Neither do men light a candle, and put it under a bushel, but on a candlestick; and it giveth light unto all that are in the house

When it comes to the most basic activities of daily life, no one needs to give us instructions about what tools are for or how to use them. Without thinking, we use utensils for eating. Without a moment's thought, we turn on a light switch in a dark room. Without the least bit of reflection, we make sure the light shines on what we may be reading.  And yet, when it comes to the life of the Spirit, we seem to need additional instructions, we seem to need to be told to do the obvious. As foolish as it may seem, we really need to be reminded that no one lights a candle and puts it under a bushel, … [Read more...]

And the Life of the Age to Come

Elder Paisios once reminded his spiritual children: “The most important thing is for man to grasp this most profound meaning of life, which is the salvation of the soul.  When man believes in God and in the future life, then he understands the vanity of this present life and prepares his passport for the other life.  We forget that all of us will leave this life.  None of us are going to put down roots here.  This present life...is meant for us to be tested and to pass over into the future, eternal life.  Our goal here must be to prepare ourselves so we can depart with our conscience at ease … [Read more...]

I Look for the Resurrection of the Dead

Human death is one of those experiences that we prefer to avoid if at all possible.  We have been conditioned to avoid the discussion of death even with the dying! We shun looking at the dead in their natural state before the mortician’s art has done all that is possible to make the dead resemble the living.  Even in death, we prefer to hold celebrations of life rather than confront the harsh reality of our earthly existence coming to a halting end. While this is a common approach in modern society, it doesn’t reflect the beliefs we profess in the Creed. Death is painful. It hurts and it … [Read more...]

I Confess One Baptism for the Remission of Sins

The Nicene Creed contains a treasure of precious beliefs about God—Father, Son, and Holy Spirit—and about Christ’s Holy Church prefaced by the words “I believe.” At this point in the Symbol of Faith, however, the verb changes to “I confess” (ὁμολογῶ) meaning I declare in the presence of all and before all a solemn profession, as a matter of faith and a matter of experience, that there is one baptism for the remission of sin. Belief may remain sheltered in the heart, but confession sets forth fearlessly in the open air. After the Apostles, the first distinct ranks of Saints were composed of … [Read more...]

The Catholic and Apostolic Church of the Creed

In many ways, the Church, the Bride and Body of Christ, defies description even as our Lord, perfect God and perfect man, defies description. Even as the perfections of God are beyond number and comprehension, so the attributes of the Church are as innumerable as the depths of Christ’s divinity are unfathomable. With a divinely keen eye, the holy fathers of the second Ecumenical Council (Constantinople 381) have identified four attributes that are essential for us and for our salvation: unity, holiness, catholicity, and apostolicity. Even as the unity and holiness of the Church that we … [Read more...]

I Believe In One, Holy Church

Having described the basic truths with respect to the three persons of the Holy Trinity, the Nicene Creed now turns to the nature of the Church, not only having been founded and established by Christ Himself, but also being an extension of His unique and holy presence in the world. The Church as the Body of Christ possesses and is marked by the characteristics of Her founder—love, humility, meekness, forgiveness, and truth—and by the very life of Her founder including His incarnation, suffering, death, resurrection, and ascension into heaven. In theological terms, we describe this mystery as … [Read more...]

Who Spake By the Prophets

According to the Nicene Creed and according to Scripture itself, the Holy Spirit spake through the Prophets to the children of Israel in their wanderings, in their disobedience, in their sorrows, and in their afflictions. And through the Prophets of the Old Testament, the Apostles of the New Testament, and the Saints Who live in the age to come, the same Spirit of God continues to speak to us in our wanderings, disobedience, sorrows, and afflictions. When we wander about in our own concerns and worries, the Divine Spirit speaks to us through the Prophet Jeremiah awakening us up from sleep, … [Read more...]

Who With the Father and the Son Together is Worshipped and Glorified

The Nicene Creed, the ancient symbol of faith, is the fruit of the lived experience of those friends of God who have beheld the uncreated light of the Holy Trinity and entered into intimate communion with our Lord. Like Saint John the Theologian, they say to us, “That which we have seen and heard declare we unto you, that ye also may have communion with us: and truly our communion is with the Father and with his Son Jesus Christ” (1 John 1:3). In this particular article of the creed, they provide more than a reference to the divinity of the three Persons of the Trinity. They indicate that we … [Read more...]

Who Proceeds from the Father

To be a person is to be utterly unique and dynamically open to others. The three Persons of the Holy Trinity are utterly unique and dynamically open in a divine and uncreated fashion that the frail vessels of our created and human words can no more adequately describe than a measuring cup can contain a thousand oceans. Nevertheless, the holy fathers, who constructed the miracle of the Creed on the basis of their experience of the Holy Trinity, provide the most perfect expression of the uniqueness and openness of each of the three Persons. The Heavenly Father is unique in not being begotten, … [Read more...]

The Lord and Giver of Life

During the last several months, I have devoted blog posts on Sundays to the exploration of a specifically spiritual topic, namely, the Nicene Creed, that ancient crystallization of the Christian faith. During the week, I have spent time writing posts about the various illnesses and afflictions that burden the human heart and keep us from communion with God and one another. This post on the Holy Spirit as the Lord and Giver of Life allows me to bring these two themes together for the purposes of reflecting upon how our core beliefs can have a blessed influence on our daily life, when inspired … [Read more...]