A few nights ago, at a gathering of journeying souls, I read my own creed aloud. Like coming out, it‘s a way of committing to myself.
Only 6 months before, after many preceding months of thought and questions, I felt courageous enough to write my own creed. I say courageous, because, although I am now active in the Episcopal church, where questioning and reasoning is considered vital to the spiritual life, my Roman Catholic upbringing did not leave any room for doubt, much less a difference of belief. Saying the Nicene Creed each Sunday was like the Pledge of Allegiance, except much more serious. My soul was at stake.
I didn’t realize how far-reaching this was for me: at nearly 52, I was still concerned about my own doubts and contrary beliefs. So, when I finally allowed myself to articulate them, and realized that no heavenly thunderbolt would vaporize me, it was a moment of great freedom and relief. It was a great moment of maturity. Whether our reading has taken us into Dante, and his eloquently expressed mid-life crisis, or into Jung’s depth psychology, or into Fowler’s Stages of Faith, it seems likely that a time like this will come for many of us. At least it did for me.
Here is what I read to those assembled (and what I say quietly to myself when everyone else is saying the creed during Mass):
I trust that there is a Source, from which emanates beauty, truth, wisdom and love.
The Source underlies all things and is in all things, regardless of my ability to perceive it.
I understand Jesus to be a perfect revelation and incarnation of the Source.
I believe that Jesus was born of woman who gave her assent to the seemingly impossible because of her great trust; and, surrendered to a great mystery that I certainly would not have understood if I were she.
I believe that I, like Mary, am called to birth the Source; to say “yes” to a process that I don’t fully comprehend, and may sometimes fear; so that I, too, may embody wisdom, beauty, love and truth.
And, as did Jesus, if I bear, and give witness to, Source, there will be transformation for me and perhaps for a small part of the world. And, there may be unpleasantness, discord, separation and sadness.
And, yet, I believe that this is my journey. And I need to commit everyday, sometimes by hour or by minute. And I can always say “no”.
I sense that the flow of Source energy is beautiful and mysterious; that it cannot be forced or contained, but it can be carried through us, and that it heals, consoles and enlightens.