4. Faith and creeds
The Church has always summarized the object of faith (what she believes) in her creeds, especially the first and most basic one, the Apostles’ Creed, which we recite at the beginning of each Rosary;and the Nicene Creed,which we recite in every Sunday Mass.
They are called “creeds” because they begin with “I believe,” which in Latin is “credo.”
The ultimate object of faith is not creeds, but God. Creeds define what we believe about God. (They do not define God himself. God cannot be defined. Only finite things can be defined.) The Catechism says: “We do not believe in formulas, but in those realities they express . . .” (C 170).St.Thomas Aquinas says:“The believer’s act of faith does not terminate in propositions but in realities.” Creeds are like accurate road maps; they are necessary but they are not sufficient.Looking at a road map is no substitute for taking the trip.
So “[f]aith is first of all a personal adherence of man to God” (C 150). But “[at] the same time, and inseparably, it is a free assent to the whole truth that God has revealed”(C 150). We believe all the truths God has revealed to us (which are summarized in the creeds) because we believe God,“who can neither deceive nor be deceived.”