Organize Your Spiritual Life — By Fr. Rich, O.P.
A creedal statement is “an authoritative, formulated statement of the chief articles of Christian belief.” The one we publicly profess most regularly is the Nicene Creed, which is popularly thought to have been promulgated by the Council of Nicaea. Current scholarship has uncovered a more complex history, which is beyond the scope of this column, but makes for interesting reading. (See www.britannica.com/topic/Nicene-Creed)
Creedal statements help us to remember what is fundamental to the ordering of our spiritual lives. They tend to be succinct, easy to recall. They tend to be created for the long view; basic statements on which to build our prayer, our study, our ministries. They help to ground us in uncertain times, anchor us when the world around us is in chaos or distress.
In 1990, before some of you were born, I was in a class at the seminary in Denver, taking some random theology classes as a lay student. One of my classes required that I create a creedal statement by which I tried to organize my spiritual life. I was asked to write about what drove me in my relationship with God and those around me.
Not too long ago, I was reviewing some old texts that I had travelled with for some time. I discovered my statement. As we begin 2018, I would invite each of you to take some time and consider the same question that challenged me 28 years ago. I invite you to create for yourselves a creedal statement, to organize your spiritual life and to discover what drives you in your relationship with God and those around you.
I ask your indulgence as I offer my efforts as an example of a personal creed. So, I’ve recreated my statement; it is still in most areas an accurate representation of my “creed.”
In the power of words; in the power of the Word,
in the power of commitment, and in the power of the committed,
in the power of contemplation; in the power of considered action.
I could suffer more easily today, if I knew it would help somebody suffer less tomorrow!
In the power of human contact; in the power of contacting the humanness in each of us.
there is always an answer; either in us or around us,
that God always listens and hears; and that we don’t always do either.
in the power of music; in the power of art.
in the power of children; in the power of the child in each of us,
in the power of the commonplace.
that each contact with one another is an opportunity to see God and to serve God.
The world is unlikely to get less complicated, less stressful. It is unlikely to be less rife with violence and distrust, less full of challenges to our desire to love God and those around us.
However, we do have the power to make our lives more contemplative and prayerful. We do have the power to order our lives grounded in the Ten Commandments, the Beatitudes, the corporal and spiritual works of mercy. We do have the power to decide how we will respond to our world.
A creedal statement, “an authoritative, formulated statement” of our own foundational beliefs, can help us to exercise that power. Take some time to formulate one; I suggest that it will make a difference in the new year, in our own lives and those around us whom we are called to love.
The Dominican family and parish staff wish you a New Year of blessings and God’s graced presence in each of your lives.