This is a very troubling topic (that of a short catechumenate.) I have a feeling (very little concrete evidence) that people are being baptized/chrismated without a long enough catechumenate. There are a lot of questions being asked on this very forum, by Orthodox Christians, about topics that should have been addressed and memorized during their catechumenate (I guilty of this very thing.) I can't decide if our churches are doing a poor job, or if our societies are simply too powerful and persausive. Orthodox Christians of past centuries knew their faith inside and out and they fought and died for it or were imprisoned. These days we seem to have a 'live and let live' attitude where we have atheist slogans memorized and happily quote them but are completely ignorant of the Lives of the Saints-. Modernism and it's cousin Ecumenism are literally eating away at the minds of the faithful like a cancer. I don't mean to sound alarmist (though we do need a wake-up call), nor do I mean to sound as if I'm condemning any one in particular for I'm just as guilty. Lastly, I apologize for hijacking this thread. Maybe it's a topic for another thread?
I am sorry but I came onto this topic late.
I appreciate your comment.
Sadly what it will take to change our condition is too difficult for people in our era of the world.
What is at the the root of this problem has been allowed to 'fester' for so long that the 'stink' (so to speak) smells as 'sweet' as candy now. We have learned to adapt our Christian Orthodoxy in such a way that we can now justify our laxity and modernist mind set and life styles with our 'faith'. This includes alot of our clergy. So now anyone who attacks the current way we are happily living particular in America are to be severely shoved and rebuked for being "our judge" and "being self rightious".
You and me are really no better off. We just are willing to see things for what they are and are thus at a first stage of healing.
Orthodox Christians today are in my opinion a lot different from our forebears.
Our preoccupations and immense value and respect even love for the world is our biggest concern.
WE push more heritage, language, national and family traditon in the Church more than anything
else. Shocking that we do this in an age where we have a global community that we can reach with the message of Gods love and salvation.
But how can we do that if we are using old Greek laguages in the services (as an example) and are not missionizing to the world this message of Gods love and salvation in a way that people will hear and see and thus understand. We even maintain behaviors and tradtions today that is common to any person who could care less about God. This is another stumbling block. Since while the tradition and behaviors themsleves may not be so bad the fact that the people who need to see the light of the Church to belive DO NOT see it because we WHO ARE that light are not shinning brightly. We put our light "under a basket". So we are walking in darkness with those who are in darkness. Who is saved in this? We think WE are because we know we have the light (albeit "under a basket") and "they" do not. We will remove the basket when we have a chance...Sundays and feast days etc. But when we walk the street and get back to our 'real lives' the basket goes right back on top.
I am encouraged by the post you made. I hope I have returned the same.
A catachumen must hate his life. If he loves his life than he can not know the truth. He must want and crave to die a full spiritual death in this world. Once he does he will be re-born a new person with a new mind and a new life that is NOT in the world (on earth yes....but not in the 'world') but IN CHRIST JESUS. He will look at the world with tearful eyes and a sorrowful heart. The world he once loved and enjoyed he now cries for. He cries because he knows he can not leave this corrupted world until due time and until then he must remain. His remaining is a life of abstinence and hardship as he bears his cross every day persuing the peace of Jesus for others as well as himself. He knows that he must be a light to the world. And true light always rebukes and destroys the darkness
To often the catachumen is not encouraged to understand that he is on a journey alone. The same journy that he will stay on until he is re-born if God permits.
The catachumen must not be allowd to think of baptism and the church in his own way. He must not be allowd to think that he will go on with life as usual after baptism.
If this is allowed and he is learned for example again in Greek culture, Greek language, Greek heritage and Greek tradition but does not know Gods Love and salavation for him; how can he persue the peace in Christ Jesus that all true faithful live to achieve? And if he does not know to live a life persuing this peace, this holiness, then what will be his focus as an Orthodox Christian? Painting eggs?, Taking the kids to see Peter Cotton Tail and then a big traditonal family dinner afterward? Maybe kissing under the misel toe? Nice traditions if that is what keeps you going. But the path to etrnal life must be the basis for all of our actions in this world. These traditions therefore must not be allowed to be the basis and focus of the true and holy faith. This starts with the catachumen.