(I apologise if this sounds a bit disjointed, try to bear with me)
Been meaning to post here for a while, finally worked up the courage to do so tonight.
My name's Colin and I'm a college student looking for answers. Over the past few years I've realized that I've needed to become serious about religion and my relationship with God. As a child, I was brought up Evangelical Lutheran (father was staunchly Lutheran until a few years ago, mother was RC until the late 80s when she converted to Lutheranism), but not too long after I was confirmed, I fell into a malaise about religion in general and slipped into a sort of vague Voltairean deism. Never was an atheist, but I now see that deism's pretty close to it. In any case, last year my father decided to leave Lutheranism because of liturgical reforms and began attending an Episcopal church. Wanting to try to get back closer to God, I decided to start going and attended fairly regularly. I enjoyed the services, yes, but I felt there was something lacking.
What was it? Was it sincerity? Partially. The congregation seemed dead half the time, reading the words in the Book of Common Prayer without thinking. What does it mean when we say that we confess a God constituted of three Persons but one in Essence? What are we really asking God when we beg His divine mercy? No one seemed to want to contemplate that. Of course, there's also the whole political aspect of ECUSA over the homosexual priest issue that I won't get into, but I admit that there seemed to be a feeling some days that it got to be more of a political organisation than a church. Anyway, I realized that this wouldn't be enough. But where would I go? I've never wanted to consider Rome as I (being a history student) thought that papal supremacy was a bit silly, among other things.
Enter a course on Byzantine history. Since I was in the graduate section, we had to read Byzantine Theology by Fr. John Meyendorff to get an understanding of how the Orthodox church interacted with the Byzantine state. Yet I took away from it much more than simple history: the theology was mind-blowing. I had never known that there was a church that rejected original sin, let alone a church that did not have something that the West calls canon law. My impression was that Orthodoxy focused more on caring for the spiritual needs of the average Christian than worrying about nagging legalism, which, for someone distressed by the nitpicking of some Western churches, was very comforting. But at the time, being a bit preoccupied with school, it didn't occur to me to actually go to an Orthodox church. Perhaps someday, but not now.
Over the summer I had the opportunity to study abroad in Germany, and, while there, I visited Leipzig. I knew that there was a Russian church in the city built to commemorate the dead from the battle in 1813, and, being a history buff, I thought it might be an interesting visit. Stepping inside, though, I don't know what happened, as I felt overcome by some profound sense of beauty I'd never encountered before. I can't tell you what it was specifically to this day, but I think it was a combination of everything---the iconostasis, the sound of the monks chanting the divine office, the incense...it felt exactly as Vladimir of Kiev described his first visit to Hagia Sophia: "We no longer knew if we were in Heaven or on Earth." This, I thought to myself, was what God's Church really was- and I prayed something to that effect, saying, "Lord, if You will it, show me the way to Your Church..."
So when I came back to the States, I told myself that once school started, I'd make a point of going to the OCF meetings on campus. To abbreviate this much too long story, I've been going for the past several weeks and have also started attending Vespers and Divine Liturgy at a local Antiochian church. The more I've thought and read about it, the more I've come to realize that this is the way we are meant to worship God and practice what we believe as Christians- I do believe that Orthodoxy represents the true Church of the Apostles.
My question is, then, is it too soon to ask the priest about becoming a catechumen? I'm currently in his Introduction to Orthodoxy class and have been consistently attending both Liturgy and Vespers for the past several weeks, so I was just wondering if now would be a good time or if I ought to wait?