in one God, (Ex 20:2-3, Is 45:5, 1 Cor 8:4) the Father, the Almighty, maker of heaven and earth, (Gen 14:19, Ex 20:2-3) of all that is seen and unseen. (Col 1:16)
We believe in one Lord, Jesus Christ, the only Son of God, (Luke 1:35) begotten of the Father, God from God, Light from Light, true God from true God. Begotten not made, one in Being with the Father. (Heb 1:3) Through Him all things were made. (John 1:2-3, Col 1:15-17))
For us men and for our salvation He came down from heaven: (John 3:13) by the power of the Holy Spirit He was born of the Virgin Mary, (Matt 1:18) and became man. For our sake he was crucified under Pontius Pilate; (John 19:16) he suffered, died, and was buried. On the third day he rose again in fulfillment of the Scriptures; (1Cor 15:3-4) he ascended into heaven (Luke 24:51) and is seated at the right hand of the Father. (Col 3:1) He will come again in glory to judge the living and the dead, (2 Tim 4:1) and his Kingdom will have no end. (Luke 1:33)
We believe in the Holy Spirit, the Lord, the giver of life, (Acts 2:17) who proceeds from the Father and the Son. (John 14:16) With the Father and the Son he is worshipped and glorified. He has spoken through the Prophets. (1 Peter 1:10-11)
We believe in one holy catholic and apostolic Church. (Rom 12:5) We acknowledge one baptism for the forgiveness of sins.(Acts 2:38) We look for the resurrection of the dead, and the life of the life of the world to come. (Rom 6:5) Amen
The Apostles' Creed
The basic Creed of the Catholic Church, as most familiarly known, is called the Apostles' Creed. It has received this title because of its great antiquity; it dates from very early times in the Church, a half century or so from the last writings of the New Testament. In order to make certain that each apostle taught the same message, they jointly composed the Apostles' Creed before their departure to teach all nations. The creed thus was created in the early 1st century
I believe in God, the Father Almighty, the Creator of heaven and earth, and in Jesus Christ, His only Son, our Lord: Who was conceived of the Holy Spirit, born of the Virgin Mary, suffered under Pontius Pilate, was crucified, died, and was buried. He descended into hell. The third day He arose again from the dead. He ascended into heaven and sits at the right hand of God the Father Almighty, whence He shall come to judge the living and the dead. I believe in the Holy Spirit, the Holy Catholic Church, the communion of saints, the forgiveness of sins, the resurrection of the body, and life everlasting. Amen.
This Creed has been adequate to the ordinary needs of the Church, as is witnessed by its constant use down to our time. As special needs arose, however, various articles in the Creed have been expanded for greater clarification. The most noteworthy of these clarifications was made during the general council of the Church at Nicaea in the year 325 A.D., and in the council of Constantinople in 381. Each of these councils gave unequivocal answers defining the belief of true Christians against movements which threatened Christ's teaching. For example, the Council of Nicaea had to make clear the truth of the eternity of Christ's existence, as taught in the Gospel of John 1:1, against the Arian heresy which held that there was a time before which the Word was not. This clarification was in the form of a longer version of the Creed, which is recited during the Catholic Mass. It is called the Nicene Creed.
Two Fundamental Principles
The Creed consists of two essential themes--one is concerned with belief in the Holy Trinity, and the other deals with our profession of faith in Christ. These are the two fundamental principles of Christianity, upon which all the rest of our doctrines are based. For the sake of convenience, we generally divide the Creed into "articles."
In the first article we say, "I believe in God, the Father Almighty, Creator of heaven and earth." We say what every reasoning man must say, if he is faithful to his reason. "Since the creation of the world God's invisible attributes are clearly seen--especially His everlasting power and divinity, which are understood through the things that are made" (Rom 5:20). As Paul rightly says, reason itself tells us that there must be a Cause of what we see about us in the world, and that if we see goodness and beauty in the world, then its Cause must be Good and most supreme Beauty.
But we believe much more about God than mere reason tells us. Our faith is founded on reason, but it goes far beyond what reason unaided can know. Our faith depends upon God's own revelation of Himself. Faith, in a sense, means sharing God's own thoughts; for what God alone can know of Himself He has made known to us. We know His own intimate nature--that He exists in three divine Persons Who possess the one divine nature: the fact that we call the Trinity. There is no possible way that we could know this unless He had told us. We have it from the lips of God's own Son that the relation that exists between the divine Persons is mirrored in the relation which He permits us to share with Him. If we keep faith with Him, we share somehow in His own life.
"You will come to understand (says our Lord) that I am in the Father, and you are in me, and I in you. He who accepts my commandments and treasures them--he is the one that loves me. And he that loves me will, in turn, be loved by my Father; and I will love him, and will manifest myself to him" (John 14:20f.). For how many centuries did the greatest philosophers and thinkers of the world before Christ yearn for just this knowledge, that there is a God Who cares for His creatures, Who wants to love them and be loved by them!
When we say, "I believe ... in Jesus Christ, His only Son, our Lord: Who was conceived of the Holy Spirit, born of the Virgin Mary," we testify to our belief in the greatest single event of the world's history, the Incarnation. The Incarnation means, literally, "the taking-on-of-flesh." The eternal Son of God, the only Son of God to whom this word may be properly applied, took on human nature and became the man Whom history knows as Jesus. Without ceasing to be God, this divine Person became also one of us, like us "in all things, except sin" (Heb. 4:15). Already bound to us as Creator, He assumed a perfect unity with mankind through the Incarnation, and by His death was able to free us from sin. In His glorious existence in heaven He gave us a share in His own life: "He was delivered up for our sins, and rose again for our sanctification" (Rom. 4:25).
As a divine Person, Jesus could in no way be begotten by man. His Virgin Mother Mary conceived Him through the divine power. Because He is divine, she is the Mother of God--not the Mother of God the Father, or of God the Holy Spirit, but the Mother of God's eternal Son Who is also God. This title, "Mother of God," is Mary's chief glory, of which she may not be deprived by any true Christian.
Jesus, we say, "suffered under Pontius Pilate, was crucified, died and was buried. He descended into hell. The third day He arose again from the dead: He ascended into heaven and sits at the right hand of God the Father Almighty, whence He shall come to judge the living and the dead." In this we say that He redeemed us, that His suffering and death have freed us from sin. "There is but one God and one Mediator between God and men, Christ Jesus, himself man, who gave himself a ransom for all" (1 Tim. 2:5). In Christ and in Christ only do we have a certain refuge of hope--apart from Him there is none. He is our judge now and in our final accounting.
"I believe in the Holy Spirit" professes our belief in the third Person of the Trinity, the Spirit of the Father and Son, Whom Christ promised to send to watch over His Church, to guide and strengthen it, to keep it in the ways of truth. "I will ask the Father and he will grant you another Advocate to be with you for all time to come, the Spirit of Truth!" (John 14:16).
Therefore the article "I believe in ... the Holy Catholic Church," is already half-explained. The Church is holy because it exists for a holy purpose, to make men holy. It is holy because it is directed by the Holy Spirit, the Spirit of Truth. It is the projection of Christ into all time, which is why St. Paul so frequently refers to it as Christ's Body. Christ, after His death and resurrection, has returned to the Father from Whom He came. But Christ's work goes on. The salvation which He made possible to all men must be brought into contact with all human lives between Christ's going away and His glorious return at the end of time. This is the function of the Church.
Allegiance to the Church
The Church is Catholic because it is universal, independent of time and of place. Being a Catholic, of course, does not erase one's nationality. Allegiance to the Church is entirely different from the allegiance we owe our country or our people, an allegiance which does not conflict with these but which is superior to them. It is our allegiance to God, which we share with all other Catholics throughout the world, and which binds us together with them in the one Body of Christ. The Church is essentially the same everywhere in the world today, and is the same as it was in the days of the Apostles.
There is even a larger unity that we share in the Church. "I believe in ... the communion of saints" states that we participate in the union of the faithful on earth, the blessed in heaven, and the souls in purgatory--with all those who have been redeemed by the blood of Christ. We believe that we can help one another, that the prayers of the faithful on earth can assist the souls in purgatory and that the prayers of those in heaven can assist both those in purgatory and us on earth. Thus we pray to the saints in heaven for their help, just as we ask one another on earth for their prayers and good works from which we can all benefit
."The forgiveness of sin" we shall see more fully in the consideration of the sacraments of the Church. "The resurrection of the body, and the life everlasting" are the two final articles of the Creed. We profess the Biblical teachings of a physical resurrection, at the end of time. For all eternity, united as they were on earth, the body and soul of each person will rejoice in eternal life with God or suffer in eternal punishment in hell
.Courtesy of Catholic Information Network