Critical Reaction Paper #3

26 April 2015
REL 107
Dr. Zaelot
Critical Reaction Paper #3
Growing up in the Catholic Church, the Apostle’s Creed was a prayer/statement of faith that all young parishioners dreaded. Unlike the easily memorized Our Father, and Hail Mary, the Apostle’s Creed was the prayer that tripped up me and my fellow constituents when it came time to recite it in for of our Sunday school teacher. Up until now I never gave much thought to the Apostles’ Creed meaning or it’s purpose within a Catholic mass. A Creed, as defined by Catholicism for Dummies, is a statement or profession of what members of a particular church or religion believe as being essential and necessary. Within a Catholic context, the Creed makes up one of the four pillars of faith and remains the most crucial and influential part of Sacred Tradition. The Apostles’ Creed, which is attributed to the teachings of the apostles, is the oldest Creed believing to have originated from the first century A.D. Though it’s name has apostles in it, the Creed was not written by any of the apostles, containing the word only because it is considered to be a brief summary of the Apostles’ teachings.
The particular aspect of the Apostles’ Creed that I will focus on is Article 7 of the Creed. Article 7 states, “From there He will come to judge the living and the dead.” This article affirms the Second Coming of Christ at the end of the world to serve as its judge. Judgment Day, or the Last Judgment, is seen as a general judgment that will reaffirm the particular judgment each of us will receive when we die. The book of Revelations tells us that this day will come about after one final assault by the powers of evil before Christ’s kingdom ultimately triumphs. This general judgment will decide, ultimately, whether we are destined for heaven or hell. There are various reasons as to why one must receive general judgment even though they’ll receive particular judgment after. We will receive general judgment for four reasons: so, that God may be glorified, so that Jesus Christ may be glorified, so that the Saints may be glorified, so that the wicked may be confounded, and that along with body, the soul receive it’s eternal sentence of punishment or reward. This judgment will be based on our actions in this life, in what we’ve done as well as what we’ve failed to do, and how receptive we’ve been to God’s grace. One can also be sent directly to purgatory, a sentencing that guarantees one’s admittance to heaven once repentance for sins has been achieved. Aside from the more literal meaning of Article 7, it can also be interpreted in a more symbolic way. A more symbolic reading of, “He shall come to judge the living and the dead,” suggests on a deeper level that only those who live their lives embracing and carrying out divine justice are truly alive. To awaken from the dead is to live one’s life within the glory and grace of Christ our Savior and God.
In my research and studying of class materials I’ve learned a great deal about the Apostles’ Creed as whole and particularly Article 7. I never really knew that the Apostles’ Creed was our (Catholic) profession and statement of faith. Though I should’ve known this, I never realized why the Apostles’ Creed was recited or sung in the Roman Catholic Church as much as it is. The Creed is used as a teaching outline, as a guard and guide against heresy, as a summarization of faith, and as an affirmation in worship. I learned the history of the Apostles’ Creed as well, always under the belief that the apostles’ had written it, which I know now to untrue (or unproven). After having read the Apostles’ Creed as much as I have these past few days, I’ve come to find a stronger belief and dedication in my Catholic faith and understanding as to why we believe what we do. Concerning Article 7, I chose this particular article because I never truly understood the notion of Judgment Day and what we believe will take place. I now know that two judgments will take place, both general and particular. I also