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The Nicene Creed

I believe in one God,

the Father almighty,

maker of heaven and earth,

of all things visible and invisible.

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.

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 our sake he was crucified under Pontius Pilate,

he suffered death and was buried,  

and rose again on the third day

in accordance with the Scriptures.

He ascended into heaven 

and is seated at the right hand of the Father.

He will come again in glory

to judge the living and the dead

and his kingdom will have no end.

I believe in the Holy Spirit, the Lord, the giver of life,

who proceeds from the Father and the Son,

who with the Father and the Son is adored and glorified,

who has spoken through the prophets.

I believe in one, holy, catholic and apostolic Church.

I confess one Baptism for the forgiveness of sins

and I look forward to the resurrection of the dead

and the life of the world to come. Amen.

The Meaning of the Nicene Creed: Why It’s Still Relevant 17 Centuries Later

Nicene Creed

​What is the Meaning behind the Nicene Creed?

Nicene Creed

When we consider the meaning behind the Nicene Creed and long before the movie Creed hit theaters November 25, there was a different Creed garnering much buzz and grabbing people’s attention. Going way back to the 4th century in the year 325, a group of 318 bishops came from Rome, Jerusalem, Palestine, Egypt, Syria, Greece, Asia Minor, and more to meet in Nicaea (present-day Iznik, Turkey) at the request of Emperor Constantine and several concerned bishops. What were they concerned about and why the haste to hold such a meeting?

Heretics running rampant

At that time, heretics led by a priest—Arius in Egypt—were raising questions about Jesus’ divinity. Heretics believed that if Jesus was created by God He must have had a beginning, and therefore, like every other part of creation, was not as eternal as God. They claimed that He had special powers given to Him by God but that He was human, not true God. Hearing that this debate was spreading throughout the area, bishops called for a meeting to defend their Christian beliefs—that there is One God, who is Father, Son, and Holy Spirit—and to uphold the doctrine of the Church.

Saints among the crowd

Among the many clergy attending the meeting, were bishops who would later become saints, including St. Silvester, St. Nicholas of Myra, St. Eusebius of Caesarea, St. Athanasius, and St. Alexander of Alexandria.

After meeting for a month, the bishops created the Nicene Creed (named after the area where they met), which states in clear terms the tenets of the Christian faith. While the Nicene Creed didn’t completely eradicate all heresy, it had a profound impact, and is recited worldwide throughout churches today. Interestingly, it’s a statement recognized not just by Catholics, but by Orthodox as well as many Protestants. In 381, church members met again at the Council of Constantinople to expand the Creed to define the divinity of the Holy Spirit. The official name of the Nicene Creed is the Niceno-Constantinopolitan Creed.

When is it said?

The Nicene Creed didn’t become part of the Mass until the 6th century at the urging of Patriarch Timothy of Constantinople to combat heresy that was still taking a stronghold. The creed is said out loud on Sundays and on holy days after the homily. The Nicene Creed is often confused with the Apostles Creed, which is a simpler version of our faith.

Still relevant today

Like the trusty reminder apps on our smart phones, the Nicene Creed reminds us why we go to mass each week and try to live a Christ-like life once we leave the doors of the church. It’s a handy, summary of everything we believe in. While fads come and go, this simple, profession of faith is still relevant today as it was nearly 1,700 years ago. Just as in Emperor Constantine’s time, we are still surrounded by people who say the Catholic teachings are far-fetched, disputable, or don’t make sense. In a world where it’s easy to idolize celebrities and athletes, we need the Nicene Creed to bring us back to the roots of our faith.

Nicene Creed

Let's Break it Down Line by Line

"I believe in one God, the Father almighty, maker of heaven and earth, of all things visible and invisible."

We are proclaiming that we believe in one God, who is almighty—having absolute power over all—who is the creator of everything in existence, spanning heaven and earth and things that are visible to the eye and things that are not, such as angels.

"Jesus is 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."

Here, the Church is making clear the divinity of Jesus, that He was not made or created by the Father, but that He always existed “before all ages.” There was never a time when Jesus did not exist. It helps to understand this line further by defining certain words. Merriam-Webster defines begotten as: “to produce especially as an effect or outgrowth,” and consubstantial as: “of the same substance.” Jesus therefore, is of the same substance of God the Father, and both are one in the same. Christ was generated or brought forth from something that already existed; He was not created like when we were conceived and born.

"Through him all things were made. 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."

This is the core of our faith: Jesus became human and walked the same earth we do to save us from death. Unlike us, He was conceived by the Holy Spirit and was both divine and human. The Virgin Mary is also referenced to remind us of her role in our salvation.

"For our sake he was crucified under Pontius Pilate, he suffered death and was buried, and rose again on the third day in accordance with the Scriptures. He ascended into heaven and is seated at the right hand of the Father. He will come again in glory to judge the living and the dead and his kingdom will have no end."

As Jesus foretold, He suffered, died, and rose again three days later to give us the gift of eternal life. Forty days after His resurrection, He left the physical world and ascended into heaven. As believers we’re reminded that Jesus will come a second time to judge all the living and the dead and for those worthy will enjoy eternal peace in God’s endless kingdom.

"I believe in the Holy Spirit, the Lord, the giver of life, who proceeds from the Father and the Son, who with the Father and the Son is adored and glorified, who has spoken through the prophets."

The Holy Spirit is the third person of the Trinity and as the Creed states, should be adored and glorified, because the Holy Spirit is God. As Scripture shows us, there were instances when the prophets reveal that the Holy Spirit spoke through them, “The Spirit of the Lord God is upon me, because the Lord has anointed me to bring good tidings to the afflicted….”(Isaiah 61:1) and “Then the Spirit of the LORD came upon me, and he told me to say, ‘This is what the LORD says to the people of Israel: I know what you are saying, for I know every thought that comes into your minds (Ezekiel 11:5).’”

"I believe in one, holy, catholic and apostolic Church. I confess one baptism for the forgiveness of sins and I look forward to the resurrection of the dead and the life of the world to come. Amen."

In the final lines, we “confess” or “believe” that through our baptism we have been rid of original sin, and that we, along with all those who die, will one day enjoy unending eternal bliss with God.

​If you are looking for some quality prayer cards with the nicene creed take a look at these:

Nicene Creed Prayer Cards

Catholic Creed: Why Do We Need a Creed?

Catholic Creed: Why Do We Need a Creed?
Catholic Creed: Why Do We Need a Creed?

Our Catholic creed captures the essence of our faith and the truths that are at the heart of Catholic Church teachings. The Catholic creed is as relevant today as it was in the formative years of the church. To better appreciate the importance of our Catholic creed we need to understand what it really is.

What is a Creed?

The word creed is anglicized from “credo,” a Latin word that means “I believe.” During its formative years, the Catholic Church developed statements of beliefs as a guide for their threefold ministry.


“Go, therefore, and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all that I have commanded you. And behold, I am with you always, until the end of the age.”

- Matthew 28:19-20

This threefold ministry of the church is based on the command that Jesus gave to his disciples at the end of the gospel of Matthew. This command is also known as the Great Commission and through it Jesus instructs us to:

  1. Make disciples of all nations
  2. Baptize them in the name of the Father, and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit
  3. Teaching them to observe all that I have commanded you.

The early church created statements that corresponded with its threefold ministry. These statements proclaimed Jesus’ identity as well as the great sacrifice He did for humanity. In its baptizing efforts, the church would profess God as Father, Son and Holy Spirit.

Last but not the least, the church’s mission to teach included proclamations of Jesus’ instructions and teachings about faith.

Why Do We Need a Catholic Creed?

In the past, the creeds were an important way for the church to instill its mission and help Christians fulfill their duties. The Catholic creed serves the same purpose today. It summarizes the central truths of our faith and it symbolizes the faith of the whole church. When we recite the creed, we proclaim both our individual identity in Christ and our identity as a part of the whole church.

We need to keep in mind that the creed is not meant to replace our personal faith. Rather, it gives substance to our faith. Reciting the different Catholic creeds is a wonderful way for us to remember our salvation and affirm our faith.

Aside from being a personal proclamation of our Catholic beliefs, the creed guides us in the way we must live as Christians. We can think of our Catholic creed as a map for navigating through the real world. It helps us stay within the righteous path and stops us from going astray.

The Apostle’s Creed

The Apostle’s Creed is perhaps one of the most well-known Catholic creed and is a summary of the apostles’ faith. Sometimes called the Symbol of the Apostles, it is an early statement of Christian belief and has been used by Christians since the fourth century.

The Apostle’s Creed emphasizes twelve important principles that are taught in the New Testament. These are:

  1. God is our creator and father so we can count on Him to love and protect us. 
  2. Jesus is our Lord so our lives are not our own.
  3. Jesus was conceived by the Holy Spirit through Mary and so He is sinless from birth.
  4. Jesus lived a righteous life and died to save us from our sins.
  5. Jesus resurrected from the dead and reminds us that we, too, will be resurrected to live in eternity with the Father.
  6. Jesus ascended into heaven and intercedes on our behalf.
  7. Jesus will return to pass judgment upon the world.
  8. The Holy Spirit, as part of the Holy Trinity, united us to Jesus Christ.
  9. There is one universal church and God has and always gather and protect His church.
  10. We are part of the communion of saints and so we must care for one another as members of God’s family.
  11. We have been forgiven of our sins through Christ.
  12. We will be resurrected to join God in eternity.

The Athanasian Creed

The Athanasian Creed is an early summary of Christian doctrine. The authorship is often attributed to Athanasius, the archbishop of Alexandria, who lived in the 4th century A.D., hence the name. 

Since ancient times, the church has been bombarded with heresies and one of the most common one attacks the divinity and personhood of Jesus Christ. The Athanasian Creed refutes this false teaching and emphasizes the importance of having a Trinitarian belief in God.

In other words, all members of the Holy Trinity are uncreated, co-eternal and of the same substance. Through the Athanasian Creed, we are reminded that Jesus is part of the Holy Trinity and that his incarnation did not change his divine nature into a human one.

The Nicene Creed

The Nicene Creed is another common Catholic creed. This profession of faith is part of Mass and is recited at the start of Liturgy of the Eucharist and after the reading of the gospel and homily.

The Nicene Creed emphasizes many of the fundamental tenets of our faith. Its core affirmations include its statement of belief in the immortality of the soul, resurrection and forgiveness of sins through the baptismal process. 

Aside from its religious and spiritual relevance, the Nicene Creed is also historically significant because it reflects the issues raised in the First Council of Nicaea in 325. During that time, many heresies were spread and of them was the doctrine of Arianism which refutes the divinity of Jesus Christ. The Council of Nicaea was convened to address this controversy.

Why do you consider the Catholic creeds important? How do you apply its teachings in your personal life?

Demonic Oppression and How to Deal with It

​Struggling with Demonic Oppression?

Are you struggling in your spiritual life? Do you find yourself feeling indifferent toward your religious convictions? If so, you might be experiencing demonic oppression.

Demonic oppression may sound like the stuff that horror movies are made of but it is a very real concern for us Catholics.

What is Demonic Oppression?

For our struggle is not with flesh and blood but with the principalities, with the powers, with the world rulers of this present darkness, with the evil spirits in the heavens. — Ephesians 6:12

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To better understand demonic oppression, we need to first acknowledge that there is a spiritual war taking place between the forces of God and the forces of Satan. The forces of the Devil were formerly angels who resisted God and they will do all that they can to tempt people into turning away from the path of righteousness.

Demonic oppression happens when we fall into the temptation of evil spiritual forces. Demons cloud our judgement and cause us to stay in bondage to our sinful nature. It is different from possession because when someone is possessed, demons assume control of their body. This usually results in the person displaying unusual physical attributes like extraordinary strength.

In Mark 5, we can read an example of a man possessed by an unclean spirit and he could not be chained because of how strong he was:


They came to the other side of the sea, to the territory of the Gerasenes.

When he got out of the boat, at once a man from the tombs who had an unclean spirit met him.

The man had been dwelling among the tombs, and no one could restrain him any longer, even with a chain.

In fact, he had frequently been bound with shackles and chains, but the chains had been pulled apart by him and the shackles smashed, and no one was strong enough to subdue him.

Mark 5:1-5

On the other hand, when someone experiences demonic oppression he becomes beset with difficulties. He experiences many troubles and temptations and may feel weighed down emotionally, psychologically and spiritually. If he is unable to resist, he will eventually fall under the influence of the evil spirit that is wreaking havoc upon his life.

The story of Job in the Bible is one example of a man who experienced demonic oppression. Job went through tremendous hardship in his life. His family was killed, he lost his wealth and he got physically sick. Although Job was not possessed, he was oppressed spiritually.

My spirit is broken, my days finished, my burial at hand. Surely mockers surround me, at their provocation, my eyes grow dim. — Job 17:1-2

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Signs that You Might Be Under Demonic Oppression

We become vulnerable to demonic oppression when we do things that open us to the influence of the Devil. Some examples of these activities include abusing substances and drugs that alter our state of mind, dabbling in occult activities like divination, astrology, Ouija boards and tarot cards and exposing ourselves to media like books and movies that are depressing, dark and demonic.

The bottom line is when we allow ourselves to be influenced by things that are contrary to the ways of God, we become oppressed spiritually.

Demonic oppression may seem subtle at first but if we do not pay attention to the red flags and do something, it becomes insidious and devastating. The following are some of the signs that we should look out for:

  • ​Physical symptoms like sleeplessness, addictions, inexplicable ailments, sexual perversions, over-eating, abusing substances and self-mutilation
  • ​Spiritual deadness which will manifest in an inability to pray, apathy or anger toward God, becoming interested in false religions and lack of guilt when doing something wrong
  • ​Emotional turmoil like uncontrollable anger, fluctuating moods and emotions, low self confidence, a feeling of hopelessness and lack of purpose
  • Financial troubles like constant and unusual financial problems

How to Overcome Demonic Oppression

Demonic oppression | Catholic Faith Store

Demonic oppression is not like a physical illness that can be cured with medication or treatment and this makes it a complex problem to address. However, we must remember that our God is powerful and faithful and through Him we can overcome any hardship even demonic oppression.

Here are the things you can do if you are experiencing demonic oppression and want to break free from it:

1. Admit that you have sinned and evaluate your situation.

Spend time to evaluate your life and how you got to the present situation. What decisions and behavioral patterns caused you to be ensnared in the sinful act? Awareness of your thoughts and actions will help keep you from falling into the same problem in the future.

2. Confess your sins and ask God for forgiveness.

Go to your parish priest and confess your sins. Sincerely ask God for forgiveness and renounce your sin. You must resolve not to fall into the same sinful patterns again by identifying your triggers and vulnerabilities.

3. Claim God’s promises.

Renouncing your sin requires daily commitment and there will be days in which you will feel vulnerable and weak. This is where God’s Word will come in. The Bible has many words of wisdom and promises that we can claim during difficult times.

Whenever you feel like you are experiencing demonic oppression once again, cling to these passages from Scripture and use these to rebuke the evil spirit that is tempting you:

  • You belong to God, children, and you have conquered them, for the one who is in you is greater than the one who is in the world. - 1 John 4:4
  • ​​He delivered us from the power of darkness and transferred us to the kingdom of his beloved Son, in whom we have redemption, the forgiveness of sins. - Colossians 1:13-14
  • Whoever sins belongs to the devil, because the devil has sinned from the beginning. Indeed, the Son of God was revealed to destroy the works of the devil. - 1 John 3:8
  • They conquered him by the blood of the Lamb and by the word of their testimony; love for life did not deter them from death. - Revelation 12:11

4. Pray constantly.

Make prayer a daily habit. Spend time first thing in the morning to pray to God. Pour out your heart to Him and let Him know your deepest struggles. Ask Him for guidance and wisdom that you can use for your day.

At a minimum we suggest you should pray the Our Father, the Hail Mary, and the Nicene Creed.

5. Find a spiritual accountability person.

Your spiritual accountability person is someone who will be praying for you and helping you in your journey out of demonic oppression. This person should be more spiritually mature than you and who is willing to help you in your struggles by giving you sound advice and guidance. You may ask your parish priest to be your accountability person. 

What hardships are you experiencing in your life right now?

Could this be demonic oppression?

How are you dealing with your struggles?

Why Do We Sit, Stand and Kneel at Catholic Mass?

Catholic Mass Order: The act of Sitting, Standing and Kneeling at Mass. Why do we do that? | Catholic Faith Store

The Basics of the Catholic Mass Order

The Catholic Faith liturgy follows its own unique set of religious rituals and traditions which are part of the Catholic Mass Order. As a member of the Catholic Faith, you probably observed some of these practices which include sitting, standing and kneeling during mass. So why do we do these things and what do they signify?

To better understand the meaning behind the physical gestures that we perform during the Catholic Mass, we need to keep in mind two basic elements of the Catholic Mass Order.

The priest acts as Jesus

During the mass, the priest is not just leading the celebration of the Eucharist, he is acting the role of Jesus.

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As Jesus, he leads us to do the different gestures, traditions and rituals that are part of the Catholic Mass Order. This is why we sit and stand when the priest sits and stands. This is also the reason why altar servers and other priests bow when they approach the celebrating priest. In this way they are showing reverence to Christ who is represented by the priest.

Jesus is present in the Eucharist

Another important thing that we should understand about the Catholic Mass is that Jesus is present in the consecrated Eucharist. This is in accordance to the doctrine of transubstantiation which states that the bread and wine become Jesus at a certain point during the Mass. The bread and wine retain their appearance but are actually transformed into the body and blood of Christ.

Why We Sit During the Mass

At the beginning of every mass, we start in a sitting position. Sitting is considered the base position of worship. This is the position from which we can stand and kneel. We sit when we are listening to the first two readings during Mass which is based on the Lectionary.

We also sit down after the Gospel reading, focused and attentively taking in the homily. We remain while waiting for the Eucharistic elements to be prepared, a very meaningful gesture because we expectantly wait and rise when the priest is ready.

Why We Stand During the Mass

The Catholic Mass starts with the Penitential Act which happens right after the priest walks down to the sanctuary. During this part of the Catholic Mass Order, we acclaim the Kyrie Eleison by saying “Lord, have mercy.”

The Kyrie Eleison is an ancient Christian tradition in which we confess our sinfulness to our Almighty Father and to our fellow Christians. This is in compliance to the New Testament command for us to admit our sins to one another.

During the Kyrie Eleison and most prayers during Mass, Catholics stand up. Standing has been considered the appropriate position for prayer since before Christ’s time. When we stand, we are following this centuries old tradition.

Standing is also a simple but profound way of honoring and respecting Jesus who is represented by the priest during Mass. During the first two readings of the Bible, we are seated and listening but during the Gospel reading, we stand up.

The Gospel is the Word of God and to hear these is a great honor which is why we ascend from our base position of worship. We stand to acknowledge the significance of hearing God’s very own words.

During the reading of the gospel, we make a small sign of the cross using our thumb on our forehead, lips and over our hearts. This simple act is a symbolic request for God to impress His Word upon our minds, lips and heart.

When the priest is done reading the Gospel, he will show respect to the Words of God by kissing the Gospel and then start his homily. After the homily, we stand up to recite our either the Nicene Creed or Apostle’s Creed as a Profession of Faith.

Why We Kneel During the Mass

Kneeling is the most humble way of worshipping God during Mass. When we kneel, we completely submit and surrender ourselves to our Heavenly Father. We kneel during several parts of the Mass.

After the Profession of Faith, we spend the rest of the Mass on our knees. This is an incredible act of faith and devotion because when we kneel, we acknowledge that Jesus is really coming. In light of the doctrine of transubstantiation, we kneel to recognize Jesus’ presence in the Eucharistic elements after the priest says the Eucharistic Prayers.

As we kneel during the rest of the Mass, the priest will perform a number of meaningful gestures. One gesture is the sign of the cross which the priest will do at different parts of the Mass, a prayer request for Christ to come and help strengthen us with His gifts. He will make the sign of the cross over the elements and proclaim “This is my body,” and “This is my blood” over the bread and wine.

Once the bread and wine are consecrated, the priest and the people celebrating with him will kneel in front of the elements to express reverence. The rest of us will rise again when the Lord’s Prayer and the Sign of Peace are said.

The Mass is rich with meaning, every element and gesture represents something profound and beautiful. When we understand these different meanings and take them to heart, each moment we spend during Mass will certainly become more transformative and nourishing to our souls.

General Guide for Catholic Mass




Start of Mass until the first reading


First reading until the beginning of the Gospel Acclamation


Beginning of the Gospel Acclamation until the end of the Gospel Reading


For the homily


Beginning of the Creed to the end of the general intercessions


Preparation of the gifts until the end of "Pray, brothers and sisters . . ." 


From the beginning of "May the Lord accept this sacrifice . . ." until the end of the Holy, Holy


Eucharistic Prayer


The Our Father until the beginning of the Lamb of God

Kneel / Stand

End of the Lamb of God until distribution of Holy Communion


Receiving Holy Communion

Kneel / Sit

Silence after Holy Communion


Prayer after Communion until the end of Mass

The Apostles’ Creed: Did The Apostles Really Write It?

The Apostles' Creed

The Apostles' Creed

If the twelve apostles had a website, their “About Us” page would read a lot like the words of The Apostles’ Creed. It would say that they are followers of Christ on a mission to spread the Gospel and that each of them believes in:

God, the Father almighty, Creator of Heaven and earth and in Jesus Christ, His only Son, our Lord, who was conceived by the Holy Spirit, born of the Virgin Mary, suffered under Pontius Pilate, was crucified, died and was buried; He descended into hell; on the third day He rose again from the dead; He ascended into Heaven and is seated at the right hand of God the Father almighty; from there He will come to judge the living and the dead. I believe in the Holy Spirit, the Holy Catholic Church, the Communion of Saints, the forgiveness of sins, the resurrection of the body, and life everlasting. Amen.

The word creed comes from the Latin word credo, meaning to believe, trust, entrust. Much like The Nicene Creed, The Apostles’ Creed, states the main tenets of the Catholic faith and all that we as followers of Jesus believe.

The Catechism of the Catholic Church compares the impact of the creed to the mustard seed: “…Just as the mustard seed contains a great number of branches in a tiny grain, so too this summary of faith encompassed in a few words the whole knowledge of the true religion contained in the Old and the New Testaments.”

What are the origins of The Apostles’ Creed?

Unlike The Nicene Creed, The origins of The Apostles’ Creed are not clear. Many have long believed that the creed (as the name implies) was drafted by the apostles. According to tradition held that on the day of Pentecost, the apostles wrote the creed under the guidance of the Holy Spirit. Each apostle was believed to have written one of the twelve parts of faith that are expressed in the creed.

This idea has since been disputed. Instead, scholars believe The Apostles’ Creed came about from interrogations made by the bishop to catechumens (those preparing to be baptized) in the early church. The bishop would ask, “Dost thou believe in God the Father Almighty?” “Dost thou believe in the forgiveness of sins, the resurrection of the body, and life everlasting?” and so on. The Apostles’ Creed is the ancient baptismal symbol of the Church of Rome.

This baptismal creed was eventually replaced by the Apostles’ Creed during baptisms and it was recognized as the official statement of faith of the entire Catholic Church in the West by 1198–1216.

So while the apostles may not have actually drafted The Apostles’ Creed, it summarizes their teachings and beliefs, thus making the name of the creed appropriate.

What’s the difference between the two creeds?

The Apostles’ Creed is the earlier, abridged version of The Nicene Creed. In the 4th century, heretics were questioning Jesus’ divinity and doubting the Holy Trinity. Disturbed by these rumors spreading around, bishops assembled twice—in Nicea and at the Council of Constantinople—to refute any doubts that there is One God, who is Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. From these meetings was born The Niceno-Constantinopolitan Creed (Nicene Creed) an expanded version of The Apostles’ Creed. The Nicene Creed explains the Catholic faith in greater detail.

When is each creed said?

The Nicene Creed is said during Sunday mass, while The Apostles’ Creed is usually said at mass where children will be present as it is shorter and easier to understand. The Apostles’ Creed is also used in such devotions as the Rosary and The Chaplet of Divine Mercy.

St. Martin of Tours and the War of Wars

The wind is howling and the temperature is dropping here in New Mexico. I just want to be inside, curled up with a cup of hot chocolate. Early in the winter season, I find myself longing for more sunshine. At this time of year in Germany and the Netherlands, the feast of St. Martin of Tours is celebrated with a lantern procession–an image of bringing light into the darkness.

St. Martin was a Roman soldier during the days of the Church Fathers. He is associated with light because he sought to spread truth and fight against heresy. He is most celebrated for his Christ-like generosity.

St. Martin was disowned by his pagan parents when he became a Christian. So he had very few material possessions, except a thick woolen cloak that soldiers wore. When he saw a beggar who was freezing in the fierce winds sweeping across Gaul, Martin was moved with pity. He pulled off his cloak and cut it in two, giving half to the beggar. That night he had a vision of Jesus wearing that red cloak and calling on Martin to finish the process of Christian initiation. He immediately set out to be baptized and to spread a message of charity and truth.

St. Martin’s feast day falls on Veteran’s Day which seems appropriate since he was a soldier. Veteran’s Day was created originally to commemorate the armistice which ended the hostilities of World War I. That war was to be “the war to end all war.” President Woodrow Wilson wrote: “Whereas the 11th of November 1918, marked the cessation of the most destructive…and far reaching war in human annals and the resumption by the people of the United States of peaceful relations with other nations, which we hope may never again be severed…the President of the United States is…inviting the people of the United States to observe the day in schools and churches…with appropriate ceremonies of friendly relations with all other peoples.

We know now that the “war to end all wars” was a dream and a glorious hope. Wars continue as a result of the sin and evil in our world. Veterans Day is a time to celebrate the heroes who risk their lives, again and again, to protect and defend our country.

In the fourth century, the era of St. Ambrose, St. Ephraim, St. Athanasius, St. Augustine and the Nicene Council, there were persecutions, fear and false doctrines. There was a need for constant clarification of truth. That same spiritual battle has not ended. Christians are still persecuted and we live in a dark world of immorality, self aggrandizement and false gods. We are in need of Light.

St. Martin became a warrior against heresy. As with all spiritual battles, it began with himself. He fought against selfishness. He fought against pride. He fought to stay true to the Gospel.

St. Martin was trained to fight on behalf of an earthly king. But he went on to fight for the King of Kings and his battle reminds us to remain vigilant and to welcome the Light of truth that comes to us in our faith.

Let’s ask God to bless our Church with the light of wisdom and charity. And may God bless our country with an appreciation for our veterans and with a return to Christian values. In God we trust!