This lenten season, rather than just participating in the fasts of the Church, I am fasting in preparation of reception into the Church. Lord willing, I -- along with my wife and two children -- will be received into the Church at the end of Great Lent. This is a good thing four years in the making.
But during this time of final preparation, I find myself plagued with doubts and -- worse than passions, because it is the worst of the passions -- spiritual listlessness. It is harder to pray now than it ever was (and if there was ever a soul that understood faithlessness, it is me), and sometimes I fear I will not run this race to the end.
Pray for me, a sinner.
Those who keep constant track of my posts and print them out and tack them to their walls, as they should, know that I've had a little more than a bit of fear and trembling and embarrassment along the way.
Since the beginning of Lent and since my Priest told me the probable day of my possible Baptism and certain Chrismation, two things have happened.
Anxiety: Not so much can I make through Lent, but can I really live out what I "know" to be the Truth and should I jump into the Church to my greater condemnation. Other thoughts similar to this come and go, but there is a general anxiety. The anxiety seems "reasonable" to me and to others I have discussed this with. The accompanying thoughts, not so much. My Priest makes it simple. Cross yourself and cling to the positive.
The first saying of St. Anthony the Great has been of immense help.
Doubt: This has been ratcheted wwwaaayyy up. I mentioned above I "know" what the Truth is. And by this, I mean what I feel in my gut or heart. But boy has my head not done a number on me lately (the following are honest, if you are too pious don't read) (MODs: redact as you see fit):
Who are you kidding? This is all nonsense and BS.
What is the big deal about making that phone call (sex)? . . . . Like if there is a God, He would really care about such stuff. It's consensual . . .
*Looking at a photo of some clergy or church on OC.net* Sheesh, what pompous, gaudy nonsense. Maybe I just like my parish. But really, all this idiotic make-up? Would God really care about this either?
And, and, and, . . . use your imagination.
Again work has exploded, so that first saying of St. Anthony the Great has been of immense help.
Again my Priest makes it simple. Cross yourself and cling to the positive.
Also, making every service possible at my parish and trying to fit into my schedule whatever charitable act they afford me to participate in has helped the above.
And being honest about the above with more than one person who knows me and cares about me. They help put those moments into a larger context I can easily forget. My Priest, therapist, and couple friends and family members.
They all ain't Christian and certainly ain't Orthodox and some just know I've been "going to church", but they have seen the difference made in my life over the last few years of the beginning of my inquiry in earnest and are mighty glad for it.
If this is over self-indulgent or in anyway offensive, I apologize.
Mods, redact or delete as you see fit.