Editorial Comments -
We are pleased to introduce Richard Maffeo in a new column: We Believe. Richard is a convert to Catholicism from evangelical Protestant faith. He wrote forty meditations based on the Nicene Creed to stir a passion within the hearts of his fellow Catholics - a passion "for the faith that was once for all handed down to the holy ones" (Jude 1:3). His meditations are compiled in his book, "We Believe: Forty Meditations on the Nicene Creed." The book is available through bookstores and his website.
For Us MenCreed Statement: Through him all things were made, for us men and for our salvation..Are not five sparrows sold for two small coins? Yet not one of them has escaped the notice of God. Even the hairs of your head have all been counted. Do not be afraid. You are worth more than many sparrows
From We Believe - A reflection series on the Nicene Creed
By Rich Maffeo
According to some surveys, many of us see ourselves as little more than misplaced commas in the Novel of Life. Our existence adds nothing to the story line. That might be why 400,000 people in the United States alone attempt suicide each year. That might also be why nearly 12 million Americans routinely use illegal drugs and why millions of families have been ripped apart by divorce.
But, is that what we are, simply misplaced jots on the page of life? Do we have purpose, and does anyone care we exist?
Yes, we have great purpose, and yes, someone really does care. Our Father repeatedly tells us we are not commas, but exclamation points across the face of His creation. "For I know well the plans I have in mind for you," 'says the Lord,' "plans for your welfare, not for woe! Plans to give you a future full of hope" (Jeremiah 29:11).
The Nicene Fathers didn't pull the idea of our immeasurable value to God from the air. When they wrote, "For us men and for our salvation He came down from heaven," they synthesized God's unfathomable love for humanity from hundreds of Scripture texts, texts such as:
"For God so loved the world, that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him shall not perish, but have eternal life" (John 3:16 NASB).
"In this is love: not that we have loved God, but that he loved us and sent his Son as expiation [atonement] for our sins" (1 John 4:10).
"Can a mother forget her infant, be without tenderness for the child of her womb? Even should she forget, I will never forget you. See, upon the palms of my hands I have written your name; your walls are ever before me" (Isaiah 49:15, 16).
Scripture's declaration of our value to God leaps off the pages from one end of the Book to the other. We are precious to Him, and He longs to gather each of us - exclamation point by exclamation point - to Himself.
Surveys that illustrate low self-esteem reflect the fruit of Satan's oft repeated lies threaded through the media and in school classrooms: There is no God. Eternal life is a myth. We're products of accidental evolutionary forces. When we die, we're forever dead.
No wonder so many lose hope - perhaps even some in the Church who, each week, receive God's invitation to the Table.
It doesn't have to be that way. Each time we recite this section of the Creed, we can turn our backs on demon-inspired lies that rob us of joy and confidence. We can allow the words of the Creed to seep into our spirits and nurture our faith so we can live self-confidently in the assurance of God's love.
What more could our Father do to convince us of our incredible value to Him than what He did for us on Calvary?
Prayer (based on Ephesians, chapter one): I praise You Father, because in Your great love You predestined me to be adopted as Your child through Christ. I thank You that in Him I have redemption through His blood and forgiveness of sins because of Your wonderful grace lavished on me. Help me live in confidence as Your child. Amen.
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These meditations are compiled in the book, "We Believe: Forty Meditations on the Nicene Creed." The book is available through bookstores and this website.