Wednesday, January 23, 2008


A couple of days before he was supposed to teach, J. fell down the steps and broke his leg and so was unable to give his presentation on the Creed to the people at RCIA. Far too late to enlist someone else to throw something together I took it upon myself to have the session. Of course that meant exploring in depth my own thoughts on the Creed, a process which turned out to be extremely beneficial.

There is a great wisdom in the repetition of the mass. One may fall into saying words by rote, but occasionally you are struck again at the profundity of those words. I suppose (it would be better for someone else to speak as to the accuracy of this statement) it would be like a married couple that got caught up in the business of life and then one day one of them looked at the other and realized how much love was still there and decides to act on it and appreciate the other better. Priests too can unintentionally fall into routine even with the Eucharist. As Fr. Groeschel mentioned on retreat, “Look at a good priest reserving the Blessed Sacrament. Does he look like he is putting away the King of the Universe?” (Shudder.)

A kind parishioner gave my sister and I tickets to hear the Cleveland Orchestra and Chorus perform Joseph Haydn’s “Mass in D minor” shortly after this RCIA session. Hearing the words of the creed and understanding them in the sense of not only understanding the Latin but also understanding the deeper meaning of what was being said sent chills up my spine and gave me goose bumps. It struck me that I was not just hearing great music, but the basic core beliefs of my faith were being presented in a dramatic fashion.

As it turns out, Franz Welser-Most, the conductor, is a practicing Catholic and makes sure that all know what is being said and that it be performed with the passion that the composer intended. And what did the composer intend? The concert notes say this about Haydn, “Hayden was deeply devout, and the firm statement of belief at the start of the Credo has the stamp of sincerity.” All this combined to make the evening a deeply spiritual and moving re-awakening for me.

What a glorious thing it would be that what was said about Haydn would be said about us; that in our recitation of the Creed there would something of a stamp of authenticity about it. Perhaps consider, especially in light of our immediate preparations for lent, really praying the Creed one night. Not just pray through the words but slowly enough so that you can determine what is being said and what that means to you. Then the next time at mass recite the Creed with sincerity. Look for it to come to bear that stamp of authenticity.


uncle jim said...

About 15 +/- years ago, I took a summer course [no credit / audit] at a summer conference at ND in So Bend. It was the equivalent to a 4 Sem Hr course on 'The Creeds' of the Catholic Church squeezed into 2 weeks [11 days]. By far, one of the most interesting courses I've ever taken - from early creedal statements and teachings and writings and prayers and hymns and controversies to the formalized formulas we now recognize as the Apostle's Creed and the Nicene Creed.
Every once in awhile during the recitation at Mass, I am given pause to recall something from that course that makes me kind of 'wake-up' and listen to what I'm saying - profound [even with the filoque being left out sometimes by me intentionally - just to see how it 'plays' internally for me].
Wish I could have been there for the concert.

adoro said...

The concert does sound amazing. I probably would have been crying. (Um...I'm a crybaby. So that's normal for me.)

I have a book called, "The CREED of a Catholic." by Rev. Wilfred G. Hurley C.S.P, published 1965 by the Daughters of St. Paul.

Have you ever heard of this book? It's one I took of my Mom's shelf many years ago because she was going to get rid of it. Quite honestly, I have NO IDEA what made me collect this book. Because at the time, I wasn't really a practicing Catholic (although Mom didn't know that.) I started to read it once, but put it down, not really ready to do spiritual reading.

This post inspires me to pick it up and read it now, but of course, it's not gonna happen...because 2nd semester starts tomorrow evening and it's going to be BRUTAL as I'll have 6 credits this time around instead of just 5. And it's going to be brutal anyway.

Adrienne said...

I think when the wording is changed back to "I believe" rather than "we believe" folks might pay a bit more attention.

Anonymous said...

I agree that sometimes the repetition in Mass allows people to fall into a routine. However, I've found that if I really listen to what is being said, I appreciate the Mass even more. There have been times when the words of the Mass, combined with thoughts going through my head makes me want to cry.

This isn't necessarily because I pray 24/7, or because I have a huge devotion to the Eucharist. I'm trying to get there, and there are points in the Mass where it hits me that I'm just overwhelmed. The 'roteness' of the Creed definitely allows me to think about my faith and understand it. It's definitely a good reminder of what I believe as a Catholic.