:: Tuesday, October 31, 2006 ::
Blogger seems to not be working too well recently...sorry for the long pause...
:: Friday, October 20, 2006 ::
I have a wound --- a very gross and oozing one. In fact, if I leave it untreated, it will kill me. It is rather messy, and it tends to get all over everything. So, every once and a while, I go to the physician and have the messiness cleaned up. But I am a proud person, and the wound is really gross, so sometimes I don’t tell the doctor how deep the wound is, but I only tell him about the side effects it causes; I have the nagging feeling that I am tricking no one, however, and that he knows the wound and its extent. But, he gives me medicine to deal with the side effects, I go home, and the wound remains, foul, gross, and eventually fatal.
Each week, I confess the same stuff. The same foul spewing from the same deeply rooted sin, whatever it may be. And while I am sure that my confessor is well aware of the wound, he has the care to wait for me to ask for his help. And I still don’t want to. Of course, I feel like it is rather useless to confess the same accidental, minor sins when I have not dealt with the source of such sins. That ‘confession’ fulfills the technical sense of confession: I have listed of all of my sins, even repented of them, and have received absolution. But such a confession does not lend itself to the healing of my soul: it takes away the side effects, but it does not heal the wound.
And yet, healing is possible. The walls of our churches are covered with the images of those who have attained such healing. How? Through time, repentance, and patience. Through their prayers, may I too attain this healing.
Glory to God!
:: 8:57 AM on
Tuesday, October 31, 2006
Conversion…again, and again, and…
:: Thursday, October 12, 2006 ::
So, I came into this whole thing with a big misconception. I thought that when I converted to Orthodoxy, that would be the way it would be said: I converted . Come to find out, that’s the wrong tense of the verb. Rather, I am converting .
Being here for the last month or so, I have not only realized how not Orthodox I am, but I have also realized how far I have to go to become an Orthodox Christian. In fact, let’s just leave that word out of it for a while; let’s just say Christian. At confession yesterday, as I was telling my SF (all students have a campus priest as an SF) how frustrated I am with my lack of comprehension and hard-heartedness to change, he reminded me of conversion. Little by little, step by timid step, I must learn to convert. The potter will re-break the vessel until it is correct. I will have to convert until I am truly a Christian, and until I am fully saved.
What is conversion? It is going to church everyday, working in the kitchen, receiving the Eucharist, confessing, working on my studies…in other words, it looks just like normal life, but it must be lived all the while trusting that my own desire for my conversion will elicit a response from the Lover of Mankind Who loved me enough to leave glory and dwell among men.
Conversion is simple: Fall. Get up. Fall. Get up. Repeat until saved.
Glory to God!
:: 1:21 PM on
Friday, October 20, 2006
:: Wednesday, October 04, 2006 ::
Being a convert can have its good times and bad times. This is sure one of those times it would be nice to have been a ‘cradle.’
I don’t get it. Eastern thought is beyond me. I am in a fascinating and dynamic dogmatics class right now. I have the feeling that large quantities of very useful and beneficial information, both spiritual and academic, are being taught in the class…for those who have ears to hear it. I cannot find categories to put this information into. If I had never studied Western theology, perhaps it would be easier, since I would at least be starting from ground zero. However, I am starting in the ‘negative,’ if you will, trying to unlearn conceptual categories of Thomistic thought while simultaneously trying to build new categories and fill them. Then I meet what I view as conflicting pieces of information (today, for example, it seemed like the accident of history justifies relativism in terms of ‘oeconomia’), and I am unable to articulate my questions and objections even to my own satisfaction, much less able to communicate them to those of an Eastern mindset (the priest/professor). So, I end up confused at my lack of comprehension and frustrated at my lack of articulation.
I don’t get it. I don’t even know how to start getting it. It is frustrating.
Glory to God!
:: 1:08 PM on
Thursday, October 12, 2006
Familiarity Breeds Contempt
It is often said around here by some that familiarity breeds contempt. Seminarians, among other things, seem to be known for getting sloppy about church etiquette, not respecting clergy, or generally being stuck-up know-it-alls when it comes to things ‘churchy.’ I mean, we go to church more in a week then half the Orthodox world does in a year, so we get to be snotty, right? Ouch. No, wrong!
I do not mean to offend anyone, and my point of this post is not to poke fun at my own pride or that of any one else. The point is the ‘some’ who say would claim that familiarity breeds contempt, not the veracity of the adage itself.
There is an old priest at my home parish who has been a priest upwards of 50 years. Does he count as familiar with the services? I have watched him serve many times, and he does it slowly, with dignity, and without boredom. From watching him and speaking with him, one gets the idea that his respect of the holy has only deepened with time, and that he shows no contempt in much of anything, but especially when at the altar or in church.
Then take the seminarian. He has been at seminary for 1-3 years, and he thinks he’s seen it all. He knows every word of every service in the chapel; he’s taken his classes, can construct even the most complex service, give the meanings and dates of the various parts of it, and can quote every word every one will say in the exact order in which they will say them. He stands in contempt.
What is the difference? Familiarity, but from the opposite view that we have been taking. The old priest knows the service and Church; he is truly familiar with it, and so respects it. The seminarian is not familiar with it, so he is in contempt of it. Give the seminarian a good 20-30 years and you may find that he is closer to the attitude of the old priest --- or rather, for my own sake, I hope I am closer to the attitude of my old priest in that time! Does familiarity breed contempt? No, but my own pride does. May God grant that I, in my time here, become familiar with the services. Until then, forgive me my contempt born from unfamiliarity!
Glory to God!
:: 8:08 AM on
Wednesday, October 04, 2006