Skip to comments.The Short Version (the Way International convert)
Posted on 05/05/2008 2:22:52 PM PDT by annalex
The short version:
I was one who ignored God for some time after leaving The Way. When I got married I decided to join my wifes churchPresbyterian. At the time I didnt know or care what the Presbyterian Church taught or believed. It was a little weird sitting in a church with wooden pews that had stained glass windows.
Our first child came into our lives and I decided that we needed to find a church and raise our children as Christians. But this meant we needed to start living as Christians as well. I had never lost the desire to know and love God, I simply ignored my heavenly Father for a period in my life.
I started church shopping. Because I was raised in a non-denominational setting, I decided to openly investigate the various denominations in Christianity to see what I was getting into. Because of my past, I was a skeptic towards church authorities.
I ended up at a Baptist church and I felt more comfortable here than I did at my Presbyterian church. The Baptist organization was closer to The Way model I thought. I moved to a different city and had to leave my Baptist church. I ended up at a Lutheran church of all places and I really enjoyed it. After all, I was into Jesus and fellowshipping with other Christians, but I thought Lutherans were leaning a little too Catholic.
A good friend of mine asked me one day if I had ever heard of The Eucharist. I had not. Saint John chapter 6, plus Communion was never taught to me. I was blown away by what Catholics were taught regarding this. I started an intense 2 year study of church history, the reformation, the sacraments, the early church fathers, a Pope here a Saint there, and all that comes with Catholicism. I consumed Apologetics books like crazy (on both sidesProtestant and Catholic). Scott Hahn, Jeff Cavins, EWTN , Relevant Radio, Father Corapi, and the list goes on and on. I remember one late night watching EWTN and this guy came on and started preaching like a Southern Baptistin your face truth. I thought who is this guy with a Roman collar? It was Father Corapi. I was hooked. Man can he preach! I looked him up on the internet and I could not believe he was coming live to my city. It was as if God gave me a gift to nudge me onward.
Most importantly, the teachings of the Catholic Church areBIBLICAL! I had so many prejudices and misconceptions and falsities to forge through. I reached the point were I had felt left out. I desired the two things the Israelites squabbled over in the Old TestamentAuthority and Food. I found both in the Catholic Church. I am in awe at every Mass to this day!
I reached a point were I needed the Eucharist; I needed ALL of the Sacraments; I needed the deposit of faith and fullness of truth. I had to come home to the Catholic Church (I say come home because as it turns outwhen I was an infant, my mother had me Baptized Catholic! I cried when I received my Baptismal papersI never knew).
I reached a point in my journey where I was actually evangelizing other Catholics. A few dont know or dont live their faith well enough in my humble opinion. I was attending Mass, but not receiving our Lords body and blood. It drove me crazyespecially watching a few other Christians take Holy Communion in such a cavalier way. I often wondered why the Confessional lines were so small, but the Communion lines so large.
I was going to skip RCIA and get right to it but I had one problemmy wife. I wont go into her journey here but I will say one simple thanks and praise to our most beautiful, loving, and example to all of ChristianityMary.
I decided to wait for Confirmation and complete RCIA because my wife agreed to at least look into things. I was willing to give her the time she needed to absorb everything. RCIA was great! I am so thankful I didnt skip it and my wife joined me this last Easter (2006) for our first Confession, Confirmation, and Communion. I should say, we were even blown away that to Catholics, marriage is more than a social contract, its a beautiful Sacrament. So we were re-married into the Church prior to Easter.
Now being open to life and Gods plan rather than our own, we have our third child due in January.
That is the short version of my journey home.
Take care, God bless, and keep up the good fight.
“Bear in mind, however, that the Protestants largely leave the Orthodox alone,...”
They can’t find us. We’re hidden behind all that incense!
You make it sound like the inky cloud a squid emits. Poof!, and the Orthodox have fled to safety in the haze.
“You make it sound like the inky cloud a squid emits.”
Great analogy! :)
“Poof!, and the Orthodox have fled to safety in the haze.”
In a sense, yes. This past Great Lent, as I have for many years, I spent Wednesday evenings and Friday evenings inside the altar in a rasos swinging the thurible and chanting, mostly in Greek but some in English during the pre-sanctified Liturgies and the Akathists to the Most Holy Theotokos. It was a wonderful place to be, LNF, off the time line, where earth meets heaven, my chanting joined with that of the angels and the saints and our prayers rising like incense before God as an evening sacrifice. A very safe place to be, LNF, one my people have remained in for about 1800 years.
where earth meets heaven
That's part, if I understand it correctly, of the Reformed understanding of worship. (Doing reading in that lately, being not as well taught as I would like to be and surrounded by generic evangelicalism and it's "if it feels good do it" attitude for many years.)
St. Augustine did not make his comment on spiritual restlessness just about himself.
Tsk, tsk. Christ will come on a cloud, too.
That's almost word-for-word how my favorite priest describes the Mass.
Abbaye Sainte-Madeleine du Barroux
LNF: "That's part, if I understand it correctly, of the Reformed understanding of worship."
I wouldn't know about the theology of Reformed liturgics. My assumption is, and believe me that's all it is, is that Reformed liturgical theology would be rather dramatically different from that Of Orthodoxy if only because of the Reformers general rejection of Liturgical worship and especially of the Eucharistic theology of The Church. At any rate, Orthodox liturgical theology, indeed all Orthodox theology, can be gleaned from how we pray, Lex Orandi, Lex Credendi as our Latin brethren say.
The Orthodox Divine Liturgy has always been an other worldly experience. Back in the 10th century, Prince Vladimir of Kiev, a pagan, sent his men out into the world to investigate the religions of the Mohammedans, the Germans and the Greeks. Here is what they said on their return:
In 987 Vladimir summoned together his vassals and the city elders, and said to them: "Behold, the Bulgars came before me urging me to accept their religion. Then came the Germans and praised their own faith; and after them came the Jews. Finally the Greeks appeared, criticising all other faiths but commanding their own, and they spoke at length, telling the history of the whole world from its beginning. Their words were artful, and it was wondrous to listen and pleasant to hear them. They preach the existence of another world. 'Whoever adopts our religion and then dies shall arise and live forever. But whosoever embraces another faith, shall be consumed with fire in the next world.' What is your opinion on this subject, and what do you answer?" The vassals and the elders replied: "You know, O Prince, that no man condemns his own possessions, but praises them instead. If you desire to make certain, you have servants at your disposal. Send them to inquire about the ritual of each and how he worships God. " Their counsel pleased the prince and all the people, so that they chose good and wise men to the number of ten, and directed them to go first among the Bulgars and inspect their faith. The emissaries went their way, and when they arrived at their destination they beheld the disgraceful actions of the Bulgars and their worship in the mosque; then they returned to their own country. Vladimir then instructed them to go likewise among the Germans, and examine their faith, and finally to visit the Greeks. They thus went into Germany, and after viewing the German ceremonial, they proceeded to Constantinople where they appeared before the emperor. He inquired on what mission they had come, and they reported to him all that had occurred.. When the emperor heard their words, he rejoiced, and did them great honour on that very day.
On the morrow, the emperor sent a message to the patriarch to inform him that a Russian delegation had arrived to examine the Greek faith, and directed him to prepare the church and the clergy, and to array himself in his sacerdotal robes, so that the Russians might behold the glory of the God of the Greeks. When the patriarch received these commands, he bade the clergy assemble, and they performed the customary rites. They burned incense, and the choirs sang hymns. The emperor accompanied the Russians to the church, and placed them in a wide space, calling their attention to the beauty of the edifice, the chanting, and the offices of the archpriest and the ministry of the deacons, while he explained to them the worship of his God. The Russians were astonished, and in their wonder praised the Greek ceremonial. Then the Emperors Basil and Constantine invited the envoys to their presence, and said, "Go hence to your native country," and thus dismissed them with valuable presents and great honour. Thus they returned to their own country, and the prince called together his vassals and the elders. Vladimir then announced the return of the envoys who had been sent out, and suggested that their report be heard. He thus commanded them to speak out before his vassals. The envoys reported: "When we journeyed among the Bulgars, we beheld how they worship in their temple, called a mosque, while they stand ungirt. The Bulgarian bows, sits down, looks hither and thither like one possessed, and there is no happiness among them, but instead only sorrow and a dreadful stench. Their religion is not good. Then we went among the Germans, and saw them performing many ceremonies in their temples; but we beheld no glory there. Then we went on to Greece, and the Greeks led us to the edifices where they worship their God, and we knew not whether we were in heaven or on earth. For on earth there is no such splendour or such beauty, and we are at a loss how to describe it. We know only that God dwells there among men, and their service is fairer than the ceremonies of other nations. For we cannot forget that beauty. Every man, after tasting something sweet, is afterward unwilling to accept that which is bitter, and therefore we cannot dwell longer here."
There is a wonderful story, Russian I believe, called the "Revelation of the Holy Liturgy to the Unbelieving Emperor". It lays out the epitome of an Orthodox Christian's experience while at a Liturgy"
"(At the conclusion of the Kairon) the priest prostrated in the middle of the church before the holy icons, entered the holy place to don the sacred vestments and wash his hands. Then, as he drew near to the prothesis, the emperor saw the priests face begin to brighten! It became brighter than the sun! It was like the face of an angel! Know ye that this is the appearance of all Christs priests when they perform the divine services.
Then the emperor saw a great multitude of angels arrayed in white robes, also with bright faces, descending from above. And in their midst was a Wonderful Child, whose beauty was beyond all heavenly and earthly beauties, and the radiance of His face brightened even more the faces of the angels surrounding Him
The emperor could not believe his eyes, for he now saw that a great multitude of people had filled the church. They were so numerous that they even filled the holy place, surrounding the priest! The people reverently looked at the priest and they all began to pray. What the emperor was seeing was the countless number of people for whom the priest was praying, saints and sinner, living and departed.
The emperor saw the All-holy Virgin clothed in a robe of gold, adorned in varied colors, come and stand at the right hand of her Wonderful Child. He saw St John the Forerunner, severe and thin, clothed in a robe of camels hair and girded about with a leather belt. He saw the glorious prophets, the holy apostles of Jesus Christ the Wonderful Child, and all the wonder-working saints, the right-victorious martyrs and the venerable and righteous men and women.
Their faces were luminous and shining brightly, though some of them had wounds and mangled bodies, while others were very thin and gaunt because of their ascetic labors. All of them had joyfully offered their lives to Christ, the Wonderful Child whom they now surrounded to worship and adore."
It has the beauty and reality of being True! :)
“That’s almost word-for-word how my favorite priest describes the Mass.”
The good father is right! :)