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Author Topic: Insight needed from converts and long time Orthodox  (Read 1239 times) Average Rating: 0
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NMHS
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« on: April 16, 2010, 02:56:28 AM »



Here's the short version.  I have been studying Orthodoxy for the last 9 months and I am at a point where I have started to ask myself some questions because I believe I am coming to a crossroad.  Am I bound for Orthodoxy?  I have been told that God will lead us in a direction that is according to His will, even if we may not will it that way.   Well, I am wondering if this path that I am on is the direction that God is calling me to or is this self directed.  I highly doubt that it is self directed but I have made some self directed moves in the past that were more of my own doing than maybe Gods.  Everyday I find myself taking part in more practices and customs of the Orthodox church even though I am not Orthodox.  I often ponder if I have taken the turn to Orthodoxy and there is no turning back.   So I pray a lot and strive to be patient and wonder if this could be God's will and not my own desires.  I think if it is Gods' will then it will happen either way.  Would you think the same?

Another question I have concerns my wife.  There were a series of (divine??) events that brought my wife and I together and a series of events throughout our life that we can only contribute to Gods' Will.  So with this I wonder, could I leave the church of my wife for another church knowing that our life was ordained by God?  What kind of issues would this bring up? Will this cause spiritual dryness on her part? Will I be judged for this on my judgement day.  I almost feel that I could not leave the RCC unless I knew it was the Will of God and my wife would come along?  I also think if it is the Will of God then I cannot stop this progression. I pray for guidance on this issue every day. 

I am taking things very slow with my wife and I have shared some of this with her and some of it I have not.   I have explained to her that my desire for Orthodoxy is not going away and that I am not learning about it for some hidden agenda but I believe that this may be the road that God is leading my down.  I struggle with this point of going alone and not having my wife there. I have told my wife a couple times and I can't help but think that if this is the Will of God then there is no controlling it............my wife doesn't see it that way.    I  can't help but think that one day I am going to have to let her know where I might stand on this topic and my thoughts on moving towards the Orthodox Church.  I also am contact with a local priest about these thoughts and concerns.

How familiar does all this sound to converts and other long time Orthodox?

Anyway I wanted to get this out there and see what the thoughts were of some folks, and its well after midnight so forgive me if there are some ramblings in this post.  I'll check back when I can.  Thanks Smiley
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Thomas
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« Reply #1 on: April 16, 2010, 09:20:20 AM »

When I left  Mormonism, I realized that while I would like my wife to come with me but knew that we are each responsible for our own spiritual belief and testimony. I explained to her why I was leaving and that although I wanted her with me on this journey home, I knew I could not force her and I would support her in whatever her decision was . I let her know I was on the path to what I understood to be the Faith of the Early Church.

I was very surprised to learn that she too had been thinking much along the same lines and we started our journeytogether to Orthodoxy.We continue on the same spiritual path to this day in the Holy Orthodox Church (20+years now). We all grow day by day in our faith.

From what I have seen, I think for many Roman Catholics the issue is not the early Church and the Fathers (both Orthodoxy and Roman Catholicism agree on those teachings) that are at issue but the personality cult that developed about the Pope and the area of Papal infallibility which actually leads into the schism between Orthodox Christianity and and Roman Catholicism. You would know better that any of our posters where you and your wife stands on that issue. If you both feel that this is an issue it is likely that you will both be on the road to Orthodoxy together, if not you may be traveling alone.

My prayers  are with you as you seek what you should do.

Thomas
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« Reply #2 on: April 16, 2010, 01:09:05 PM »

Thanks for the prayers, at one time this issue used to bother me quite a bit but these days I actually have come to be at peace with it.   Smiley
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« Reply #3 on: April 16, 2010, 08:24:50 PM »

Your story could be mine with only a slight change of wording.  I firmly believe that God wills all men to be saved, and for all mankind to be part of His Church.  He willed this so much that He humbled Himself to become one of us and to die for us.  He is standing at the door now awaiting your knock, my brother.  Are you bound for Orthodoxy?  Yes, all mankind is invited.  However not all accept the invitation.  You must do what your your Spirit is telling you.  As to your wife, fast and pray for her Salvation, then leave it to God.  As the Lord says, "What good does it profit to gain the whole world by to loose your soul".  You must think of your own Salvation first.  Then remember the words of God's Holy Saint Seraphim of Sarov - "Find inner peace and thousands around you will be saved."  Perhaps your wife will be saved by your example.
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« Reply #4 on: April 19, 2010, 04:06:43 PM »

Your post sounds familiar to me, also. Although, in retropsect, I think I was perhaps too concerned with whether or not I was right, and not so much about God's plan. Prayer and patience, my friend, prayer and patience.

Don't know if this helps, but I was talking to Fr. Michael Oleska once, who more or less said that it wasn't necessary for us to have the entire plan - what was necessary (and often difficult enough, IMHO) was to keep doing "the next right thing."
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« Reply #5 on: May 04, 2010, 12:33:30 AM »

Everyone, thanks for the replies and insight.  This may be a dumb question to ask but here it goes.  Do you believe it is the Holy Spirit working in our lives that may bring all or most to Orthodoxy, or do you think its a combination of the Holy Spirit and lots of intellectualism? 

In my case I tend to firmly believe that it is the leading of the Holy Spirit.  I am praying a lot and being patient hoping to know that this is the right direction that I am being called to.  I am definitely taking things slow and doing my best to discern much information and praying a lot.  It seems as though my eyes have continued to look to the East and I have quit looking to the West..............
 
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« Reply #6 on: May 04, 2010, 02:38:03 AM »

"Is it God's will or my own desires?"

I don't think these are mutually exclusive. If your desires are to experience holiness, grow in Christ, and fulfill your purpose in life, then it is natural that God would use your intellectual and spiritual curiosities to lead you to Orthodoxy. Do not feel guilty for being drawn to Christian depth and Holy Mystery!

The marriage issue is tough. I can relate, because my wife has followed me into Orthodoxy with much reluctance. But she is coming to understand the Faith more and more, and we rarely argue about it these days. You are absolutely right that God ordains marriage; and we know that the Scripture says, "What God has joined together let no man tear assunder." [St. Mark 10:9] But Our Lord also told us He came "not to bring peace, but a sword... a man's enemies will be those of his own household." [St. Matthew 10:34, 36]

Commentary from The Orthodox Study Bible states:

"To carry his cross, a true disciple must be ready, if necessary, to sacrifice even family relationships." (p. 1286)

"There are two kinds of peace. False peace is a shallow harmony that results from ignoring issues of truth. Genuine peace is reconciliation to God through faith in Christ and surrender to truth. Genuine peace has division as a byproduct because not everyone wants truth. In the fallen world, divisions are necessary for truth to be manifest." (p. 1393)


I really believe that God in His mercy will preserve and bless marriages that struggle through these issues. As long as you follow Christ and His Church in sincerity and truth, then you will face both tremendous adversities and tremendous blessings. Love Christ and love your wife, and God will honor that. But truly loving Christ and truly loving our spouse are no easy things.

"Lord have mercy."


Selam


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« Reply #7 on: May 04, 2010, 09:25:14 AM »

Everyone, thanks for the replies and insight.  This may be a dumb question to ask but here it goes.  Do you believe it is the Holy Spirit working in our lives that may bring all or most to Orthodoxy, or do you think its a combination of the Holy Spirit and lots of intellectualism?  

In my case I tend to firmly believe that it is the leading of the Holy Spirit.  I am praying a lot and being patient hoping to know that this is the right direction that I am being called to.  I am definitely taking things slow and doing my best to discern much information and praying a lot.  It seems as though my eyes have continued to look to the East and I have quit looking to the West..............
  

It is always the Spirit who leads us to Christ.  We are incapable of finding him on our own.  However, our Salvation always requires our cooperation.  The intellect can help us, but not intellectualism.  The former is a tool that God gave us to understand Him.  The latter is the reliance on a fallen process that will only lead us to question and reject Him.  Your second paragraph shows much wisdom.  I often wish that I would have taken matters more slowly, as my entrance into the Orthodox Church nearly drove me away from Christianity.  I firmly believe that God does not lie, and when he says "Ask and you shall receive, seek and you shall find, knock and the door shall be opened unto you", he fully intends to keep His promise.  Continue to seek Him with your prayers.  Read the writings of the Fathers and the Lives of the Saints.  Speak with an Orthodox Priest and get his guidance.  And do not be afraid.  If you have put your trust in God, He will not forsake you.  He wants your Salvation even more than you are capable of wanting.  But remember that Salvation is a process, not a point in time event.  Do not worry if it takes time, or if you often seem to take a step back for every two you take forward.  This only means that you are human, and Jesus is the Lover of Mankind.
« Last Edit: May 04, 2010, 09:26:30 AM by Punch » Logged

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« Reply #8 on: May 04, 2010, 11:20:27 AM »

Guys,

Thanks for the advice, it will help me out!   Wink
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