Oct 3, 2010


"The phrase CONCEIVED BY THE HOLY SPIRIT expresses implicitly our trust in the breakthrough of the divine Spirit that happened in history through Jesus Christ, say, when he touched the untouchables, sat down at table with the outcasts, gave women equal status with men. It implies our commitment to the spiritual struggle that this breakthrough has set in motion throughout the centuries and up to our own time; think of Dorothy Day and her witness for peace; of Cesar Chavez, who restored the dignity to exploited farm workers; of Mother Teresa, who served the poorest of the poor. This phrase of the Creed is not about a piece of (unverifiable) genetic information concerning Jesus. Rightly understood, it ties together mystic vision and resolute action in the world. How else did the Antislavery Movement come about, the Civil Rights Movement, the Women's Liberation Movement, Gay Liberation, any peace movement, and the global ecology movement? How did these movements come about if not CONCEIVED BY THE HOLY SPIRIT? These words of the Creed become the proclamation of our own dynamic relationship to the Spirit. By pronouncing them we make a commitment to carry out what the Spirit conceived and what Jesus bore witness to by his life and death...

There is also a way in which we can make sense of the idea that Jesus Christ was CONCEIVED BY THE HOLY SPIRIT.  We can think of his life as conceived in the mind of God similar to the way the hero of a story is conceived in the storyteller's mind. A poetic understanding of this sort comes much closer to the mind-set of the Gospel writers than to the literalism of later interpreters.  It has been well said that we must choose between taking the Gospels seriously or literally. If we read them with a sense for the poetry, we will not be able to dodge their serious challenge. We will be moved by the strength and tenderness, the revolutionary fervor and fervent pacifism of the towering figure of Jesus alive with the very Life-breath of God. Then all that is best in us will be stirred not only by his example, but by the stirring of his very SPIRIT within us. Yes, this SPIRIT is in all of us; it is the very life of our life. For all this unfolding reality in us and around us is a story of love, CONCEIVED by God in the SPIRIT of love."

taken from Brother David Steindl-Rast Deeper than Words, Living the Apostle's Creed. (pg. 67-66)