My Personal Profession of Faith

John Williams has been a member of our “Concerned Catholics” group here in Missoula since we began in 2010 viewing the videos from the American Catholic Council.  John is currently teaching Math up in Alaska for one year but has kept in touch with CCMT and recently submitted a post for our website.  We are pleased to welcome John’s voice to the discussion.

| John Williams | December 9, 2012 | CCMT |

The past year has been a period of tremendous spiritual growth for me. I have been and still am, very upset about the way the Church hierarchy has treated the children of God. I am faced with the choice of walking out or examining my relationship with God and deciding if I want to stay. I will not walk out but I am changing the rules.

I would like to relate a small part of my response to the new Roman Missal because I want to encourage you all to consider writing your own profession of faith. With the implementation of the new Roman missal the old profession of faith has been altered from a group or community profession to an individual profession of faith, changing the “We” to “I”.

It seems to me that if we are to make an individual profession of faith then the words we profess should be our own. Some people will never feel the need to alter the words of the Nicene Creed; some may find it a true spiritual renewal to do so. All should at least examine the creed and see what they think. Such an act helps us to clarify what we believe and may bring us to a closer relationship with God, Jesus and Holy Spirit.

Spending some time in prayer trying to understand where you see God in your life can only be a good thing. I first started by jotting down a couple of words that have always stuck with me, then started to organize the words into something more cohesive. I decided to model my profession on the Nicene Creed because I have always been impressed by its organization and diction.

I have read about the history of the Nicene creed and how each word was argued and debated. These words have been voiced and believed for over 1600 years. They are the essence of our faith distilled down to a few paragraphs. While saying these words we are in unity with millions of people over many hundreds of years and many generations of families. In a very real way, these words symbolize our understanding of the Holy Trinity. I have no wish to replace what has been said but I cannot ignore the fact that the new translation insists that I make this creed personal.

By writing my own profession of faith, I am not trying to set doctrine, nor am I saying that this creed I have written is perfectly correct. What I am doing is taking an entire lifetime’s worth of devotion to God, Jesus and Holy Spirit and writing down how I view my relationship to Them. For me this profession of faith is relational rather than dogmatic.

At the present time the Church and our World is at a great crossroads. I believe that we need to be open to the Holy Trinity, to ask the Holy Trinity to lead us. We certainly cannot seem to do a good job by ourselves. Our world is changing rapidly but paradoxically not changing at all. We face insurmountable problems unless we depend on God to help us solve them. It seems that our greatest grace is hope, hope that God will guide us. We need to see that our differences pale in comparison to the fact that we are ALL children of God and that being children of God together we can move closer to God’s kingdom. My prayer is that we can find God, that we can see what God wants for us and we can make choices to help bring God’s plan for us to fruition.

I also hope that you too might take some time to contemplate and consider writing your own personal profession of faith.

My Personal Profession of Faith
I believe in one God.
I believe that God through Jesus created the Universe.
I believe that God’s love and joy keeps our universe in existence.
I believe that the best way I can know God is through God’s Son, Jesus.
I believe that God created in us the intellect to be able to understand God’s creation and that we encounter God through the study of our Universe. I believe that God created in
us memory so that we could recall God’s action in our past lives and so recognize
God’s action in our present lives.
I believe that God speaks to us through other people as well as through our feelings
and thoughts.
I believe that God speaks to us through the scriptures.
I believe that God runs to us in joy when we turn to God.
I believe that God loves us unconditionally.
I believe that Jesus existed at the beginning of creation and that Jesus became incarnate out of Love of His Father.
I believe that Jesus was born of the virgin Mary so that the Holy Trinity could become
closer to us both by communicating how to know God and by experiencing
humanity personally.
I believe that Jesus brought God and God’s plan to the people of Jerusalem and was
killed for doing so.
I believe that in dying Jesus took all of humanity’s sin upon
Himself and in so doing created a way for union between God and all people. So
that at the end of time we will all be a part of Jesus’ eternal family.
I believe that Jesus loves us unconditionally.
I believe in Holy Spirit, who moves through and around each of us, embodying the
graces we need to move into fuller communion and union with God.
I believe that Holy Spirit advocates for us to love God and Jesus.
I believe that Holy Spirit loves us unconditionally.
I believe that Jesus’ mother has a special place in God’s creation. That Mary takes our
prayers and perfects them and passes them on to Jesus her Son.
I believe that Mary loves us unconditionally.
I believe that the Holy Trinity offers us a model of perfect community, each loving and
giving and receiving continuously for all time.
I believe that we are the Body of Christ and that just as there are different parts to the
body we have different but equally important roles.
I believe that just like a body is whole, we, the children of God cannot be separated.
I believe that if one part of the body of Christ suffers then all, including Jesus suffer.
I believe that time spent in prayer brings us into fuller union with God.
I believe that God made us in God’s image, both male and female and that all of us
share in all of God’s unbounded graces equally.
I believe that we as children of God are invited to love all things and all beings.
I believe that in doing so we grow in communion and union with the Holy Trinity and we become what God has meant us to be.

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3 Responses to My Personal Profession of Faith

  1. Bud Malby says:

    Thanks, John, I enjoyed reading what you had to say. Interestingly, you are not the first to see the need for a creed that speaks better. A few months ago there was a discussion opened about this on Catholica-Australia. The person’s name who initiated the conversation is Kerry Gonzales. I was impressed at the time and remembered to file it away in my archives. This is extracted from a rather long dissertation by Kerry Gonzales who covered some of the same ground that John has here. I don’t offer it as a contrast, rather to point out there is discussion about this.
    Bud Malby

    I believe in a God who… do we need a new creed?
    By Kerry Gonzales

    The creed as it is talks of belief but not responsibility. For me a creed needs not only to proclaim what I believe about God and perhaps the Church, but also must include my own responsibilities in regard to making these beliefs real, in my own time and place. A creed does not need to be too specific, but rather, like a mission statement, it lays a foundation on which communities of faith can build their own practices while still reflecting the principles of that creed. So while I may not be able to say many of the words of the official creed, I can still say that I do believe. So if I had to formulate something called a creed, it would be simple and go something like this:

    I believe in a god who is love, therefore I must exemplify that love.

    I believe in a god who embraces, therefore I must open my heart to all people.

    I believe in a god who leads, therefore I must be prepared to follow.

    I believe in a god who challenges, therefore I must grow.
    (Kerry Gonzales)

    • Rosemary says:

      Thanks, Bud! Appreciate this insight from Kerry Gonzales… Some years ago, during Lent Fr. Jim Hogan suggested that we write our own creed so my husband Jim and I sat down and did just that. We were surprised when we reread it recently that it still held true some 7 years later. We found it to be a very worthwhile effort to write it then and still a good thing to revisit it from time to time now.

      John Chuchman has a very simple creed that I will share here. It reads a bit like the one from Kerry…

      What is it we believe?

      We believe we are created
      in the image and likeness of our Creator
      and that as such
      We are Good.

      We believe we have been given
      Great Gifts
      including Life and Love
      and that
      We are created to share these Gifts with others.

      We believe The Creator
      is All-Loving
      and that when we
      Live in Love,
      We Live in God,
      and God in us.

  2. Magy Stelling says:

    John, you have written from your heart, Thank you. I will take your suggestion and write my own Creed.
    To stay or leave is a momentous decision and one I made many years ago. But it was my belief in the Eucharist that brought me back. The actions of that lone priest and the damaging decisions of his superiors finally seemed so small in comparison to the graces held within the Eucharist. I had only been back for a couple of years when the Boston scandal broke and I learned I was not alone. I took as my mantra the words spoken by another female survivor; ” no male priest will ever keep me from my relationship with my God in my Church”.
    As a full fledged member of the People of God I will stand tall and speak out for the wisdom and promises of Vatican II. The wisdom that acknowledges each individual , male and female, does had a specific call from God. The promise that the Church will evolve just as we, in this world, have evolved from a strict monarchical society to a more egalitarian society world wide. The integrity to live our lives following the example of Jesus to love God with all our hearts and to love our neighbor regardless of their differences. And because of the imperfections of humankind I firmly believe our Church must have the checks and balances in its governance that one finds in our imperfect secular society. All voices must be heard, listened to and their words freely examined by all. And the threats and bullying from our hierarchy that originate from the culture of clericalism must become a thing of the past. Jesus the Christ was not sent down to earth to be born, die and resurrect for many, he came for the salvation of all humankind.

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