(Repost) Athanasian Creed : A Profession of the True Christian Faith

(Originally posted on 2 May 2014)

The Athanasian Creed by St. Athanasius of Alexandria, the courageous and zealous defender of the faith against the heretics who refused to see the truth in Christ, that He is fully divine and man, united in one person of Jesus Christ, who as the Son is equal with the Father and the Holy Spirit as the Most Holy Trinity, One God but Three Divine Persons.

 

Text of the Athanasian Creed:

 

Quicumque vult salvus esse, ante omnia opus est, ut teneat catholicam fidem: Quam nisi quisque integram inviolatamque servaverit, absque dubio in aeternum peribit.

Whosoever will be saved, before all things it is necessary that he hold the catholic faith. Which faith except every one do keep whole and undefiled; without doubt he shall perish everlastingly.

 

Fides autem catholica haec est: ut unum Deum in Trinitate, et Trinitatem in unitate veneremur. Neque confundentes personas, neque substantiam separantes.

And the Catholic faith is this: That we worship one God in Trinity, and Trinity in Unity; Neither confounding the Persons; nor dividing the Essence.

 

Alia est enim persona Patris alia Filii, alia Spiritus Sancti: Sed Patris, et Filii, et Spiritus Sancti una est divinitas, aequalis gloria, coeterna maiestas. Qualis Pater, talis Filius, talis et Spiritus Sanctus.

For there is one Person of the Father; another of the Son; and another of the Holy Ghost. But the Godhead of the Father, of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost, is all one; the Glory equal, the Majesty coeternal. Such as the Father is; such is the Son; and such is the Holy Ghost.

 

Increatus Pater, increatus Filius, increatus et Spiritus Sanctus. Immensus Pater, immensus Filius, immensus et Spiritus Sanctus. Aeternus Pater, aeternus Filius, aeternus et Spiritus Sanctus.

The Father uncreated; the Son uncreated; and the Holy Ghost uncreated. The Father unlimited; the Son unlimited; and the Holy Ghost unlimited. The Father eternal; the Son eternal; and the Holy Ghost eternal.

 

Et tamen non tres aeterni, sed unus aeternus. Sicut non tres increati, nec tres immensi, sed unus increatus, et unus immensus.

And yet they are not three eternals; but one eternal. As also there are not three uncreated; nor three infinites, but one uncreated; and one infinite.

 

Similiter omnipotens Pater, omnipotens Filius, omnipotens et Spiritus Sanctus. Et tamen non tres omnipotentes, sed unus omnipotens.

So likewise the Father is Almighty; the Son Almighty; and the Holy Ghost Almighty. And yet they are not three Almighties; but one Almighty.

 

Ita Deus Pater, Deus Filius, Deus et Spiritus Sanctus. Et tamen non tres dii, sed unus est Deus. Ita Dominus Pater, Dominus Filius, Dominus et Spiritus Sanctus. Et tamen non tres Domini, sed unus est Dominus.

So the Father is God; the Son is God; and the Holy Ghost is God. And yet they are not three Gods; but one God. So likewise the Father is Lord; the Son Lord; and the Holy Ghost Lord. And yet not three Lords; but one Lord.

 

Quia, sicut singillatim unamquamque personam Deum ac Dominum confiteri christiana veritate compellimur: Ita tres Deos aut tres Dominos dicere catholica religione prohibemur.

For like as we are compelled by the Christian verity; to acknowledge every Person by himself to be God and Lord; So are we forbidden by the catholic religion; to say, There are three Gods, or three Lords.

 

Pater a nullo est factus: nec creatus, nec genitus. Filius a Patre solo est: non factus, nec creatus, sed genitus. Spiritus Sanctus a Patre et Filio: non factus, nec creatus, nec genitus, sed procedens.

The Father is made of none; neither created, nor begotten. The Son is of the Father alone; not made, nor created; but begotten. The Holy Ghost is of the Father and of the Son; neither made, nor created, nor begotten; but proceeding.

 

Unus ergo Pater, non tres Patres: unus Filius, non tres Filii: unus Spiritus Sanctus, non tres Spiritus Sancti. Et in hac Trinitate nihil prius aut posterius, nihil maius aut minus: Sed totae tres personae coaeternae sibi sunt et coaequales.

So there is one Father, not three Fathers; one Son, not three Sons; one Holy Ghost, not three Holy Ghosts. And in this Trinity none is before, or after another; none is greater, or less than another. But the whole three Persons are coeternal, and coequal.

 

Ita, ut per omnia, sicut iam supra dictum est, et unitas in Trinitate, et Trinitas in unitate veneranda sit. Qui vult ergo salvus esse, ita de Trinitate sentiat.

So that in all things, as aforesaid; the Unity in Trinity, and the Trinity in Unity, is to be worshipped. He therefore that will be saved, let him thus think of the Trinity.

 

Sed necessarium est ad aeternam salutem, ut incarnationem quoque Domini nostri Iesu Christi fideliter credat. Est ergo fides recta ut credamus et confiteamur, quia Dominus noster Iesus Christus, Dei Filius, Deus pariter et homo est.

Furthermore it is necessary to everlasting salvation; that he also believe faithfully the Incarnation of our Lord Jesus Christ. For the right Faith is, that we believe and confess; that our Lord Jesus Christ, the Son of God, is God and Man.

 

Deus est ex substantia Patris ante saecula genitus: et homo est ex substantia matris in saeculo natus. Perfectus Deus, perfectus homo: ex anima rationali et humana carne subsistens. Aequalis Patri secundum divinitatem: minor Patre secundum humanitatem.

God, of the Essence of the Father; begotten before the worlds; and Man, of the Essence of his Mother, born in the world. Perfect God; and perfect Man, of a reasonable soul and human flesh subsisting. Equal to the Father, as touching his Godhead; and inferior to the Father as touching his Manhood.

 

Qui licet Deus sit et homo, non duo tamen, sed unus est Christus. Unus autem non conversione divinitatis in carnem, sed assumptione humanitatis in Deum. Unus omnino, non confusione substantiae, sed unitate personae.

Who although he is God and Man; yet he is not two, but one Christ. One; not by conversion of the Godhead into flesh; but by assumption of the Manhood by God. One altogether; not by confusion of Essence; but by unity of Person.

 

Nam sicut anima rationalis et caro unus est homo: ita Deus et homo unus est Christus. Qui passus est pro salute nostra: descendit ad inferos: tertia die resurrexit a mortuis.

For as the reasonable soul and flesh is one man; so God and Man is one Christ; Who suffered for our salvation; descended into hell; rose again the third day from the dead.

 

Ascendit ad in caelos, sedet ad dexteram Dei Patris omnipotentis. Inde venturus est judicare vivos et mortuos. Ad cujus adventum omnes homines resurgere habent cum corporibus suis; Et reddituri sunt de factis propriis rationem. Et qui bona egerunt, ibunt in vitam aeternam: qui vero mala, in ignem aeternum.

He ascended into heaven, he sitteth on the right hand of the God the Father Almighty, from whence he will come to judge the living and the dead. At whose coming all men will rise again with their bodies; And shall give account for their own works. And they that have done good shall go into life everlasting; and they that have done evil, into everlasting fire.

 

Haec est fides catholica, quam nisi quisque fideliter firmiterque crediderit, salvus esse non poterit.

This is the Catholic faith; which except a man believe truly and firmly, he cannot be saved.

(Easter Sunday) Sunday, 27 March 2016 : Easter Sunday of the Resurrection of our Lord Jesus Christ, Holy Week, Easter Octave (Gospel Reading)

Liturgical Colour : White

John 20 : 1-9

Now, on the first day after the Sabbath, Mary of Magdala came to the tomb early in the morning while it was still dark, and she saw that the stone blocking the tomb had been moved away. She ran to Peter, and the other disciple whom Jesus loved, and she said to them, “They have taken our Lord out of the tomb, and we don’t know where they have laid Him.”

Peter then set out with the other disciple to go to the tomb. They ran together, but the other disciple outran Peter and reached the tomb first. He bent down and saw the linen cloths lying flat, but he did not enter.

Then Simon Peter came, following him, and entered the tomb; he, too saw the linen cloths lying flat. The napkin, which had been around His head, was not lying flat like the other linen cloths, but lay rolled up in its place.

Then the other disciple, who had reached the tomb first, also went in; he saw and believed. Scripture clearly said that He must rise from the dead, but they had not yet understood that.

 

Alternative reading

Luke 24 : 1-12

On the Sabbath the women rested according to the commandment, but the first day of the week, at dawn, they went to the tomb with the perfumes and ointments they had prepared. Seeing the stone rolled away from the opening of the tomb, they entered, and were amazed to find that the body of the Lord Jesus was not there.

As they stood there wondering about this, two men in dazzling garments suddenly appeared beside them. In fright the women bowed to the ground. But the men said, “Why look for the living among the dead? You won’t find Him here. He is risen. Remember what He told you in Galilee, that the Son of Man had to be given into the hands of sinners, to be crucified, and to rise on the third day.” And they remembered Jesus’ words.

Returning from the tomb, they told the Eleven and all the others about these things. Among the women, who brought the news, were Mary Magdalene, Joanna, and Mary the mother of James. But however much they insisted, those who heard did not believe the seemingly nonsensical story.

Then Peter got up and ran to the tomb. All he saw, when he bent down and looked into the tomb, were the linen cloths, laid by themselves. He went home wondering.

Sunday, 20 March 2016 : Palm Sunday of the Passion of the Lord, Holy Week (First Reading)

Liturgical Colour : Red

Isaiah 50 : 4-7

The Lord YHVH has taught me so I speak as His disciple, and I know how to sustain the weary. Morning after morning He wakes me up to hear, to listen like a disciple.

The Lord YHVH has opened my ear. I have not rebelled, nor have I withdrawn. I offered my back to those who strike me, my cheeks to those who pulled my beard; neither did I shield my face from blows, spittle, and disgrace.

I have not despaired, for the Lord YHVH comes to my help. So, like a flint I set my face, knowing that I will not be disgraced.

(Usus Antiquior) Twenty-First Sunday after Pentecost (II Classis) – Sunday, 2 November 2014 : Epistle

Lectio Epistolae Beati Pauli Apostoli ad Ephesios – Lesson from the Epistle of Blessed Paul the Apostle to the Ephesians

Ephesians 6 : 10-17

Fratres : Confortamini in Domino et in potentia virtutis ejus. Induite vos armaturam Dei, ut possitis stare adversus insidias diaboli. Quoniam non est nobis colluctatio adversus carnem et sanguinem : sed adversus principes et potestates, adversus mundi rectores tenebrarum harum, contra spiritualia nequitiae, in caelestibus.

Propterea accipite armaturam Dei, ut possitis resistere in die malo et in omnibus perfecti stare. State ergo succincti lumbos vestros in veritate, et induti loricam justitiae, et calceati pedes in praeparatione Evangelii pacis.

In omnibus sumentes scutum fidei, in quo possitis omnia tela nequissimi ignea exstinguere : et galeam salutis assumite : et gladium Spiritus, quod est Verbum Dei.

English translation

Brethren, be strengthened in the Lord, and in the might of His power. All of you put on the armour of God, that you may be able to stand against the deceits of the devil. For our wrestling is not against flesh and blood, but against principalities and powers, against the rulers of the world of this darkness, against the spirits of wickedness in the high places.

Therefore, take unto you the armour of God, that you may be able to resist in the evil day, and to stand in all things perfect. Stand, therefore, having your loins girded about with truth, and having put on the breastplate of justice, and your feet shod with the preparation of the gospel of peace.

In all things take up the shield of faith, with which you may be able to extinguish all the fiery darts of the most wicked one. And take unto you the helmet of salvation, and the sword of the Spirit, which is the Word of God.

Tuesday, 14 October 2014 : 28th Week of Ordinary Time, Memorial of Pope St. Callistus I, Pope and Martyr (Homily and Scripture Reflections)

Liturgical Colour : Green or Red (Martyrs)

Brothers and sisters in Christ, today we heard in the Holy Scriptures and the Gospel about the nature of the Law of God, and how we ought to keep it in faith, and how important it is to understand what the Law is all about, and how to best apply it in our lives. It also highlighted the hypocrisy of the Pharisees and the teachers of the Law, who kept a superficial vigil and observance over the Law, but not understanding the true intent and meaning of the Law.

As is with any forms of laws, the Law of God is often bound to be misinterpreted and misused, especially when its meaning and purpose are not fully understood by those who enforce these laws. It is imperative that the people of God understand what the Law is all about, that is about love, and not just any forms of love, but the love which comes from the source of all love itself, that is God.

The Law is meant as the symbol and representation of love of God for us mankind, by giving us this set of guidance and pointers to help us to orientate ourselves in this world filled with temptations, darkness, evils, and impurities. The ultimate aim of the Law is indeed ultimately to keep us in God’s grace, and to bring us back to His love all of us who have sinned and walked away from Him.

But when those who were tasked to safeguard and apply the Law erred in their judgments and refused to listen to what the Lord had to say about them, then the Law lost its purpose, and ended up becoming a chore and a tedious thing for the people of God to maintain and keep. As a result, that was why Jesus criticised the Pharisees and the teachers of the Law who were obsessed with the external applications of the Law rather than the holistic applications of the Law.

Being too engrossed in the external and superficial application of the Law is dangerous, as this ended up in the Pharisees and the teachers of the Law adopting an excessively strict and burdensome interpretation of the Law, which brought a great burden on the people of God, and sadly that this is done not in the spirit of true understanding of the purpose of the Law, ending in the observance of the Law just for the sake of observing it, which will bring no benefit but instead condemnation.

Brothers and sisters in Christ, therefore today we are all urged to turn deep into the Law of God, all the rules and observances which we have known in the Church, and begin to appreciate them in complete fullness and find the true meaning and purpose of the Law, that is the love of God for us, and His great desire to reunite us with Himself, so that we may be free from sin and unworthiness, and gain the eternal inheritance He had planned for us.

Today we celebrate together as the Church, the feast of Pope St. Callistus I, also known as Pope St. Callixtus I, the leader of the early Church and a martyr of the faith under the persecution of the Roman authorities at the time. Pope St. Callistus I was once a slave, who managed to escape his slavery and eventually became a servant of the Lord and His Church. He suffered many times for his Christian faith, and he was sent to many punishments by the authorities for that.

Nevertheless, eventually when Pope St. Callistus I was chosen as the Bishop of Rome and the successor of St. Peter the Apostle, and as the Vicar of Christ, he extended a new outreached hand towards those sinners and those who had erred in their path, committing adultery and fornication, allowing them to return to the Church to seek God’s mercy.

There were indeed serious oppositions to this policy, and some including the Saint Hippolytus were firmly opposed to the policies of Pope St. Callistus I who was seen as being too lenient against the sinners. St. Hippolytus was thus elected as a rival Bishop of Rome and Pope, in opposition to Pope St. Callistus I. But despite the differences and the rivalry between them, God continued to exercise His good intentions upon the world through them, as they continued to minister to the people of God in faith. Eventually both of them would also meet their end in martrydom, in the defense of their faith.

Brothers and sisters in Christ, the examples of the saints and the messages from the Holy Scriptures which we heard today, all call for us to reassess our own lives as well as our own actions and deeds. We have to remember that first, God is loving and merciful, and through the Law and rules which He had given us, He wants to bring us back to Him and be renewed in love, so that our sins may be cleansed, and we renewed and purified, may find justification and salvation in God.

However, at the same time, we cannot turn a blind eye on our sins and defects indeed. We cannot ignore them or to bypass them in our attempts to seek the Lord and find His mercy. For God hates and rejects sin and evil just as much as He loves and be merciful to all of us. Welcoming sinners is indeed important, and we should make it a priority to help sinners to come back to the Lord through Faith. However, this cannot be done at the expense of condoning sin or to reduce our contempt of sin.

Instead, brothers and sisters in Christ, from today onwards, if we have not done so before, let us all help one another so that we may remind ourselves of the sins we have committed, that we may repent from them and find our way to the Lord, seeking His mercy and forgiveness. Let us also from now on seek to understand the true meaning, purpose and intention of the Law of God, so that by obeying the Law in all its full meaning, we may gain the favour and the blessings of the Lord.

May Almighty God guide us always in life, and help us so that we may become ever better disciples and followers, rooted in love and abundant in charity and faith. God bless us all. Amen.

Tuesday, 26 August 2014 : 21st Week of Ordinary Time (Scripture Reflections)

Liturgical Colour : Green

Brothers and sisters in Christ, today we continue what we had heard from the previous day’s theme on the sins and corruptions of the Pharisees and the elders of the people of Israel. The seven woes of the Pharisees as they are known, are highlighted in today’s Gospel, with Jesus continuing to rebuke these vile and corrupt leaders who brought their people into destruction.

It was greatly stressed, the importance of walking and doing the faith, and not just merely concerned about the externalities and the formalities of the Law, but also the teachings and the ways of the Lord must be lived within the soul, heart and mind, so that in all things, we may truly be representing the Lord to all those who see us, who hear us and who witness our actions and deeds in all things.

Indeed, the fundamentals of the Law of God are justice, mercy and faith as Jesus had said. The Pharisees, the scribes and the teachers of the Law are too preoccupied on the external applications and details of the Law so as to forget the true meaning and purpose of those laws in the first place. Rather than trusting in God and His truth revealed in Jesus, they persecuted the faithful and rejected He who came to save His people, preferring to trust in men, in their own power and wisdom than in the wisdom and truth of the Lord.

Why justice? Because the Law of God is indeed just, and it was not crafted to torture or make the lives of men difficult. The Pharisees and the teachers of the Law continued on the expansions and the increasingly difficult application of the Law of God as revealed through Moses. In the Torah, the first Book of our Bible, also known as the Pentateuch, scattered through the Book of the Exodus, Leviticus, Number and Deuteronomy, are the laws of God given to Moses.

However, over the centuries and over time, the interpretation of these laws had become very rigid and extremely punitive in nature. The Lord Himself did not intend for these to be punitive and harmful in nature, but instead these were meant to lead the people of God to have a good discipline in life, particularly in the matter of their faith, so that they would always stick to the right paths in life. We know from our reading of those same Books, how unfaithful and difficult the people of Israel could be, both during their forty years journey and when they were already dwelling in the Promised Land.

But this should not become the kind of interpretation which the Pharisees had done to the laws, which ended up as a kind of leash and prison to the faithful who were forced to endure the numerous observations which apparently numbered as many as six hundred and thirteen laws, rules and regulations. Many of these observations ended up in the Pharisees abusing their authority and oppressing the people, losing the true meaning and intention of the Law.

And then, the Law is also about mercy. The Pharisees were so utterly convinced in their actions and deeds, that they believed that they were alone the most righteous and greatest among the people of God, as the only ones on whom the Lord cast His favour on. They believed that because they did as they had done, they were allowed to do what they thought was right on others, to the point of abusing others and casting judgments on others.

Remember what they did when the faced the man who was born blind and then was cured by Jesus? The Pharisees and elders of Israel tried to discredit the good works and miracles of Jesus, and when they failed to do so, they cursed and blamed the man who was born blind and healed, and they called him cursed and sinner, since the day he was born, a truly preposterous and horrible action indeed, one that is unworthy of these supposedly pious servants of God.

The Pharisees also condemned the woman who committed adultery, arguing that because she committed sin she deserved to die according to the Law. However, Jesus thought otherwise, and He highlighted the important of forgiveness and mercy, as the way for salvation. The Law was truly intended to guide mankind back to the Lord, so that the Lord might exercise His mercy, rather than punishing them.

And lastly, the Law is also about faith. This is not superficial and superfluous faith of the Pharisees who were concerned mostly with their own faith and their own piety, for the praise of the people rather than to help one another into salvation through faith. The Law must be obeyed with understanding and true sincerity and desire, or otherwise, it will do no good to us at all.

Brothers and sisters in Christ, as we reflect together on this, let us all together help one another to grow in our faith and devotion to the Lord, and also in our love towards our fellow men, which also means love among ourselves. Let us not be discouraged or be distracted by the devil and his tricks and lies. Rather, let us all continue to believe in God and seek to understand further the power of His love. God bless us all and may we continue to obey His love with full understanding. Amen.

Monday, 24 March 2014 : 3rd Week of Lent (First Reading)

Liturgical Colour : Purple/Violet

2 Kings 5 : 1-15a

Naaman was the army commander of the king of Aram. This man was highly regarded and enjoyed the king’s favour, for YHVH had helped him lead the army of the Arameans to victory. But this valiant man was sick with leprosy.

One day some Aramean soldiers raided the land of Israel and took a young girl captive who became a servant to the wife of Naaman. She said to her mistress, “If my master would only present himself to the prophet in Samaria, he would surely cure him of his leprosy.”

Naaman went to tell the king what the young Israelite maidservant had said. The king of Aram said to him, “Go to the prophet, and I shall also send a letter to the king of Israel.”

So Naaman went and took with him ten gold bars, six thousand pieces of silver and ten festal garments. On his arrival, he delivered the letter to the king of Israel. It said, “I present my servant Naaman to you that you may heal him of his leprosy.”

When the king had read the letter, he tore his clothes to show his indignation, “I am not God to give life or death. And the king of Aram sends me this man to be healed! You see he is just looking for an excuse for war.”

Elisha, the man of God, came to know that the king of Israel had torn his clothes, so he sent this message to him : “Why have you torn your clothes? Let the man come to me, that he may know that there is a prophet in Israel.”

So Naaman came with his horses and chariots, and stopped before the house of Elisha. Elisha then sent a messenger to tell him, “Go to the river Jordan and wash seven times, and your flesh shall be as it was before, and you shall be cleansed.”

Naaman was angry, so he went away. He thought : “On my arrival, he should have personally come out, and then paused and called on the Name of YHVH, his God. And he should have touched with his hand the infected part, and I would have been healed. Are the rivers of Damascus, Abana and Pharpar not better than all the rivers of the land of Israel? Could I not wash there to be healed?”

His servants approached him and said to him, “Father, if the prophet had ordered you to do something difficult, would you not have done it? But how much easier when he said : Take a bath and you will be cleansed.”

So Naaman went down to the Jordan where he washed himself seven times as Elisha had ordered. His skin became soft like that of a child and he was cleansed. Then Naaman returned to the man of God with all his men.