What Eastern Catholics Believe
It is a mystery and a fact that God is with us. People have contemplated this fact and have tried to explain it. From these reflections, doctrines of the Church have developed. Below are the core teachings of our Church:
We cannot know God. He is beyond our understanding. We can only assume that God is the most excellent perfection of everything we know to be holy, good and beautiful. He is and remains a mystery.
God has revealed himself to us. We catch glimpses of Him in the beauty of creation, in the faces of people which are created in His image. God has also directly communicated to us in Divine Revelation.
Revelations and signs of Godís love for us find their zenith in the coming of Jesus. The life, death and resurrection of our Lord are the highest expression of Godís revelation to us. In Christ we see God as a lover of mankind; we see a triumphant Lord, trampling upon Death, and we see a King of glory, fully alive and in union with His Father.
At Pentecost, the Holy Spirit came down upon the Church and is here with us to the present day. The Spirit is the power of God working among us.
God has reached out to us and revealed Himself to us as Father, Son and Spirit. God is one and yet three at the same time. He is one in essence and being, one in activity and power, but three in person. God is a communion of love. We are called to share in that love.
The Church is Christís Body, the extension of His physical presence here on earth. The Church is the Temple of God wherein the Spirit lives. As members of the Church, we are part of Christís body, joined with Him to the Trinity. We are the living stones that make up Godís temple.
The Spirit enlivens us through the holy mysteries or sacraments. Mystery is a prayer in which we ask that a natural situation be transformed into one full of Godís grace. For example, invoking the Holy Spirit over bread and wine enables us to achieve a physical union with Christ in the Eucharist.
The 7 mysteries are as follows:
= Chrismation (Confirmation)
= Penance (Confession)
= Holy Matrimony
= Holy Orders
= Anointing of the Sick
Through the mysteries and other prayers every aspect of our lives can be transformed, set apart as a means of praise to the One God who shares life with us.
God has made it possible for us to share in His divine nature. This process starts with baptism. When we live a faithful life, this process deepens and progresses Ė a divinization or theosis occurs. This continues until the resurrection on the last day!
In our rite we continually remember the Theotokos or the Mother of God. We truly believe that Jesus whom she bore was God incarnate, living on earth as a true man. We also believe that because of her ďYesĒ to Gabrielís message the process of theosis was opened to us and was realized in her person.
We have been created to experience Godís self revelation and to share in His very nature. This we proclaim at baptism and in the Nicene Creed. This is the heart of our faith; it is our glory and joy!