"I believe in one, holy, catholic and apostolic Church. I confess one Baptism for the forgiveness of sins and I look forward to the resurrection of the dead and the life of the world to come. Amen"
The last few lines of the Nicene creed above are like the final, conclusory paragraph of any essay. Believing in the one Church declares our hope and love for Christian brothers and sisters and although we don't agree and believe in all of the same details, we do believe in all that has been professed throughout the prayer. That one Church, our oneness in the Lord, is declared by our Baptism. Whether baptized as an infant by the will of your parents or baptized by your own personal choice, the baptism declares that you are a Christian and washes you of your sins, past and future. Because of this, we are able to "look forward to the resurrection..." we have nothing to fear as long as we continue to trust and ask for forgiveness from our Lord. And as long as we are truly, sincerely sorry for what we have done and intend to do better through God's grace, we can look forward to our life with God at the end of our days.
The crazy thing, the best thing about this prayer is that it is not exclusive to the Catholic faith. This prayer is used in different variations in Christian churches all around the world. We are one in the Spirit and Lord. Even better than that, we are reminded in today's Gospel that our calling as Christians is to love. We can believe all of those things, we can profess our faith loudly and proudly, but if we don't love, we will not inherit eternal life. As the scholar points out, our goal is eternal life, but we must love to achieve this. We must love God and we must love our neighbor. But knowing it and doing it are two different things.
Knowing it is professing this Creed in church. Doing it is embracing our brothers and sisters of different faiths (Islam, Hindu, Judaism, etc.), it is not just calling yourself pro-life but appreciating, helping, and loving all that are living, who don't have what they need to live. Doing it is embracing those you don't agree with, loving people despite their differences; choosing love over hate. We can be the Levite who passes by the man who was robbed despite knowing the law or we can be the Samaritan, who helps regardless of the law. The Samiratan didn't check to see if the injured person was Samartian, he didn't check to see if he had enough money to pay for his own or care or if he was a man? He saw a person in need and helped him because he loved his neighbor, regardless. The one who treated the injured man with mercy is the one who obeyed the law, regardless of his knowledge.
The Nicene Creed may be long, it may be require thought and intention to pray, but the basis of our faith, the most critical part, is that we must love. Whether we know the prayer or not, if we do not love, if we do not act with mercy, we have failed to achieve to what God has called us to do.
"I believe in the Holy Spirit, the Lord, the giver of life, who proceeds from the Father and the Son, who with the Father and the Son is adored and glorified, who has spoken through the prophets."
The Holy Spirit is the third of the three in the Trinity, part and one with God, often pictured as a dove or tongues of fire. Ancient pagan tradition taught that dove was a symbol of love, so when the Holy Spirit appeared to the early Christians, they understood that the Spirit was truly God's Love for them. The Spirit can and will fill men and women, giving them the insight to lift their voices for God, like the prophets in the Old Testament.
The Holy Spirit works through us in the Church, present in the sacraments of Baptism and Confirmation. The Spirit builds up the Church and provides us (the Church) with the gifts we need to continue to support our God's Church on earth. St. Augustine called the Spirit "the quiet guest of our soul," we have to be quiet and invite the Spirit in. Just as we ask for the Spirit to come to the child being baptized or to us during our Confirmation, in our every day lives, we can quiet our souls and ask for the Spirit's love and presence.
P.S. What about the Son? Look under Categories to your right!