卷一信仰的宣認-基督徒信仰的宣認-信經/ THE PROFESSION OF FAITH

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第二部分

信經

185.誰說「我信」,就是說「我誓守我們所相信的」。信仰的共融要求一種標準的信仰語言,把所有信徒團結在同一的信仰宣認內。

186. 在起初,宗徒時代的教會,就採用一些簡短而標準的條文表達並傳授自己的信仰。其後教會也很快地把自己信仰的主要內容,編成條目分明且有系統的綱要,特別給洗禮的候選者使用。

聖濟利祿•耶路撒冷,《慕道期甄選者的教理講授》:信經並非按照人的意見而寫成,而是按照聖經的重要內容編寫而成的完整信德道理。就像芥菜的種子,在一顆小小的籽粒內蘊藏著許多枝幹。同樣,這個信仰的綱要,也包含著所有蘊藏於新、舊二約內真正虔敬的知識。

187. 這些信仰的撮要稱為「信仰的宣認」,因為它們總結了基督徒所宣認的信仰。它們也稱為「我信」«Credo»,因為「我信」是這些撮要的第一個字。它們也稱為「信經」«Symbolum fidei»。

188. 希臘語 «symbolon»是指一件被折斷之物件的一半(例如一個印章),給人當作一種辨認的記號。被折的部分用來重新併合,以確定擁有該物件者的身分。所以「信經」是信徒間彼此辨認和共融的標記。其後 «symbolon»也解作蒐集、收藏或摘要,故「信經」也是主要信仰真理的集成。由此可見,它構成了教理講授的首要和基本依據。

189. 首次的「信仰宣認」是在領洗時舉行。「信經」最初是洗禮時所用的信經。因為洗禮是「因父及子及聖神之名」(瑪 28:19)而施行的,在領洗時所宣認的信仰真理,是根據它們與天主聖三的關係而編排的。

190. 因此信經分為三部分:「第一部分論述天主聖父及其奇妙化工;第二部分論述耶穌基督及救贖奧跡;第三部分論述我們聖化的本原——聖神。這些就是我們(洗禮)印記的三章」。

 

191. 「這三個部分雖彼此相連,卻各不相同。根據一個多次由教父們引用的比分的,同樣,在信仰宣認方面,以條文一詞稱我們以特殊和不同方式該信的真理,也是理所 當然的」。依照一個由聖安博所証實的古老傳統,當時已習慣把信經分為十二條,以宗徒的人數來象徵整個宗徒的信仰。

 

192. 在不同的世紀中,曾出現許多形式的信仰宣認或信經,以回應不同時代的需求,有宗徒時代和古老教會的信經、〈任何人〉信經也稱聖亞大納修信經、某些公會議 (托利多,拉特朗,里昂,特倫多)或某些教宗的信仰宣認:〈達瑪甦信經〉或保祿六世的〈天主子民信經〉(1968)。

193. 教會生活各階段的信經,沒有一篇可被視為已經過時或無用的。由於信經是從信仰引申出來的不同撮要,它們今天仍協助我們去達到和深化永恆的信仰。

在所有的信經中,下列兩個在教會的生活中,佔著極特殊的地位:

194. 宗徒信經。所以有這樣的名稱,因為它很合理地被視為宗徒信仰的忠實撮要。它是羅馬教會古代的洗禮信經。它的偉大權威是來自這個事實:「它是羅馬教會所持守的信經,此教會由宗徒首長伯多祿坐鎮,並在此帶出共同宣信的方式」。

195.尼西亞尼西亞‧‧‧君士坦丁堡信經。它有很大權威,由於它是最初兩屆大公會議 (325及 381)的成果。它至今仍為東西方各大教會所共用。

196. 我們將按照宗徒信經去陳述信仰,因為這信經可說是代表「羅馬最古老的教理」。不過在陳述時,會經常參照尼西亞‧君士坦丁堡信經作為補充,因為在許多方面,後者較為明確和詳細。

197. 就像我們受洗那天,當我們將整個生命委身遵守「教理的規範」時那樣,我們該接受表達信仰的信經,這信仰賦予生命。以信德去誦唸信經,就是與天主,父、子、聖神共融,也是與整個的教會共融,她傳給了我們信仰,而我們則在她的懷裡信從:

 

聖安博,《信經的解說》:這信經是一種精神的印記,是我們內心的默想,是常在的守護者。它確實是我們靈魂的寶藏。

SECTION TWO

I. THE CREEDS

185 Whoever says "I believe" says "I pledge myself to what we believe." Communion in faith needs a common language of faith, normative for all and uniting all in the same confession of faith.

186 From the beginning, the apostolic Church expressed and handed on her faith in brief formulae normative for all.1 But already very early on, the Church also wanted to gather the essential elements of her faith into organic and articulated summaries, intended especially for candidates for Baptism:

This synthesis of faith was not made to accord with human opinions, but rather what was of the greatest importance was gathered from all the Scriptures, to present the one teaching of the faith in its entirety. and just as the mustard seed contains a great number of branches in a tiny grain, so too this summary of faith encompassed in a few words the whole knowledge of the true religion contained in the Old and the New Testaments.2

187 Such syntheses are called "professions of faith" since they summarize the faith that Christians profess. They are called "creeds" on account of what is usually their first word in Latin: credo ("I believe"). They are also called "symbols of faith".

188 The Greek word symbolon meant half of a broken object, for example, a seal presented as a token of recognition. the broken parts were placed together to verify the bearer's identity. the symbol of faith, then, is a sign of recognition and communion between believers. Symbolon also means a gathering, collection or summary. A symbol of faith is a summary of the principal truths of the faith and therefore serves as the first and fundamental point of reference for catechesis.

189 The first "profession of faith" is made during Baptism. the symbol of faith is first and foremost the baptismal creed. Since Baptism is given "in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit",3 The truths of faith professed during Baptism are articulated in terms of their reference to the three persons of the Holy Trinity.

190 and so the Creed is divided into three parts: "the first part speaks of the first divine Person and the wonderful work of creation; the next speaks of the second divine Person and the mystery of his redemption of men; the final part speaks of the third divine Person, the origin and source of our sanctification."4 These are "the three chapters of our [baptismal] seal".5

191 "These three parts are distinct although connected with one another. According to a comparison often used by the Fathers, we call them articles. Indeed, just as in our bodily members there are certain articulations which distinguish and separate them, so too in this profession of faith, the name "articles" has justly and rightly been given to the truths we must believe particularly and distinctly."6 In accordance with an ancient tradition, already attested to by St. Ambrose, it is also customary to reckon the articles of the Creed as twelve, thus symbolizing the fullness of the apostolic faith by the number of the apostles.7

192 Through the centuries many professions or symbols of faith have been articulated in response to the needs of the different eras: the creeds of the different apostolic and ancient Churches,8 e.g., the Quicumque, also called the Athanasian Creed;9 The professions of faith of certain Councils, such as Toledo, Lateran, Lyons, Trent;10 or the symbols of certain popes, e.g., the Fides Damasi11 or the Credo of the People of God of Paul VI.12

193 None of the creeds from the different stages in the Church's life can be considered superseded or irrelevant. They help us today to attain and deepen the faith of all times by means of the different summaries made of it.
Among all the creeds, two occupy a special place in the Church's life:

194 The Apostles' Creed is so called because it is rightly considered to be a faithful summary of the apostles' faith. It is the ancient baptismal symbol of the Church of Rome. Its great authority arises from this fact: it is "the Creed of the Roman Church, the See of Peter the first of the apostles, to which he brought the common faith".13

195 The Niceno-Constantinopolitan or Nicene Creed draws its great authority from the fact that it stems from the first two ecumenical Councils (in 325 and 381). It remains common to all the great Churches of both East and West to this day.

196 Our presentation of the faith will follow the Apostles' Creed, which constitutes, as it were, "the oldest Roman catechism". the presentation will be completed however by constant references to the Nicene Creed, which is often more explicit and more detailed.

197 As on the day of our Baptism, when our whole life was entrusted to the "standard of teaching",14 let us embrace the Creed of our life-giving faith. To say the Credo with faith is to enter into communion with God, Father, Son and Holy Spirit, and also with the whole Church which transmits the faith to us and in whose midst we believe:

This Creed is the spiritual seal, our heart's meditation and an ever-present guardian; it is, unquestionably, the treasure of our soul.15

 

 第一章

我信天主父

 

198. 我們的信仰宣認由天主開始,因為天主是「元始和終末」(依 44:6),是萬有的根源和終向。信經由天主父開始,因為父是天主至聖三位一體的第一位;我們的信經由創造天地開始,因為創造是天主一切工程的肇始和基礎。

 

CHAPTER ONE

I BELIEVE IN GOD THE FATHER

198 Our profession of faith begins with God, for God is the First and the Last,1 The beginning and the end of everything. the Credo begins with God the Father, for the Father is the first divine person of the Most Holy Trinity; our Creed begins with the creation of heaven and earth, for creation is the beginning and the foundation of all God's works.

 

 

第一條 「我信全能者天主父我信全能者天主父,,天地萬物的創造者天地萬物的創造者」
第一節 第一節 我信天主
我信天主

 

199. 「我信天主」:這信仰宣認中的第一項聲明,是最重要和基本的。全部信經都談論天主,即使提及人和世界,也是因涉及天主的緣故。信經的所有條文都繫於第一 條,正如所有誡命都在闡釋第一條一樣。其他條文使我們更清楚地認識那把自己逐漸啟示給人的天主。「因此、基督徒合理地把信天主作為首先宣認的事」。

 

一、「我信唯一的天主」

200. 尼西亞‧君士坦丁堡信經是以這句話開始的。承認天主的唯一性,植根在舊約的天主啟示中,它跟承認天主的存在是不可分的,是同樣基本的道理。天主是唯一的:只有一個天主:「基督徒信仰相信及宣認只有一個天主,祂無論在本性、實體、和本質上都是唯一的」。

 

201. 天主向自己特選的以色列民啟示祂是唯一的:「以色列!你要聽:上主我們的天主,是唯一的天主。你當全心、全靈、全力、愛上主你的天主」 (申 6:4-5)。透過先知們,天主邀請以色列和萬民歸向祂、唯一的主:「大地四極的人!你們歸依我,必能得救,因為只有我是天主,再沒有另一個……人人都將 向我屈膝,眾舌都要指著我起誓。人都要說:『唯有在上主前有仁義和力量』」(依 45:22-24)。

 

202. 耶穌自己確認天主是「唯一的主」,應以全心、全靈、全意、全力去愛祂,同時讓人明白祂自己也是「主」。宣認「耶穌是主」是基督徒信仰的特色。這對相信唯一的天主並無衝突。相信那是「主和賦予生命者」的聖神,也不會對唯一的天主造成任何分裂:

 

我們堅決相信並坦白宣認:只有一個真天主,祂是永遠的、無限的、全能的、不變的、無法了解和不可言喻的父、子和聖神:天主雖含有三位,卻只是一個本質、實體,或一個絕對純全的本性。

 

二、天主啟示祂的名字

203. 天主向祂的子民以色列啟示了自己,使他們認識祂的名字。名字代表一個人的本質、身分及其生命的意義。天主有一個名字,而非一種無名的力量。祂透露自己的名 字,就是使別人認識祂;這是以某種方式把自己交付出來,使自己變得平易近人,能被別人更親密地認識祂並以名字呼喚祂。

 

204.天主逐漸以不同的名字把祂自己啟示給祂的子民,然而在出離埃及訂立西示,為新舊約都是基本的啟示。
生活的天主

 

205. 天主在焚而不毀的荊棘中召喚梅瑟,對他說:「我是你父親的天主,亞巴郎的天主,依撒格的天主,雅各伯的天主」(出 3:6)。天主是聖祖們的天主,祂曾召喚聖祖們,並在旅途上引導他們。祂是信實而富於慈愛的天主,時常記起他們和自己的許諾;祂來,是為拯救他們的後裔脫 離奴役。祂是超越時空的天主,能夠並且願意為這計劃施展祂的全能。

 

「我是自有者」

 

梅瑟對天主說:「當我到以色列子民那裡,向他們說:你們祖先的天主打發我到你們這裡來時,他們必要問我:祂叫甚麼名字?我要回答他們甚麼 呢?」天主向梅瑟說:「我是自有者。」又說:「你要這樣對以色列子民說:那『自有者』打發我到你們這裡來……這是我的名字,直到永遠;這是我的稱號,直到 萬世」(出 3:13-15)。

 

206. 天主啟示自己奧秘的名字 YHWH「雅威」、「自有者」,是要告訴我們祂是誰,我們該以甚麼名字去稱呼祂。這個神聖的名字是奧妙的,正如天主是奧跡一樣。是一個啟示的名字, 同時好像又拒絕一個名字;這正好表達天主的本質,祂無限地超越我們所能了解和敘述的一切:祂是「隱密的天主」 (依 45:15),祂的名字是不可言喻的,然而也是與人親近的天主。

 

207. 天主在啟示祂的名字時,也同時啟示了祂永恆不變的忠誠,過去如何 (「我是你父親的天主」出 3:6),將來也復如此(「我將與你同在」出 3:12)。天主啟示祂的名字是「我是」,顯示祂是一個時常臨在的天主,在祂的子民身旁拯救他們。

 

208. 面對天主那種令人迷惑及奧秘的臨在,人自覺渺小。在焚而不毀的荊棘前,面對至聖的天主,梅瑟要脫去腳上的鞋,把臉遮掩起來。在「聖!聖!聖!」的天主榮耀 前,依撒意亞先知喊道:「我有禍了!我完了!因為我是個唇舌不潔的人」(依 6:5)。見了耶穌所顯的神跡,伯多祿喊道:「主,請你離開我!因為我是個罪人」(路 5:8)。但由於天主是聖的,故能寬恕那些在祂面前自認有罪的人:「我不再按我的盛怒行事……因為我是天主而不是人,是在你中間的聖者」(歐 11:9)。若望宗徒也說:「縱然我們的心責備我們,我們還可以安心,因為天主比我們的心大,祂原知道一切」(若一 3:19-20)。

 

209.以色列子民為了尊重天主的神聖,不敢呼喚祂的名字。在閱讀聖經時,天主所啟示的名字,被神聖的名號「上主」(Adonai,希臘語 Kyrios)所取代。耶穌的天主性就是藉這個名號宣示出來:「耶穌是主」。
「慈悲寬仁的天主」

 

210. 當以色列民犯了重罪,遠離天主去崇拜金牛後,天主俯聽梅瑟的轉求,同意與一個不忠的百姓同行以顯示自己的慈愛。梅瑟要求看見天主的榮耀,天主回答說:「當 我在你前呼喊『雅威』名號時,我要使我的一切美善在你面前經過」(出 33:18-19)。上主在梅瑟面前經過時,大聲喊說:「雅威,雅威是慈悲寬仁的天主,緩於發怒,富於慈愛信實」(出 34:5-6)。梅瑟於是承認上主是一個寬恕人的天主。

 

211. 上主的名字「我是」或「祂是」,表示出天主的信實,雖然人類犯罪對祂不忠及應受懲罰,但祂卻「對萬代的人保持仁愛」(出 34:7)。天主啟示祂是「富於慈悲的」(弗 2:4),甚至賜下了祂的聖子。耶穌為救我們脫免罪惡而捨生時,顯示出祂也擁有上主的稱號:「當你們高舉了人子以後,你們便知道我就是那一位(自有者)」 (若 8:28)。

 

唯獨天主是絕對存有

 

212. 世世代代以色列民的信仰發揚和加深了那蘊藏在上主聖名中的豐富內涵。天主是唯一的,除祂以外沒有別的神。祂超越世界和歷史。祂創造了天地:「天地必要毀 滅,而祢永遠存在,萬物必要如同衣裳一樣破爛……但是祢卻永存不變,祢的壽命無盡無限」(詠 102:27-28)。「在祂內沒有變化或轉動的陰影」(雅 1:17)。祂是「自有者」,從永遠直到永遠,故此,祂時常忠於祂自己和祂的許諾。

 

213. 因此,從那不可言喻的名字「我是自有者」的啟示,蘊藏著只有天主是絕對存有的真理。七十賢士譯本及步其後塵的教會聖傳,是從這種意義去了解天主的名字:天 主是圓滿的存有,充滿各樣的美善,無始又無終。所有受造物都從祂那裡領受它們的存在及所擁有的一切。只有祂是祂自己存在的基礎,祂所有的一切也來自祂自 己。

 

三、「自有者」天主是真理和愛

214. 天主、「自有者」,向以色列民流露祂是「富於慈愛和信實的」(出 34:6)。這兩個名詞以綜合的形式表達了上主聖名的豐盈。在所有的工程中,天主常顯示出祂的仁慈、祂的和藹、祂的恩寵、祂的愛情;也顯示出祂的信賴、祂 的永恆、祂的信實、祂的真理。「為了祢的仁慈和至誠,我必要稱謝祢的聖名」(詠 138:2)。祂是真理, 因為「天主是光, 在祂內沒有一點黑暗」(若一 1:5);祂也是「愛」,如若望宗徒所教導我們的(若一 4:8)。

 

天主是真理

 

215. 「祢聖言的總綱確是真實無欺,你正義的一切判斷永遠不移」(詠 119:160)。「我主上主,唯有祢是天主,祢的話是真理」(撒下 7:28);為此,天主的許諾時常實現。天主是真理本身,祂的話決不會欺騙。因此,我們可在一切事上,滿懷信心地依賴祂聖言的真實和信實。罪惡的根源和愛 和信實。

 

216. 天主的真理就是祂治理整個受造界和掌管宇宙的智慧。天主既獨自「創造了天地」(詠 115:15),故唯獨祂能給予有關各受造物真正的知識,因為一切受造物跟祂有關。

 

217. 天主在啟示自己時,也是真實的:「在祂口中有真實的教訓」(拉 2:6)。當祂打發自己的聖子降來世上時,「是為給真理作証」(若 18:37):「我們知道天主子來了,賜給了我們理解,叫我們認識真實的天主」(若一 5:20)。

 

天主是愛

 

218. 以色列民在他們的歷史過程中,發現天主把自己啟示給他們,又從各民族中選了他們歸屬自己,只是為了一個理由,就是祂那無條件的愛。以色列民透過先知們,明白天主仍然是出於愛,而從未終止拯救他們,也未終止寬恕他們的不忠和罪惡。

 

219. 天主對以色列的愛可比作一個父親對兒子的愛。這愛比一個母親對嬰兒的愛更為強烈。天主愛祂的子民尤甚於新郎愛新娘;這種愛甚至將勝過最大的不忠,以致賜下最寶貴的禮物:「天主竟這樣愛了世界,甚至賜下了自己的獨生子」(若 3:16)。

 

220. 天主的愛是「永遠的」(依 54:8):「高山可移動,丘陵能挪去,但我對你的仁慈決不移去」(依 54:10)。「我永遠愛你,因此我給你保留了我的仁慈」(耶 31:3)。

 

221. 但聖若望更進一步肯定地說:「天主是愛」(若一 4:8,16):天主的本質就是愛。時期一滿,當祂派遣了祂的獨生子和愛之神時,天主啟示了祂最深處的秘密:祂本身就是愛的永遠交流:父、子、和聖神,而且預定我們也分享這愛。

 

四、信奉唯一天主的涵義

222.信奉唯一的天主,並以自己的整個生命去愛祂,會對我們的一生發生重大的影響:
223.認識天主的偉大和威嚴:「天主何其偉大,我們不能理解」(約 36:26)。正因如此,天主該是「首先被事奉的」。

 

224. 在生活中稱謝天主:既然天主是唯一的,那末我們的存在和擁有的一切都來自祂:「你有甚麼不是領受的呢?」(格前 4:7)。「我應該怎樣報謝上主,稱謝祂賜給我的一切恩祐?」(詠 116:12)。

 

225.認識眾人的一體性和真正的尊嚴:因為眾人都是「按照天主的肖象和模樣而造的」(創 1:26)。
226.善用受造物:信奉唯一的天主應引導我們善用一切使我們接近祂的事物,而捨棄一切令我們遠離祂的東西。
尼古拉斯•福露,《祈禱》:
我主我的天主,凡使我遠離祢的,請給我除去。
我主我的天主,凡領我歸向祢的,請賜給我。
我主我的天主,請使我捨棄自我,並把我完全獻給祢。

227.在任何情況中信賴天主,即使在逆境中也不例外。聖女大德蘭的一篇祈禱很巧妙地把這點表達出來:
何事擾你意?何物亂你心?
萬般皆易逝,唯主不移真。
心有天主者,堅忍百事成。
夫復何所求,有主心意稱。


 

Article 1

"I BELIEVE IN GOD THE FATHER ALMIGHTY, CREATOR OF HEAVEN AND EARTH"

Paragraph 1. I BELIEVE IN GOD

199 "I believe in God": this first affirmation of the Apostles' Creed is also the most fundamental. the whole Creed speaks of God, and when it also speaks of man and of the world it does so in relation to God. the other articles of the Creed all depend on the first, just as the remaining Commandments make the first explicit. the other articles help us to know God better as he revealed himself progressively to men. "The faithful first profess their belief in God."2

I. "I BELIEVE IN ONE GOD"

200 These are the words with which the Niceno-Constantinopolitan Creed begins. the confession of God's oneness, which has its roots in the divine revelation of the Old Covenant, is inseparable from the profession of God's existence and is equally fundamental. God is unique; there is only one God: "The Christian faith confesses that God is one in nature, substance and essence."3

201 To Israel, his chosen, God revealed himself as the only One: "Hear, O Israel: the LORD our God is one LORD; and you shall love the LORD your God with all your heart, and with all your soul, and with all your might."4 Through the prophets, God calls Israel and all nations to turn to him, the one and only God: "Turn to me and be saved, all the ends of the earth! For I am God, and there is no other.. . To me every knee shall bow, every tongue shall swear. 'Only in the LORD, it shall be said of me, are righteousness and strength.'"5

202 Jesus himself affirms that God is "the one Lord" whom you must love "with all your heart, and with all your soul, and with all your mind, and with all your strength".6 At the same time Jesus gives us to understand that he himself is "the Lord".7 To confess that Jesus is Lord is distinctive of Christian faith. This is not contrary to belief in the One God. Nor does believing in the Holy Spirit as "Lord and giver of life" introduce any division into the One God:

We firmly believe and confess without reservation that there is only one true God, eternal infinite (immensus) and unchangeable, incomprehensible, almighty and ineffable, the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit; three persons indeed, but one essence, substance or nature entirely simple.

II. GOD REVEALS HIS NAME

203 God revealed himself to his people Israel by making his name known to them. A name expresses a person's essence and identity and the meaning of this person's life. God has a name; he is not an anonymous force. To disclose one's name is to make oneself known to others; in a way it is to hand oneself over by becoming accessible, capable of being known more intimately and addressed personally.

204 God revealed himself progressively and under different names to his people, but the revelation that proved to be the fundamental one for both the Old and the New Covenants was the revelation of the divine name to Moses in the theophany of the burning bush, on the threshold of the Exodus and of the covenant on Sinai.

The living God

205 God calls Moses from the midst of a bush that bums without being consumed: "I am the God of your father, the God of Abraham, the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob."9 God is the God of the fathers, the One who had called and guided the patriarchs in their wanderings. He is the faithful and compassionate God who remembers them and his promises; he comes to free their descendants from slavery. He is the God who, from beyond space and time, can do this and wills to do it, the God who will put his almighty power to work for this plan.

"I Am who I Am"

Moses said to God, "If I come to the people of Israel and say to them, 'The God of your fathers has sent me to you', and they ask me, 'What is his name?' what shall I say to them?" God said to Moses, "I AM WHO I AM." and he said, "Say this to the people of Israel, 'I AM has sent me to you'. . . this is my name for ever, and thus I am to be remembered throughout all generations."10

206 In revealing his mysterious name, YHWH ("I AM HE WHO IS", "I AM WHO AM" or "I AM WHO I AM"), God says who he is and by what name he is to be called. This divine name is mysterious just as God is mystery. It is at once a name revealed and something like the refusal of a name, and hence it better expresses God as what he is - infinitely above everything that we can understand or say: he is the "hidden God", his name is ineffable, and he is the God who makes himself close to men.11

207 By revealing his name God at the same time reveals his faithfulness which is from everlasting to everlasting, valid for the past ("I am the God of your father"), as for the future ("I will be with you").12 God, who reveals his name as "I AM", reveals himself as the God who is always there, present to his people in order to save them.

208 Faced with God's fascinating and mysterious presence, man discovers his own insignificance. Before the burning bush, Moses takes off his sandals and veils his face in the presence of God's holiness.13 Before the glory of the thrice-holy God, Isaiah cries out: "Woe is me! I am lost; for I am a man of unclean lips."14 Before the divine signs wrought by Jesus, Peter exclaims: "Depart from me, for I am a sinful man, O Lord."15 But because God is holy, he can forgive the man who realizes that he is a sinner before him: "I will not execute my fierce anger. . . for I am God and not man, the Holy One in your midst."16 The apostle John says likewise: "We shall. . . reassure our hearts before him whenever our hearts condemn us; for God is greater than our hearts, and he knows everything."17

209 Out of respect for the holiness of God, the people of Israel do not pronounce his name. In the reading of Sacred Scripture, the revealed name (YHWH) is replaced by the divine title "LORD" (in Hebrew Adonai, in Greek Kyrios). It is under this title that the divinity of Jesus will be acclaimed: "Jesus is LORD."

 

"A God merciful and gracious"

210 After Israel's sin, when the people had turned away from God to worship the golden calf, God hears Moses' prayer of intercession and agrees to walk in the midst of an unfaithful people, thus demonstrating his love.18 When Moses asks to see his glory, God responds "I will make all my goodness pass before you, and will proclaim before you my name "the LORD" [YHWH]."19 Then the LORD passes before Moses and proclaims, "YHWH,
YHWH, a God merciful and gracious, slow to anger, and abounding in steadfast love and faithfulness"; Moses then confesses that the LORD is a forgiving God.20

211 The divine name, "I Am" or "He Is", expresses God's faithfulness: despite the faithlessness of men's sin and the punishment it deserves, he keeps "steadfast love for thousands".21 By going so far as to give up his own Son for us, God reveals that he is "rich in mercy".22 By giving his life to free us from sin, Jesus reveals that he himself bears the divine name: "When you have lifted up the Son of man, then you will realize that "I AM"."23

God alone IS

212 Over the centuries, Israel's faith was able to manifest and deepen realization of the riches contained in the revelation of the divine name. God is unique; there are no other gods besides him.24

He transcends the world and history. He made heaven and earth: "They will perish, but you endure; they will all wear out like a garment....but you are the same, and your years have no end."25

In God "there is no variation or shadow due to change."26 God is "HE WHO IS", from everlasting to everlasting, and as such remains ever faithful to himself and to his promises.

213 The revelation of the ineffable name "I AM WHO AM" contains then the truth that God alone IS. the Greek Septuagint translation of the Hebrew Scriptures, and following it the Church's Tradition, understood the divine name in this sense: God is the fullness of Being and of every perfection, without origin and without end. All creatures receive all that they are and have from him; but he alone is his very being, and he is of himself everything that he is.

III. GOD, "HE WHO IS", IS TRUTH AND LOVE

214 God, "HE WHO IS", revealed himself to Israel as the one "abounding in steadfast love and faithfulness".27 These two terms express summarily the riches of the divine name. In all his works God displays, not only his kindness, goodness, grace and steadfast love, but also his trustworthiness, constancy, faithfulness and truth. "I give thanks to your name for your steadfast love and your faithfulness."28 He is the Truth, for "God is light and in him there is no darkness"; "God is love", as the apostle John teaches.29

God is Truth

215 "The sum of your word is truth; and every one of your righteous ordinances endures forever."30 "and now, O LORD God, you are God, and your words are true";31 this is why God's promises always come true.32 God is Truth itself, whose words cannot deceive. This is why one can abandon oneself in full trust to the truth and faithfulness of his word in all things. the beginning of sin and of man's fall was due to a lie of the tempter who induced doubt of God's word, kindness and faithfulness.

216 God's truth is his wisdom, which commands the whole created order and governs the world.33 God, who alone made heaven and earth, can alone impart true knowledge of every created thing in relation to himself.34

217 God is also truthful when he reveals himself - the teaching that comes from God is "true instruction".35 When he sends his Son into the world it will be "to bear witness to the truth":36 "We know that the Son of God has come and has given us understanding, to know him who is true."37

God is Love

218 In the course of its history, Israel was able to discover that God had only one reason to reveal himself to them, a single motive for choosing them from among all peoples as his special possession: his sheer gratuitous love.38 and thanks to the prophets Israel understood that it was again out of love that God never stopped saving them and pardoning their unfaithfulness and sins.39

219 God's love for Israel is compared to a father's love for his son. His love for his people is stronger than a mother's for her children. God loves his people more than a bridegroom his beloved; his love will be victorious over even the worst infidelities and will extend to his most precious gift: "God so loved the world that he gave his only Son."40

220 God's love is "everlasting":41 "For the mountains may depart and the hills be removed, but my steadfast love shall not depart from you."42 Through Jeremiah, God declares to his people, "I have loved you with an everlasting love; therefore I have continued my faithfulness to you."43

221 But St. John goes even further when he affirms that "God is love":44 God's very being is love. By sending his only Son and the Spirit of Love in the fullness of time, God has revealed his innermost secret:45 God himself is an eternal exchange of love, Father, Son and Holy Spirit, and he has destined us to share in that exchange.

IV. THE IMPLICATIONS OF FAITH IN ONE GOD

222 Believing in God, the only One, and loving him with all our being has enormous consequences for our whole life.

223 It means coming to know God's greatness and majesty: "Behold, God is great, and we know him not."46 Therefore, we must "serve God first".47

224 It means living in thanksgiving: if God is the only One, everything we are and have comes from him: "What have you that you did not receive?"48 "What shall I render to the LORD for all his bounty to me?"49

225 It means knowing the unity and true dignity of all men: everyone is made in the image and likeness of God.50

226 It means making good use of created things: faith in God, the only One, leads us to use everything that is not God only insofar as it brings us closer to him, and to detach ourselves from it insofar as it turns us away from him:
My Lord and my God, take from me everything that distances me from you.
My Lord and my God, give me everything that brings me closer to you
My Lord and my God, detach me from myself to give my all to you.51

227 It means trusting God in every circumstance, even in adversity. A prayer of St. Teresa of Jesus wonderfully expresses this trust:

Let nothing trouble you / Let nothing frighten you Everything passes / God never changes Patience / Obtains all Whoever has God / Wants for nothing God alone is enough.52


 

撮要 

228. 「以色列!你要聽:上主我們的天主是唯一的天主……」(申 6:4;谷 12:29)。「至高者必須是唯一的,就是沒有與祂相等的……如果天主不是獨一無二的,就不是天主」。

 

229.對天主的信仰引領我們投奔祂,因為祂是我們的起源和終向,不讓任何事物超越或取代祂。

230.即使天主啟示自己,仍是一個不可言喻的奧秘:「假使你徹悟祂的話,祂就不是天主了」。

231.我們所信仰的天主,曾啟示祂是自有者;使我們知道祂是「富於慈悲寬仁」的 (出 34:6),祂本身就是真理和愛情。
 

IN BRIEF

228 "Hear, O Israel, the LORD our God is one LORD..." ( Dt 6:4; Mk 12:29). "The supreme being must be unique, without equal. . . If God is not one, he is not God" (Tertullian, Adv. Marc., 1, 3, 5: PL 2, 274).

229 Faith in God leads us to turn to him alone as our first origin and our ultimate goal, and neither to prefer anything to him nor to substitute anything for him.

230 Even when he reveals himself, God remains a mystery beyond words: "If you understood him, it would not be God" (St. Augustine, Sermo 52, 6, 16: PL 38, 360 and Sermo 117, 3, 5: PL 38, 663).

231 The God of our faith has revealed himself as HE WHO IS; and he has made himself known as "abounding in steadfast love and faithfulness" ( Ex 34:6). God's very being is Truth and Love.

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