"O heavenly King, Comforter, the Spirit of Truth, Who art present everywhere and fillest all tings, the Treasure of blessings and the Giver of life ; come and take Thy abode in us, and cleanse us of every stain, and save our souls, O Gracious One."
Since my computer is still on as I finish my latin, I figured I'd make a quick post before going to grab my laundry and going to bed.
I always , it seems, have trouble making major life decisions. Or at least knowing when I should decide something. I can never be certain that its not just a passing fancy and I am always impatient in making these decisions. I ,of course, ran into this in a major way freshmen year when I attempted to join the Transalpine Redemptorists, then of course affiliated with the SSPX. Or perhaps when I considered becoming Orthodox(the three times). Yeah : ( needless to say I have been all over the map of apostolic christianity. Maronite, Eastern Orthodox, Oriental Orthodox, Roman, traditional roman, schismatic traditionalist, and Byzantine Catholic. Though I will say that this time, it does feel different. I feel much more at home at the mission. I suppose my issue is how do I know this is not just some sort of passing fancy, or if this is the real deal. Is this where I really belong and is this where God really has been leading me all my life? I suppose there isn't a major rush to decide this now or not... but I feel like I am in a limbo of sorts. I can't say I am latin, and I can't say I am a greek or a syriac. My spiritual and liturgical life is torn between the latin and the greek and I suppose the issue here is that I have no stability. I have roots set in each tradition but because of this, I can not have deep roots within one Tradition. I have no place to call a spiritual home as I wander the desert for the last four years since my rediscovering Christ. Here though I do feel more at home. I am not made to abandon my love of philosophy as I felt I was in the Syriac tradition, but at the same time I hold onto the deep sense of mystery that is so lacking within the Latin tradition(both traditional and modern). Perhaps that is an oversimplification of the three major traditions, but I feel its accurate enough. The Byzantine tradition, in my view , is the perfect meeting place between western rationalism and oriental mysticism. The energy/essence distinction, for one thing, perfectly fits into the epistemology I had developed for myself on how we understand God in such a close way that its a little unbeleivable that I didn't just copy the concept without using the terms! But I didn't copy it for I was ignorant of it before recently. And something else lost within the West, or horribly mutated in some instances, is the idea of being 'moved' by the Spirit. This is something I have just started to understand within my own prayer life. To my original point though, I don't want to canonically switch to a new church only then a week later to be back in a latin state of mind. Right now, I have placed as a benchmark January or Febuary as the earliest that I would request to make such a change. That would be about a year since when my return to the East occured. It is interesting though, how often I have moved eastward in the last four years. (Infact I even considered it at a passing glance 5 years ago when I felt completely lost and fell into far eastern paganism, BUT thats a different story all together. Ah the foolishness of emo high schoolness). Off hand, I can recall 4 or 5 times in which I seriously have considered becoming eastern christian (whether Orthodox or Catholic). I reached closure to the Orthodox tendencies when I learned the linguistics behind the Fillioque and procedit as opposed to their Greek counterpart. Not to mention that the statement was older then just the council of toledo. For almost a year now, I have been pretty solidly Eastern(if there is such a thing) in my basic theological out look. Anyways...
Last saturday I took up cantoring and received many a compliment. I am a pretty good natural singer, but I do not have too much formal training in it. (Musically I am pretty talented, now if I just has the discipline to keep up my saxophones then perhaps I would be quite good at it : p ). The first time I walked into a greek orthodox church 4 years ago and I heard the chanting I knew that I wanted to do that! At one point, when I was considering joining a Bulgarian Orthodox church I also acted as a chanter, though somehow I picked up the tone without having the sheet music for it! Now I am finally a formal cantor at a Byzantine church and I have to say that I love it. I have heard from others online, that most english Ukrainian Catholic Divine Liturgies are 'low mass' types with little or no singing, and if thats the case then our little mission is much different. We sing everything here and now we even have sung propers. Now if only we could get more people to show up. This weekend, Fr. Mark from St. Nicholas in Raleigh is coming down to discuss the future of the mission and the mission administrator is currently in formation to become a deacon in the Eparchy. If I have a call to the priesthood, I really hope it is to this eparchy so that I could come back to the Carolinas and help spread the Byzantine Ukrainian tradition throughout the two states! To think that a southern state like North Carolina has 4 Ukrainian Catholic missions and at least one Ruthenian parish(to my knowledge) is incredible! I just wish there was more I could do for the Mission's growth. My associate Mr. Catron and I placed several fliers about my school to promote it to college students but people keep moving my one flier in the Adoration chapel.... I hope we can get our local deacon, or Fr. Mark or Fr. Sean to come by the school in the future and give a talk on the Byzantine Tradition.
Well this post turned out a lot longer then I thought it would. Sorry for the long read (you know,to all 1 or 2 of the people that might read this : p ). If anyone has advice then please do not be stingy and share it with me : ) .
After re reading my old March post on this same issue, I have something to add. Perhaps my initial feelings of St. Basil was out of a subconcious desire to avoid Eastern Orthodoxy ? OR perhaps I really am a rootless ecclesial vagabond and simply can not make up my mind? Or perhaps God wanted me to experiance the Maronites more from a theological and spiritual perspective, rather then the purely liturgical one I had before, in order to help me grow to realize my true home in the Byzantine east? Only God knows I suppse. Well ok off to bed.