by Ken Rolheiser
I believe in the fruits of the Incarnation

I used to have my catechism students write a personal creed enunciating their beliefs about God. Today mine would sound something like this:

I believe in God, the Father and Creator. He made heaven and earth. I believe in Jesus, the Son of God, who was conceived by the Holy Spirit and was born of the Virgin Mary.

Jesus suffered under Pontus Pilate and was crucified. He died and was buried. He descended into the world of the dead (hell) and rescued the souls stuck there. He rose from the dead. He appeared to and walked with his disciples for some time then ascended into heaven. He will come again to judge the world.

I believe in the Holy Spirit, the universal church, the Communion of Saints, the forgiveness of sins, the resurrection of the body and life everlasting.

There is much I believe about Mary, the mother of Jesus. She lived without sin. She was assumed into heaven after her time on earth. She is someone we can ask for help and grace, someone who is very concerned with our salvation.

The Communion of Saints is a wonderful consolation. The triumphant in heaven are there for us, and we ask their help in many situations. The suffering in purgatory need our prayers and will help us in turn if we are there one day. 

Thrice daily I repeat the prayer God taught St Gertrude: Eternal Father. I offer Thee the most Precious Blood of Thy Divine Son, Jesus, in union with all the Masses being said this day throughout the world for all the holy souls in Purgatory. Amen. 

I imagine the wonderful joy of one day greeting all who enjoy the benefit of this prayer. Their gratitude will surely help me if I am someday bound in that place of purgation. 

I believe in the revelation of God through scripture and tradition. The stories of the bible reflect the riches of God’s mercy, especially in the New Testament and the teachings and miracles of Jesus and his disciples.

The history of salvation unfolding through the church is a powerful way of conveying truth through tradition. The sacraments and rituals of the church continue from the time of Christ. We, as members of the church, are charged with continuing to pass on the truth of this faith.

Not to be dismayed by the imperfections of human vessels, we strive to carry on in our search for perfection. I am a practicing Catholic, and I plan to continue practicing until I get it right. 

Perhaps the greatest part of my personal creed is the fruit of the incarnation. Jesus came to be our spiritual food and drink. We become a true brother or sister in Christ in the sharing of the Eucharist. That part of our life will be eternal and will not die at natural death.

“Anyone who eats this bread will live forever; and the bread that I will give is my flesh, for the life of the world.” (John 6:15). We are called to be bread for the life of others and food for the world. Just as God’s word nourishes the soul, our witness lifts up others in this world that so desperately needs goodness and forgiveness.

“Let us always meet each other with a smile, for the smile is the beginning of love.” (St Teresa of India).

(570 words)