I met him years ago in the Byzantine Catholic circles. He seems to be struggling with his spiritual future as I do for my kids.
It’s understandable given the current state of affairs in the Catholic Church to be alarmed at what is going on. It can really shake your faith to its core and put you to the test.
Like water wears away the rocks over the years, so too can the constant knocks and bumps one receives in the Church whether it’s from the fundamentalist religious zealots who worship all the externals and the beautiful music as well as their intellect and think themselves wise, Or from the crazy progressive movement who seek changes in unchangeable dogma among other disciplines.
In fact let’s be honest and more accurate and admit both these groups wear you down.
The point I’m trying to make is that its behaviour like this which is the straw that breaks the camels back and pushes you to go spiritually seeking again.
I used to say and I’m still a strong believer that you cannot just leave the Church because you emotionally distressed at what you see or because of the actions of someone close to it.
But in recent years I’ve come to understand that sometimes God allows us to experience this emotional distress and only two things are possible as to the reasons why. Either he is testing us or he wants us to come back to his true Church and to pack our bags and begin our spiritual search again in which case only time will tell if that’s the route we choose.
I’m not the only one who thinks this. Many Orthodox priests think like this too. Even the Patriarch of Russia Kirill also agrees that one shouldn’t approach the Orthodox church simply because they’re upset with their own or out of emotional distress but because they have researched and really studied the history of the two churches before making the move.
I know, it seems so easy to say you shouldn’t leave because of the horrors you see but it’s a lot harder to practice trust me. Whats odd is that the Church of England members say the same things.
Even though the Orthodox are not perfect and their bishops struggle to even hold a council, yet there’s something so much more perfect about them and their actions in comparison to that of the Protestant and Catholic Churches.
The fact that their bishops cannot hold a council seems like nothing when we look at the extreme divisions in the Catholic Church and the rupture of its Liturgy and irreverence of the Eucharist to the point now where they’re teaching in the seminaries that there is no true presence and it’s just bread.
Are there Roman Catholic Liturgies out there that really try their best to be reverent? Of course there are but there so small in number, in fact the only one I’d ever visibly witnessed was on EWTN. If there is any they’re usually in rich suburbs where the wealthy reside.
However in the Orthodox Church it’s EXTREMELY difficult to find any Church that does not uphold tradition unless it’s some weird sect of the Orthodox that usually begins in the united states but then again in the modern-day Sodom and Gommarah ( America) you can find just about any perversion of something according to your perverted tastes.
Orthodoxy in the west was pretty much off the radar completely until the birth of YouTube and Facebook in which we can literally find out all about them now.
So now Catholics are beginning to witness more and more the Orthodox Church and like a jeweler who holds up two diamonds can now tell the real from the fake right away and the Orthodox help them do this.
This is why many Catholics have been converting to Orthodoxy in their thousands especially in America.
People are seeking a relationship with God not bible studies and theological courses offered by the current intellectual western church.
The western Churches desire to engage people with theological study groups is completely missing the mark and people are not looking to learn about God but to converse with him which is what prayer is.
In the Orthodox Church the whole theological study is left to priests but the emphasis is on relationship with God. Even Thomas Aquinas after all his study admitted that it amounted to nothing in comparison to simple prayer.
This is what they’re hungry for and so when they enter a church and smell the sweet wax from the burning of the candles and the lavender coated incense billowing to the roof tops in which can be seen only through the rays of light penetrating the little windows of the church, they’re immediately struck by how transcendant it is in comparison to their own church which looks like a conference centre suffering from iconoclasm.
You see the Church of the west got John of the Cross all wrong. He rebuked people not for wearing crosses but for not focusing on the interior yet the exterior is just as important as the interior.
However they’ve abandonded the visuals designed by God to help lift us to him. All the traditions meant to steer us in the direction of prayer with him.
The Light of the East has a powerful pull on us all but I’m sticking with my Byzantine Catholic Church for now. Many view this church not as a bridge for unity but as a bridge towards the Orthodox Church, the final nail in the coffin before the person finally takes the leap into the Orthodox Church.
Perhaps that is so but it will be God who will guide me in the end and decide whats best for me and my family.
Nobody understands how serious the battle is but I have a friend whose experiencing the same almost identical. Perhaps our friendship will help us both get to the bottom of this and help us settle in the church that we know is the true one.