You might remember that the last time we brought up reading through the Catechism in one year as a part of the Year of Faith, we tossed around the idea that while we Catholics use a number of formulas in our worship, it is the deeper realities those formulas express which are important. And that’s why we should get the words used during mass as correct as possible, so that those realities are represented properly. But getting the words right is only the first part of the equation. The second part comes up in the reading for Day 28 in paragraph 197 which states, “As on the day of our Baptism, when our whole life was entrusted to the “standard of teaching”, 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.”
So what’s the Catechism getting at? Well, it’s pretty simple really. It’s the same thing old one-eyed Ragetti tries to get across to Captain Barbosa in this scene from Pirates of the Caribbean: At World’s End. (Sorry, the only copy I could find was from some guy who pointed his camera at his TV screen, but it’s clear enough to make the point.)
You see, what even the scruffiest of scallywags realizes is that you can recite the words of a formula as correctly as you want, but if you don’t mean them… they’re useless. It’s only if we say our Credos with faith that they allow us to enter into communion with our God. It’s an obvious truth, but probably one that it wouldn’t hurt to recall during those times at mass when we’re tempted to just roll off the responses by rote.