Posts Tagged With: domestic

A Domestic Schism

In a conversation over dinner with someone earlier in the week they asked what was the attraction of the Byzantine Catholic and Orthodox churches.

It was a good question but not one I could have answered without my soup going cold so I had to be quick and say what came to mind.

I said what attracted me was the balanced masculinity and femininity of the services. The reverence was also on top of the agenda. It just suits my personality and I’ve a very masculine kind of persona where the Roman Church just can’t satisfy that and its more a church that used to have this but no longer has mans attention.

The Roman Mass today with its few faults is still a nice one when done appropriately (which I’ve never seen happen except on EWTN) but even so my heart really is in the eastern churches.

Then tonight I read something in my Ukrainian Greek Catholic Catechism which really brings it home. In it, the Envoy of prince Vladimir is sent to find a religion suitable for Ukraine and lo and behold they stumble into the Hagia Sophia. They wrote back saying:

‘“And we went into the Greek lands, and we were led into a place where they serve their God, and we did not know where we were, on heaven or on earth; and do not know how to tell about this. All we know is that God lives there with people and their service is better than in any other country. We cannot forget that beauty since each person, if he eats something sweet, will not take something bitter afterwards; so we cannot remain any more in paganism.”

It sounds almost cruel and I don’t want it to sound cruel out of respect for the mass but to me all I taste when I’m at a Roman Liturgy is bitterness now that I’ve tasted the sweetness of both Orthodox and Greek Catholic Churches.

When I came back to the Church there was only one Church which was your local roman church. I even got involved with my guitars and thought this is great this will do.

Then one day I stumble across a you tube video of Orthodox chanting and choral singing both in Russian and Greek. I then experienced via you tube an Orthodox service and I was totally lifted off the ground by the reverence and presence, beauty and majesty of God I felt there.

Things go even worse when I went to Greece and visited just your average Orthodox parish. I was thrown back by the intensity of all I’d seen, heard and smelled. It woke me up to realize that they may be the truth.

However I have decided to remain in the Ukrainian Greek Catholic Church for now because I can’t bring myself to the Orthodox churches just yet. But to say I’m obsessed would be an understatement.

I still go to adoration here and confession in the roman churches but once a week I’m determined to make it to Dublin for Divine Liturgy. It’s the only thing keeping me alive in the Catholic Church and if it wasn’t for it I’d crumble under pressure and become Orthodox.

After so many falls in the Roman Catholic church and clashes with the faithless clergy there and having to forfeit so many theological classes  because they’re full of twisted theology, I decided I’d had enough. Got my boys baptised into the UGCC and never looked back.

The only sad thing is that my wife doesn’t share the same enthusiasm and wants to remain going to her local RC church. So we are split. I take Christian to the UGCC and she takes Joseph to her church on Sunday.

I used to go with my wife every sunday to the roman church because I felt pressure that we should be together as a family which we definitely should be but recently I’ve had enough. I need to take care of my mental and spiritual health and if that means a sort of mini schism occurring in my own household then so be it.

This is it, once you’ve tasted the sweetness of Orthodoxy it’s very difficult to make a return to the bitter.

 

 

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What exactly is a Saint?

I am just a lay man with little or no knowledge at all on what grounds the Church may view a Saint to be. So take my words with a pinch of salt and a dash of suspicion thrown in for good measure.

Many of us seem to think that a Saint is someone who just locks themselves away in a monastery somewhere and embarks upon a life of spiritual perfection. Ok that is true. But what about those people who live tireless lives of working hard with the Lord, those who never tire of being tenacious in their bid to be united with him by reducing their vices and passions and confessing them daily?

I do believe we have two types of personalities in the Church that reflect the apostles St.Peter and St.John. St.Peter was forever making blunders and even denied Our Lord three times. Yet he was excited about God and the first opportunity he got to repent, he did. Yet this is the Saint upon whom Christ built his Church and put in charge of the universal Church.

St.John of course reflects the kind of person who wishes to really get close to Christ. For me he reflects the people who lead the life of spiritual perfection of whom I spoke about earlier.

I saw a documentary of a woman who did a great job for the local addicts in her town. She took them in to her halfway house in the Bronx and really worked hard on them. She was loud, sometimes cursed too and there is one stage in the movie where she drops the F-bomb because she is feeling ill. Her name is Sister Helen. This woman is a Saint in my eyes. Some may say, ”But isn’t a saint somebody who doesn’t say curse words or is loud and shouts a lot?” Lets re-phrase that question to ”Is not a saint somebody who does not sin?” and we begin to see how stupid a question that is because . . . We all sin!!!

But don’t we know the tree by its fruit? Well yes of course, but is not St.Peters sin of denial and return to God through repentance a fruit? Is not the woman who does good yet struggles with the passions and asks mercy from God to forgive such sins and get on with the battle evidence of someone who bears fruit amidst the struggle?

So I think we need to sit back and meditate on what exactly it is that makes a sinner a saint. To meditate on the two personalities, that is, St.Peter and St.John. The man who lives in the world, yet is striving to be not of the world, and the man who has removed himself from the world and is on a path to spiritual perfection in the Lord. If you ask me, I think in order to be like St.John we must first stand and walk in the shoes of St.Peter first. And some of us may never leave the shoes of being a St.Peter. But I’d rather my life reflect one of these saints than none at all wouldn’t you? St.Peter was a rock. The winds of sin try to blow him down but he is tenacious and keeps on begging the Lord to forgive his sins and is tenacious in staying close to the Heart of God.

I am not condoning sinning, God forbid. But I am saying we should not deny someone sainthood because of it. We should look at how they lived their lives and look for the fruits. The rosary, going to confession, Mass, adoration, fasting, scriptures, worked hard in reducing that passion of alcoholism, he was a fighter not a man of despair and never gave up trying even though he died with this passion weighing heavily on his shoulders. This is also the kind of man that makes a saint. The fruit of ”tenacity” was in him until the end.

Thank you my friends for reading my post. As I said before, take what I say with a pinch of salt and a dash of suspicion for I am a wretch who in reality has not a clue what he is talking about, therefore if I said anything wrong please by all means correct me.

Domestic Monk

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