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Author Topic: Five Good Reasons NOT to Visit a Monastery- By: Metropolitan Jonah of the OCA  (Read 995 times) Average Rating: 0
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Myrrh23
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« on: January 22, 2010, 01:02:28 AM »

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The priest looked out of the altar, checking to see if the choir director was ready to begin the hours before the Divine Liturgy. Just as he was ready to say, “Blessed is our God,” his newest convert, Bill, made a grand entrance into the church, having just gotten back from his latest pilgrimage to another monastery. Bill — or Vasili, as he now insisted on being called — had been a normal young evangelical convert, clean-cut, single, and working his first job out of college. Then he discovered Orthodoxy in a bookstore, and with great zeal embraced the Faith. He was chrismated after a usual six-month catechumenate, during which he read just about every book in print on the Orthodox Faith.

After a year or so, Bill had decided to go visit monasteries. This is where his change began. He became more pious and more serious about his faith, but also started to become, well, weird. Like this Sunday morning. Bill/Vasili was not content to come in like everyone else. Rather, prayer ropes flying from his wrists, he made grand bows at the entrance to the nave, and again, the entire congregation watching, with a flourish prostrated before virtually every icon in the church. It was such a display that no one listened to the hours.

Then, just before the time the Liturgy should have begun, Bill came up to the door of the altar and announced he must have confession, or he’d be in big trouble with the holy elders. Father, being patient with zealous youths, went to hear the confession.

http://images.google.com/imgres?imgurl=http://theinnerkingdom.files.wordpress.com/2009/07/metjonah.jpg&imgrefurl=http://theinnerkingdom.wordpress.com/2009/07/24/five-good-reasons-not-to-visit-a-monastery-by-metropolitan-jonah-of-the-oca/&usg=__dFFpEbvW0hsYDl4caCwjOJjWH-8=&h=450&w=640&sz=171&hl=en&start=8&um=1&tbnid=FGJ-TZRvbjeRdM:&tbnh=96&tbnw=137&prev=/images%3Fq%3Dmetropolitan%2Bjonah%26hl%3Den%26sa%3DN%26um%3D1
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« Reply #1 on: January 22, 2010, 01:38:57 AM »

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The priest looked out of the altar, checking to see if the choir director was ready to begin the hours before the Divine Liturgy. Just as he was ready to say, “Blessed is our God,” his newest convert, Bill, made a grand entrance into the church, having just gotten back from his latest pilgrimage to another monastery. Bill — or Vasili, as he now insisted on being called — had been a normal young evangelical convert, clean-cut, single, and working his first job out of college. Then he discovered Orthodoxy in a bookstore, and with great zeal embraced the Faith. He was chrismated after a usual six-month catechumenate, during which he read just about every book in print on the Orthodox Faith.

After a year or so, Bill had decided to go visit monasteries. This is where his change began. He became more pious and more serious about his faith, but also started to become, well, weird. Like this Sunday morning. Bill/Vasili was not content to come in like everyone else. Rather, prayer ropes flying from his wrists, he made grand bows at the entrance to the nave, and again, the entire congregation watching, with a flourish prostrated before virtually every icon in the church. It was such a display that no one listened to the hours.

Then, just before the time the Liturgy should have begun, Bill came up to the door of the altar and announced he must have confession, or he’d be in big trouble with the holy elders. Father, being patient with zealous youths, went to hear the confession.

http://images.google.com/imgres?imgurl=http://theinnerkingdom.files.wordpress.com/2009/07/metjonah.jpg&imgrefurl=http://theinnerkingdom.wordpress.com/2009/07/24/five-good-reasons-not-to-visit-a-monastery-by-metropolitan-jonah-of-the-oca/&usg=__dFFpEbvW0hsYDl4caCwjOJjWH-8=&h=450&w=640&sz=171&hl=en&start=8&um=1&tbnid=FGJ-TZRvbjeRdM:&tbnh=96&tbnw=137&prev=/images%3Fq%3Dmetropolitan%2Bjonah%26hl%3Den%26sa%3DN%26um%3D1

I wonder what he would say today..
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« Reply #2 on: January 22, 2010, 01:39:59 AM »

Here's a a shorter link to this helpful article. Thank you for bringing this to my attention. 
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« Reply #3 on: January 22, 2010, 05:38:50 PM »

At first I thought that I would hate this article and I can tell you that I was a bit surprised but I don't hate it.
However I am very confused!
Why is an example of this Bill AKA Vasili who went to the "monastery" of a schismatic hieromonk a good example of why you shouldn't go to a monastery? Shouldn't this be called "What to watch out for when you start visiting Monasteries!"?
Maybe the title was just to draw readers? There is a lot of good points but I don't think that only the monks and nuns are called to be "not of this world."
Also I think that the problem is that many cradle Orthodox don't like to see those who converted being "holier than thou" and want things to stay just status quo. I don't mean this in a mean way but I've gone to two parishes that were like this and it was not me saying it but the parish priest! Most of those of the baby boormer generation and younger had the attitude that Communion is just what you do on Sunday and didn't even know that you are to fast from the night before or pray the preparatory prayers, young men would frequently hang out in the parish hall or outside, the young women attended but dressed like they were going to a nightclub - it's not easy for men to pay attention when the woman in front of you is wearing skin-tight black spandex and perfume that is sweeter than incense - and the talking & bustling during the Liturgy made it difficult for those in the back to hear or pay attention with reverence.  I know that in one of the parishes that I mentioned the priest finally "laid down the law" and told his parishoners, "Communion is only for those who've had a recent Confession, have fasted from midnight and have said the Preparatory prayers for Communion! Remember that Scripture says you will be held accountable if you partake un-worthily. So please do not come to receive our Lord's Precious Body and Blood if you have not prepared yourself." From that time on only a few people would take Communion every Sunday. He told the people that he wanted them to receive our Lord and told them that they should make regular Confession and regularly take Communion (4 X a year).
If the people in these parishes took a week at a Monastery and lived that life and got to taste the fruit of genuine penance, hard work, strict order, beautiful-peaceful silence and prayer from the heart I think they would come back to parish life renewed and hearts ready to receive the King of Glory!
Also I want to ask those who read this, Do you think Met. Jonah is saying that you don't need to prepare for Communion with the Preparatory prayers? This surprises me because as an adult I've always been taught to pray the Canon of Preparation for Communion and the Preparatory Prayers for Holy Communion when I partake. However I have to admit that only a few times have I been able to fulfill the recommendation at the end of my Jordanville Prayerbook entirely:
Quote
Those who are preparing for Holy Communion are obliged to read three Canons and one Akathist the evening before. Usually read are the Canons to the Saviour, the Mother of God, and the Guardian Angel (in that order), and either an Akathist to the Saviour or to the Mother of God. Those who desire to carry out this evening rule of prayer daily receive great spiritual benefit from doing so.
http://www.stmaryofegypt.org/prayerbook/order.htm

I'm not judging anyone by stating what I just did. I don't think my father has ever fulfilled a pre-Communion prayer rule and doubt that at his age he could start now but I still love him and know that he is a loving and God-fearing man.
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« Reply #4 on: January 22, 2010, 07:56:44 PM »

Also I want to ask those who read this, Do you think Met. Jonah is saying that you don't need to prepare for Communion with the Preparatory prayers?

I think the message is: Don't bite off more than you can chew, especially when you're new to the faith.
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« Reply #5 on: January 23, 2010, 12:10:32 AM »

Thanks, Myrrh23 for posting this article.  It's excellent. 

Also I want to ask those who read this, Do you think Met. Jonah is saying that you don't need to prepare for Communion with the Preparatory prayers?

I basically agree with wynd. 

My answer is "not necessarily".   Metropolitan Jonah is saying that you need to be careful about going overboard.   

As for preparation for communion, IMO one should always follow the instructions for preparation from the presiding priest, if you know them. 

I've heard many different views from different priests - on the Orthodox side, some will say that the precommunion prayers are enough. Others will require confession and attendance at Vespers/Orthros.  Others further require Monday, Wednesday and Friday fasting.  On the other side, in the Catholic church the only requirement is fasting from food an hour beforehand and not having any "mortal sins".   This, IMO, is done because they wanted to make a uniform rule that will undoubtedly work for everyone - in the Latin Church daily attendance at Mass (which can happen early in the morning or late in the evening), and reception of the eucharist at each Mass is what's preferred.

(IMO, the reason for the difference is due to each indivudual parish/monastery/persons' prayer cycle, as well as different interpretations of sacramental theology - i.e. how often should there be eucharistic liturgy, should one receive each time one attends Liturgy, etc.

I wouldn't say any side is "wrong".  The logic more extreme Orthodox side is obvious.  The Latin practice of daily Eucharistic liturgy and reception of all in attendance was without any doubt common in the early years of the Church.  The problem with the Latin Church today, IMO, is that there are many "individual" Masses that are scheduled according to programs and people's convenience.  There's no attempt to balance with the Matins/Lauds, Vespers, and the other liturgies of the hours; and there's not even the faintest idea of "one church, one congregation")
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O Lord although I desired to blot out
with my tears the handwriting of my many sins
And for the rest of my life to please Thee
through sincere repentance
Yet doth the enemy lead me astray as he wareth
against my sould with his cunning

O Lord before I utterly perish do Thou save me!
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