY 33

Et unam,

I believe in one,

“There is one body and one Spirit, just as you were called to the one hope that belongs to your call, one Lord, one faith, one baptism.” [Ephesians 4: 4-5]

“There is one bread, we who are many are one body, for we al [partake of the one bread.” [1 Corinthians 10: 17]

“I have other sheep, that are not of this fold; I must bring them also, and they will heed my voice. So there shall be one flock, one shepherd.” [S. John 10: 16]

 

DAY 34

sanctam,

holy,

“As he chose us in him before the foundation of the world, we should be holy and blameless before him.” [Ephesians 1: 4]

“Husbands, love your wives, as Christ loved the church and gave himself up for her, that he might sanctify her, having cleansed her by the washing of water with the word, that he might present the church to himself in splendour, without spot or wrinkle or any such thing, that she might be holy and without blemish.” [Ephesians 5: 25-27]

“You are a chosen race, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, God’s own people.” [1 Peter 2: 9]

 

DAY 35

catholicam

catholic

“Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit.” [S. Matthew 28: 19]

“He taught, and said to them, ‘Is it not written, “My house shall be called a house of prayer for all the nations”?’” [S. Mark 11: 17]

“You shall receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you; and you shall be my witnesses in Jerusalem and in all Judea and Samaria and to the end of the earth.” [Acts 1: 8]

“There were dwelling in Jerusalem Jews, devout men from every nation under heaven.” [Acts 2: 5]

“You have heard before in the word of truth, the gospel which has come to you, as indeed in the whole world it is bearing fruit snd growing – so among yourselves, from the day you heard and understood the grace of God in truth.” [Colossians 1: 5-6]

 

DAY 36

et apostolicam Ecclesiam.

and apostolic Church.

“I tell you, you are Peter, and on this rock I will build my church, and the powers of death shall not prevail against it.” [S. Matthew 16: 18]

“I looked, and behold, a great multitude which no man could number, from every nation, from all tribes and peoples and tongues, standing before the throne and before the Lamb, clothed in white robes, with pain branches in their hands.” [Revelation 7: 9]

“He who hears you hears me, and he who rejects you rejects me, and he who rejects me rejects him who sent me.” [S. Luke 10: 16]

“Did I not choose you, the twelve?” [S. John 6: 70]

“For as in one body we have many members, and all the members do not have the same function, so we, though many, are one body in Christ, and individually members one of another.” [Romans 12: 4-5]

“There is one bread, we who are many are one body, for we all partake of the one bread.” [1 Corinthians 10: 17]

“You are no longer strangers and sojourners, but you are fellow citizens with the saints and members of the household of God, built upon the foundation of the apostles and prophets, Christ Jesus himself being the corner-stone.” [Ephesians 2: 19-20]

“You know how one ought to behave in the household of God, which is the church of the living God, the pillar and bulwark of the truth.” [1 Timothy 3: 15]

“This is why I left you in Crete, that you might amend what was defective, and appoint elders in every town as I directed you, if any man is blameless, the husband of one wife, and his children are believers and not open to the charge of being profligate or insubordinate. For a bishop, as God’s steward, must be blameless; he must not be arrogant or quick-tempered or a drunkard or violent or greedy for gain, but hospitable, a lover of goodness, master of himself, upright, holy, and self-controlled; he must hold firm to the sure word as taught, so that he may be able to give instruction in sound doctrine and also to confute those who contradict it.” [Titus 1: 5-9]

 

DAY 37

Confiteor unum baptisma

I confess one Baptism

“One Lord, one faith, one baptism.” [Ephesians 4: 5]

“By one Spirit we were all baptised into one body – Jews or Greeks, slaves or free – and all were made to drink of one Spirit.” [1 Corinthians 12: 13]

“As many of you as were baptised into Christ have put on Christ.” [Galatians 3: 27]

 

DAY 38

in remissionem peccatorum

for the forgiveness of sins

“Why do you wait? Rise and be baptised, and wash away your sins, calling on his name.” [Acts 22: 16]

“You were buried with him in baptism, in which you were also raised with him through faith ninth working of God, who raised him from the dead. And you were dead in trespasses and the uncircumcision of your flesh, God made alive together with him, having forgiven us all our trespasses.” [Colossians 2: 12-13]

 

DAY 39

Et exspecto resurrectionem mortuorum,

and I look forward to the resurrection of the dead

“We were buried therefore with him by baptism into death, so that as Christ was raised from the dead by the glory of the Father, we too might walk in newness of life. For if we have been united with him in death like his, we shall certainly be united with him in a resurrection like his.” [Romans 6: 4-5]

“The Lord himself will descend from heaven with a cry of command, with the archangel’s call, and with the sound of a trumpet of God. And the dead in Christ will rise first.” [1 Thessalonians 4: 16]

 

DAY 40

et vitam venturi saeculi.

and the life of the world to come.

“According to his promise we wait for new heavens and a new earth in which righteousness dwells.” [2 Peter 3: 13]

“The city lies foursquare, its length the same as its breadth; and he measured the city with his rod, twelve thousand stadia; its length and breadth and height are equal.” [Revelation 21: 16]

 

Amen.

 

William Davage

2019-04-01T12:14:31+00:00 March 2019 Articles|