From the Catechism of the Catholic Church:
1061 The Creed, like the last book of the Bible, ends with the Hebrew word amen. This word frequently concludes prayers in the New Testament. The Church likewise ends her prayers with “Amen.”
1062 In Hebrew, amen comes from the same root as the word “believe.” This root expresses solidity, trustworthiness, faithfulness. And so we can understand why “Amen” may express both God’s faithfulness towards us and our trust in him.
1063 In the book of the prophet Isaiah, we find the expression “God of truth” (literally “God of the Amen”), that is, the God who is faithful to his promises: “He who blesses himself in the land shall bless himself by the God of truth [amen].” Our Lord often used the word “Amen,” sometimes repeated, to emphasize the trustworthiness of his teaching, his authority founded on God’s truth.
1064 Thus the Creed’s final “Amen” repeats and confirms its first words: “I believe.” To believe is to say “Amen” to God’s words, promises and commandments; to entrust oneself completely to him who is the “Amen” of infinite love and perfect faithfulness. The Christian’s everyday life will then be the “Amen” to the “I believe” of our baptismal profession of faith: May your Creed be for you as a mirror. Look at yourself in it, to see if you believe everything you say you believe. And rejoice in your faith each day.
1065 Jesus Christ himself is the “Amen.” He is the definitive “Amen” of the Father’s love for us. He takes up and completes our “Amen” to the Father: “For all the promises of God find their Yes in him. That is why we utter the Amen through him, to the glory of God”:
Through him, with him, in him, in the unity of the Holy Spirit, all glory and honor is yours, almighty Father, God, for ever and ever. AMEN.
How many of us say “Amen” in a thoughtless or empty fashion? Do any of us really understand what it means when we say this?
I think paragraph 1064, of all of these, is most important for us to reflect on today. For God calls us all to live with integrity. That means that if we say something, we should mean it.
So what does it mean?
I think that when you say, or pray, “Amen,” you are saying a few different things:
1. I believe and adhere to my baptismal profession of faith and to the Creed.
2. I believe and am faithful to the entirety of the Truth that is God.
3. I am saying “Yes” to all that God is asking of me.
4. I pledge my faithfulness.
5. I consecrate my life. [Meaning that I set myself apart for the service and worship of God.]
We should be putting our entire selves into that word and offering ourselves as a gift back to the Father. Especially in our prayer. Prayer is not supposed to be a quick listing of all the things in my life that I want God to fix for me, with a quick “Amen” at the end. It should be a dialogue, a conversation, an encounter with the Father/Son/Holy Spirit who LOVES ME.
Yes, we should have all confidence and trust in God as the only one with power. Yes, we should know that He is all good and that He loves us and that this means that He always has our best interests in mind [even if those best interests may be painful or cost us]. Yes, we should remember that He always hears us.
But this is a love relationship.
I cannot see myself as disengaged from this. Prayer is never a one-sided affair. You can never think of prayer or encounters with God as a disconnected transaction, as an impersonal withdrawal from God’s Bank of Grace.
We need to give our entire selves back to Him in return. We need to engage our hearts. We need to enter into the relationship with the persons of God. Because God *is* a person — or, rather, three persons — and not a vending machine to feed my whims and desires.
We need to have integrity when we pray “Amen.” We need to recognize that it is an affirmation of our adherence to and reliance upon Him, the Almighty, who has done, is doing and will continue to do great things for us.
Our “Amen” should be an “I love You.”