*Sigh* Where to begin? And how to write this without sounding like a particularly "high maintenance" kind of person?
The short back story. Husband, daughter and I converted from the Lutheran denomination to Roman Catholicism nearly 5 years ago (please spare me the comments about the 5-year-lifespan of a covert). We began attending a Ruthenian Rite Catholic parish about 3 years ago. We really grew attached to the Eastern praxis. As we asked questions about Eastern Rite Catholicism we were given Orthodox book suggestions as answers. So we began investigating Orthodoxy and found that we have more basis for theological agreement with Orthodoxy than with the Catholic Church. It began to become evident that had we known that you don't need to be Greek to go to a Greek Orthodox parish (we lived in a very ethnically Greek area so our Greek Orthodox parishes were heavily Greek in ethnicity) we might never have joined the Catholic Church to begin with.
We hesitated to make any major changes and we stayed in our Ruthenian parish for 2 years. Until we moved to Alabama. When we got here we found that our options for Catholic worship were all Roman Rite - unless we wanted to drive to Birmingham (over an hour away). We found, though that there is a Greek Orthodox parish here. We attended the Divine Liturgy for several weeks. We had an appointment to talk to the priest about becoming Orthodox. The meeting got canceled due to conflicting schedules. I got cold feet (I hate change and I really don't want to ever go through this type of indecision again so we decided to move very carefully). That was many months ago.
A few weeks ago my now 12-year-old daughter told me that she'd been researching Orthodoxy on her own and feels that she is "really Orthodox and not Catholic." Okay. I'm cool with that. Hey we live in Alabama - I'm just glad she's not saying, "Oh I want to be part of the Church of Christ." or some such anti-Catholic and anti-Orthodox Protestant denomination. I talk to my husband about it all and he says, "Yeah. I've been feeling the same thing."
We attended the Divine Liturgy yesterday. It was very nice and the priests words seemed as though they were chosen specifically for us as his words eerily echoed a conversation I had with my daughter about the Sacraments and the writings of the Early Church Fathers and the guidance of the Saints and how fortunate it is to be Orthodox or Catholic and have more of a guide through this fallen world than just personal opinion/interpretation of the Bible and the opinion of a charismatic preacher.
As we joined the parish in the parish hall for lentil soup and conversation both my husband and my daughter (at separate times) confided to me that they both felt very at home during the Divine Liturgy and that they both felt more spiritually enriched by the icons and the DL than during the Catholic Mass.
Now for the high maintenance and complicated part. I liked the DL - but I'm not feeling what they're feeling. I mean I love iconography. But I just don't know that I can (want to?) separate myself from some of the things from our practice of the Catholic faith that means a lot to me.
Can a family survive if two of them convert to Orthodoxy and one does not? Attending church together wouldn't even be a problem. The Shrine where I prefer to attend Mass celebrates the Mass at 7:00 AM. I could be home just in time to hop in the car with hubby and the kid and go to the DL after attending the Mass. So we could still attend as a family.
But things like Lent, the date of the celebration of Easter, different days of fasting, different rules of fasting ... it could get complicated.
I have no objections to Orthodox theology and I have some serious doubts about some Catholic theology (the filioque for one, papal infallibility for another). So I suppose I'm not all the great of a Catholic - since at best I have questions about and at worst I deny some dogmatic teachings of the Church. Yet I am still afraid to move forward. I despise the idea of church hopping. I do not want to be eternally seeking. On the one hand I know that if I had been more courageous and faced what I thought was an ethnic divide and researched Orthodoxy more fully I probably would not have chosen to join the Catholic Church. But now that I have - the idea of another such major change is pretty scary.
I cannot/will not hold my daughter back from investigating Orthodoxy and if she feels so led from converting. Here in the wilds of Northern Alabama I fear that standing in her way on this would only lead to a rebellion that would lead her to something really horrible instead of something truly beautiful. Though I still worry that my lack of enthusiasm for another round of learning new theology, new doctrine, new praxis ... and for another long period without confession and communion ... may hurt my family.
Oh brother ... am I making any sense at all? I'm not even sure how to talk to my husband about this. We've been very spiritually stagnant since moving here - away from a parish we loved, away from good friends who share religious beliefs. To see my husband find again a desire to grow in holiness is a wonderful thing. I don't want my lack of enthusiasm to dampen that either.
So what say you? Can a house divided stand (if the division is not contentious)? Or will I be doing harm? What would you do?
And yes - after Easter, when the priest's schedule is less demanding I do plan to talk to him about this as well. I'm just looking for any and all feedback as food for thought.