Venerable Bruno Lanteri recommends these sentiments in his Spiritual Directory, “At the Creed, that of a martyr.”
Background: Extraordinary Form of the Mass
Because Venerable Bruno wrote his preparation for the Tridentine Mass, it would be good to see what is going on at this point in the extraordinary form of the Mass.
After returning from the ambo, the priest recites the Creed. At High Mass, the priest sits and recites the Creed while the choir sings the Creed. Everyone kneels at the words “And by the Holy Spirit was incarnate of the Virgin Mary and become man.”
Lesson: Will I stand up for what I believe in?
How many times have someone confronted me with a question about the Faith? Too many to count. How many times was I too intimidated to respond and weaseled out of the conversation? Too many to count.
Where can I build up courage in the faith? One place is the Mass. The Scripture passages should encourage and teach us to be firm. Each time we receive Jesus at Communion, we receive a boost in courage and faith.
But we also practice that courage at the Creed in the Mass. Councils at Nicaea (325) and Constantinople (381) developed the Creed to summarize the Faith. Both councils were battling the rising tide of Arianism, a heresy that denies the divinity of Christ. The Church asks us to recite the Creed every Sunday and solemnity and reaffirm the faith the Church has since the beginning.
Venerable Bruno asks that when we recite the Creed, we foster the sentiments of the martyrs. Sometimes, we can think that martyrdom belonged to the distant past. But Christians continue to suffer and die for the faith around the world today. Check out the accounts from Aid to the Church in Need and The Voice of the Martyrs. They inspire us with their faith. We support them with our prayers and other means.
Fostering the sentiments of the martyrs plug us into their courage. When I do foster that attitude, I feel more emboldened during the Creed. Our recitation joins others around the world and through time. When our recitation falls short, they buoy us up. Ours support theirs when they falter.
Maybe you can call to mind a favorite saint or a recent martyr. My favorites were the Asian martyrs (Filipino, Japanese, Chinese and Korean). Their courage and perseverance, even the children’s, humble me and inspire me.
When the priest starts, “I believe in God …,” make that a launching pad. Stand up with confidence, feel the persistent stability of the martyrs and join your voice with the rest of the Church.
Scripture passages for prayer:
- 2 Maccabees 7: The martyrdom of the mother and her seven sons.
- Mark 13:11: The Holy Spirit will give you the words before your persecutors.
- Acts 6:8-7:60: Stephen, the first martyr.
- When have you spoken boldly of the Faith? When were you afraid to speak up?
- How can you express your faith more in your daily life?
- How can you support Christians suffering persecution today?