Saturday, August 10, 2013

I Believe In God

Our profession of faith begins with God, for God is the First and the Last, the beginning and the end of everything (Catechism of the Catholic Church, 198).

Everything we believe, and in fact, everything that we are depends on God. He is one, without limit, and Lord over heaven and earth. The people of Israel tell us this about God in the Hebrew Scriptures, and they knew because He mercifully chose to reveal His own name to them:

To disclose one’s name is to make oneself known to others; in a way it is to hand oneself over by becoming accessible, capable of being known more intimately and addressed personally (203).

God revealed Himself to Moses in the burning bush as YHWH, or “I AM WHO AM.”  This name reveals everything about God, but at the same time, it reveals almost nothing. It is “mysterious just as God is mystery. It is at once a name revealed and something like the refusal of a name, and hence it better expresses God as what he is—infinitely above everything that we can understand or say…” (206).

The name indicates that God is hidden, yet very much present at the same time.

Through Moses’s encounters we are reminded of our own insignificance in God’s presence, and we are also reminded of God’s all encompassing forgiveness. It is like what the Apostle John wrote, “We shall…reassure our hearts before him whenever our hearts condemn us; for God is greater than our hearts, and he knows everything” (1 Jn 3:19-20).

From these events in the Hebrew Scriptures, Church Tradition holds that “God is the fullness of Being and of every perfection, without origin and without end. All creatures receive all that they are and have from him, but he alone is his very being, and his is of himself everything that he is” (CCC 213).

Tradition also holds that He is Truth and that He is Love. As Truth, “God, who alone made heaven and earth, can alone impart true knowledge of every created thing in relation to himself” (216).

As Love, he continued to show mercy to His people, even to the point of sending His Son to suffer and die for us. This reveals that “God himself is an external exchange of love, Father, Son, and Holy Spirit, and he has destined us to share in that exchange” (221).

Believing in one God has implications for us: “Faith in God leads us to turn to him alone as our first origin and our ultimate goal, and neither to prefer anything to him nor to substitute anything for him” (229).

It means that we must come to know God’s majesty, that we must live in thanksgiving for all that we have received from Him, that we must recognize the unity and dignity of all persons, that we must make good use of His creation, and that we must trust Him in all things.  As the Youth Catechism of the Catholic Church puts it:

After all, to know God means to know that he who created and willed me, who looks at me every moment with love, who blesses and upholds my life, who has the world and the people I love in his hand, who waits longingly for me, who wishes to fulfill and perfect me and to make me dwell forever with him—is there (34).

We were made by God for God, made to meet Him our Maker on that glorious day that we hope for in every movement of our life. In every word, thought, and action our hearts should whisper these words…”I Believe in God.” For what else can we be living for?

If you are struggling with this, or if you see the need to fully believe but feel a sense of inadequacy or confusion in your life of faith, perhaps this prayer will help you get to where you should be:

My Lord and my God, take from me everything that distances me from you.
My Lord and my God, give me everything that brings me closer to you.
My Lord and my God, detach me from myself to give my all to you.

-St Nicholas of Flüe (CCC 226)

This is our eighth Year of Faith reflection on the Catechism of the Catholic Church here on Open Wide the Doors. See our first post here

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