(3.61) The 12 Articles of the Profession of Faith (Articles 1 to 3)
The Articles of the Creed
The Creed is comprehensive prayer which can be broken down to 12 Articles for better understanding.
Article 1: I believe in God, the Father Almighty, Creator of heaven and earth (Apostolic Creed).
I believe in one God, the Father almighty, maker of heaven and earth, of all things visible and invisible (Niceno-Constantinopolitan Creed).
I believe in God
The assembly used to say “We believe” in the start of the prayer in order to show unity in what the faithful believes. Changing the beginning of the Creed to “I believe” however gives it a personal conviction echoing what we spiritually accepted during baptism.
Our belief in God is the most important part of the Creed. Recitation of a prayer to God was invoked in the Great Commandment (Deut 6:4-9);
“Hear, O Israel: The Lord is our God, the Lord alone. You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, and with all your soul, and with all your might. Keep these words that I am commanding you today in your heart. Recite them to your children and talk about them when you are at home and when you are away, when you lie down and when you rise. Bind them as a sign on your hand, fix them as an emblem on your forehead, and write them on the doorposts of your house and on your gates.”
The Father almighty, The Creator
God is the Father of all creation and Jesus speaks of God as his Father directly and personally. Because of Christ, we can also freely call on to God as our Father through the prayer he taught us (Mt 6:9-10);
“Our Father in heaven,
hallowed be your name,
your kingdom come,
your will be done,
on earth as in heaven.”
Things visible and invisible
The phrase is in consideration of words written by Saint Paul to the Col 1:16 “For in him were created all things in heaven and on earth, the visible and the invisible.” In this manner, Paul referred to Christ as co-creator before things even existed.
Article 2: And in Jesus Christ, his only Son, our Lord.
I believe in one Lord Jesus Christ, the Only Begotten Son of God, born of the Father before all ages. God from God, Light from Light, true God from true God, begotten, not made, consubstantial with the Father; through him all things were made.
We call Jesus our Lord in keeping with our belief in his divinity.
Further passages above were in response to reject the heresy that was spread by Arius who claimed that Jesus was created and less than God –the argument of which seemed that he believed an apple came from chicken.
As much as we inherit our genes from our parents, Jesus is – God from God, Light from Light, true God from true God – and of the same substance as God the Father.
He was with God since the creation of man (Gen 1:26) for it was written when God said, “Let us make humankind in our image, according to our likeness”. It was also revealed in St Paul’s letter to the Col 1:16: “for in him all things in heaven and on earth were created, things visible and invisible, whether thrones or dominions or rulers or powers – all things have been created through him and for him”.
Article 3: Who was conceived by the power of the Holy Spirit and born of the Virgin Mary.
For us men and for our salvation he came down from heaven,
And by the Holy Spirit was incarnate of the Virgin Mary,
and became man.
For us men and for our salvation he came down from heaven
We all bow when speaking the words to accept and ask for deeper understanding on the Mystery of Christ coming from heaven. On the feasts of Christmas and Annunciation, we all kneel (GIRM) rather than bow.
Jesus reminded us of his nature as the “bread that came down from heaven, not like that which your ancestors ate, and they died. But the one who eats this bread will live forever” (Jn 6:58). This affirms his divinity as the God who came down from heaven and not merely made. He assumed the human flesh to be with us for our salvation.
And by the Holy Spirit was incarnate of the Virgin Mary
The prayer is in reference to the words the angel Gabriel said to Joseph revealing the origin of Mary’s pregnancy;
“For it is true in the holy Spirit that this child has been conceived in her” (Mt 1:20).