The Creed summarizes Christian beliefs

Dr. Scott Hahn speaks to a full house at Conception Abbey on December 1. (Photo courtesy of Daniel Chinn/Conception Abbey)

By Sara Kraft

“The Creed is more than the seventh inning stretch of the Mass,” Dr. Scott Hahn told over three hundred people at Conception Abbey on December 1. Attendees traveled from across southern Missouri, Iowa and beyond to hear Dr. Hahn’s wisdom. “The Creed is to the first part of the Mass what Holy Communion is to the second half of the Mass.”

Dr. Hahn is a renowned national and international speaker and has written numerous books. He has taught at Franciscan University of Steubenville since 1990 and has been awarded the Father Michael Scanlan, T.O.R., Chair of Biblical Theology and the New Evangelization. He is also the founder and president of the Saint Paul Center for Biblical Theology. Dr. Hahn held the Pope Benedict XVI Chair of Biblical Theology and Liturgical Proclamation at St. Vincent Seminary in Latrobe, Pennsylvania from 2005 to 2011.

“My thesis tonight is perhaps we ponder the Creed too little. The Creed is an authoritative summary of the Christian beliefs,” stated Dr. Hahn. “We encapsulate what we mean by the faith.”

The Creed dates back to the first century and our faith ultimately rests in the realities that are communicated. In the first century there were two forms – the integrative, which asks “Do you believe?” and the declarative which we state every Sunday. “What we have in the Creed is the international anthem that unites us,” stated Dr. Hahn. It is a summary of the Gospel and a synthesis of our faith.

There are three parts to the Creed, one describing each of the three parts of the Trinity. In the first part, we refer to God as “God the Father,” which was very different than the Hebrew understanding of God. In the entire Hebrew bible, Dr. Hahn pointed out, God was referred to as father only seventeen times. When we read the Bible, we tend to project our own understanding of God. Jesus referred to God as Father on the Sermon on the Mount seventeen times (the same number of times as in the entire Hebrew Bible). It was something new and shocking to the bystanders.

“What is also shocking is how unshocked we are,” stated Dr. Hahn.

Dr. Hahn continued to reflect on fatherhood citing a number of instances from his own family that helped him recognize the deep meaning of calling God our Father.

Dr. Hahn recalled being in downtown Pittsburgh many years ago during rush hour for a baseball game with his family. His family, which had four children at the time, had to cross a busy street. He told his five-year-old daughter Hannah to hold tight. Suddenly, a pickup truck came racing down the street. His daughter screamed and let go. Dr. Hahn squeezed her tight and pulled her back. Hannah was very upset. “Daddy, you hurt me,” she said as she showed him the red mark. Dr. Hahn tried to explain he had to squeeze and he saved her life. Hannah proceeded to run to her mother and refused to sit with him until the fourth inning. Dr. Hahn explained God loves us even more than our earthly fathers, even when he has to give us red marks.

In another example, Dr. Hahn reflected on the birth of his first son Michael. The first moment Dr. Hahn saw Michael, he thought, “Wow, the incarnate of our love!” After the first early morning feeding at home, Dr. Hahn offered to burp him. After burping him, he felt something warm and wet on his shirt. Dr. Hahn was amazed he didn’t care that he had been vomited on and continued to hold his child. Dr. Hahn felt the presence of God in the room and felt God telling him, “You see how much you love your child? Do you think it’s possible that you love your son more than I love you?”

Dr. Hahn realized even though he can’t describe how much he loves his son, God loves him even more than he loves his children. “We have to recognize God is a father like no other,” stated Dr. Hahn.

Participants were impressed with the way Dr. Hahn related examples of everyday life to the Scripture truths. “I thought it so powerful Dr. Hahn talked about fatherhood,” stated Rockhurst University freshman Jordan Wright. “To hear someone talk about it so passionately was incredible.”

“Equating parenthood with your day-in-day out life was very inspiring,” said Linda Place from Albany, Missouri.

Dr. Hahn’s words resonated with his audience.

“I plan to spend more time reflecting on what we say we believe in the Creed and reflect more on God as our Father,” stated Lisa Fender of Jefferson City, Missouri.

Conception Abbey was grateful for the opportunity to host such a renowned speaker and inspire the surrounding communities. “Adults, especially young adults, are hungry for this form of interaction,” stated Father Patrick York, Vice Rector and Dean of Students for Conception Seminary. “It gets the juices fired up and encourages other people to live out their faith.”

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Monday
December 18, 2017
Newspaper of the Diocese of Kansas City ~ St. Joseph