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Author Topic: Wife says she doesn't feel anything at recent visit to Vespers  (Read 2537 times) Average Rating: 0
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« on: March 26, 2011, 12:34:43 AM »

I am pretty surprised she went anyway, so I count it a blessing that she went with me.  The Priest ended up becoming sick and so the Deacon led us in a readers service. Anyway, later on in the night she mentioned that she just didn't feel anything................I was kind left speechless.........Anyone have similiar encounters?
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« Reply #1 on: March 26, 2011, 12:43:08 AM »

What type of religious background does your wife come from?
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« Reply #2 on: March 26, 2011, 12:50:28 AM »

What type of religious background does your wife come from?

RC

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« Reply #3 on: March 26, 2011, 12:54:17 AM »

I am pretty surprised she went anyway, so I count it a blessing that she went with me.  The Priest ended up becoming sick and so the Deacon led us in a readers service. Anyway, later on in the night she mentioned that she just didn't feel anything................I was kind left speechless.........Anyone have similiar encounters?

Orthodoxy is not necessarily about "feeling" anything. I know many people expect their church experience to be that way, but that's not the aim of Orthodox worship. The aim of Orthodox worship is directed at God.
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« Reply #4 on: March 26, 2011, 08:14:52 AM »

I didn't feel anything on my first visit, it took a few visits to "feel" anything.

In the months since I've attended an Orthodox Church, I've had two encounters with God. I'm very skeptical of miracles, but what I experienced I just can't explain.

But I would say don't set expectations.
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« Reply #5 on: March 26, 2011, 08:16:44 AM »

I've started to like vespers (all-night-vigil more precisely) when I started to attend them in Polish.
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« Reply #6 on: March 26, 2011, 08:22:46 AM »

I wouldn't be too worried. Even now there are times when I attend Vespers and just don't feel anything because I was tired, distracted, restless, or other people in church wouldn't stop talking, or the choir kept messing up and breaking my concentration, etc. Other times I attend Vespers and feel like I'm in paradise, and completely lose all perception of time and space.
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« Reply #7 on: March 26, 2011, 09:46:37 AM »

It can take time. I know several faithful Orthodox who hated the first few services they attended. But they stuck with it and warmed to it over time. It can be very confusing at the beginning.
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« Reply #8 on: March 26, 2011, 10:06:17 AM »

I'll echo John's sentiment above: while a good many people feel like our worship is a terrific spiritual experience, we don't focus on the emotional response to prayer.  While this may be disconcerting at first, it only reveals over time that we're interested in worshiping God, not catering to the lowest common denominator or into spiritually swindling people.  Bogdan, Orthodox11, and Aposphet are onto something, though: keep coming.  Orthodoxy is concerned with us developing a relationship with God, and that's the way to do it.  And maybe (actually, very likely) His love will touch her heart as she grows closer to Him.
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« Reply #9 on: March 26, 2011, 10:29:13 AM »

beautiful words, father.
sometimes God melts our hearts slowly and beautifully as he straightens us out and convicts us of sin.
to start with, we may resist, or even deny that He is calling us, especially if we are proud.
it's not always 'fire and brimstone' and falling over with dread Wink
thank God!
 Smiley
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« Reply #10 on: March 26, 2011, 11:02:12 AM »

One advantage of going to a Church that does Vespers and Matins one after the other is that you have`enough time to settle down.

I find that a full Vigil is long enough to calm my rushing thoughts. I also think that as you become a bit weary endorphins start to kick in and there are brief moments of euphoria sometimes.

 
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« Reply #11 on: March 26, 2011, 11:32:31 AM »

I've started to like vespers (all-night-vigil more precisely) when I started to attend them in Polish.

Is the Polish Orthodox Church made up mostly of Poles, or is it all Belarussians and Ukrainians?
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« Reply #12 on: March 26, 2011, 12:54:58 PM »

I've started to like vespers (all-night-vigil more precisely) when I started to attend them in Polish.

Is the Polish Orthodox Church made up mostly of Poles, or is it all Belarussians and Ukrainians?

Mostly of polonised Belarusians and Ukrainians.
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« Reply #13 on: March 26, 2011, 11:22:29 PM »

I'll echo John's sentiment above: while a good many people feel like our worship is a terrific spiritual experience, we don't focus on the emotional response to prayer.  While this may be disconcerting at first, it only reveals over time that we're interested in worshiping God, not catering to the lowest common denominator or into spiritually swindling people.  Bogdan, Orthodox11, and Aposphet are onto something, though: keep coming.  Orthodoxy is concerned with us developing a relationship with God, and that's the way to do it.  And maybe (actually, very likely) His love will touch her heart as she grows closer to Him.

Fr and everyone else,
Thanks for the advice.  I will pass this on in future converstions.

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« Reply #14 on: March 28, 2011, 03:48:47 AM »

It helps to chant along I find to engage myself in the worship.
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« Reply #15 on: March 28, 2011, 11:42:50 AM »

I'll echo John's sentiment above: while a good many people feel like our worship is a terrific spiritual experience, we don't focus on the emotional response to prayer.  While this may be disconcerting at first, it only reveals over time that we're interested in worshiping God, not catering to the lowest common denominator or into spiritually swindling people.  Bogdan, Orthodox11, and Aposphet are onto something, though: keep coming.  Orthodoxy is concerned with us developing a relationship with God, and that's the way to do it.  And maybe (actually, very likely) His love will touch her heart as she grows closer to Him.

Yes, and this is one of the things that I find most appealing and comforting about Orthodoxy, since I tend to mistrust "feelings." It's been my observation and experience that "feelings" come and go, in any relationship. I don't "feel" the same way about my husband than I did when I first fell in love, but I love him more dearly today than I did then. I look back and realize that I didn't even know what love meant then. For me, this is the same with God - YMMV of course. I look back on my relationship with God before I became Orthodox and realize the same thing - I didn't have a clue (and I blush to relate, I thought I was pretty hot stuff, spiritually speaking.)
I agree that there are times during Liturgy that I don't "feel" anything except my feet hurting (due to cute shoes). There have been long stretches when I don't "feel" anything - that's why I'm so grateful to have the liturgical and sacramental life of the Church. The Church (and God) carries me when I can't do it myself.
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« Reply #16 on: March 28, 2011, 01:00:17 PM »

I'll echo John's sentiment above: while a good many people feel like our worship is a terrific spiritual experience, we don't focus on the emotional response to prayer.  While this may be disconcerting at first, it only reveals over time that we're interested in worshiping God, not catering to the lowest common denominator or into spiritually swindling people.  Bogdan, Orthodox11, and Aposphet are onto something, though: keep coming.  Orthodoxy is concerned with us developing a relationship with God, and that's the way to do it.  And maybe (actually, very likely) His love will touch her heart as she grows closer to Him.

Yes, and this is one of the things that I find most appealing and comforting about Orthodoxy, since I tend to mistrust "feelings." It's been my observation and experience that "feelings" come and go, in any relationship. I don't "feel" the same way about my husband than I did when I first fell in love, but I love him more dearly today than I did then. I look back and realize that I didn't even know what love meant then. For me, this is the same with God - YMMV of course. I look back on my relationship with God before I became Orthodox and realize the same thing - I didn't have a clue (and I blush to relate, I thought I was pretty hot stuff, spiritually speaking.)
I agree that there are times during Liturgy that I don't "feel" anything except my feet hurting (due to cute shoes). There have been long stretches when I don't "feel" anything - that's why I'm so grateful to have the liturgical and sacramental life of the Church. The Church (and God) carries me when I can't do it myself.

Excellent point!
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« Reply #17 on: March 28, 2011, 05:11:27 PM »

I think it also may help to remind her the old adage, which especially applies to Orthodox liturgy, "you only get out what you are willing to put into it." This can refer to many aspects, as participating in the liturgy requires cooperation of heart, body, and mind.
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« Reply #18 on: March 28, 2011, 05:45:43 PM »

I am pretty surprised she went anyway, so I count it a blessing that she went with me.  The Priest ended up becoming sick and so the Deacon led us in a readers service. Anyway, later on in the night she mentioned that she just didn't feel anything................I was kind left speechless.........Anyone have similiar encounters?

Yes we both have recently at several Liturgies.  No more goosebumps . . . don't feel the presence of God.  Not sure why.
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« Reply #19 on: March 28, 2011, 05:51:06 PM »

I am pretty surprised she went anyway, so I count it a blessing that she went with me.  The Priest ended up becoming sick and so the Deacon led us in a readers service. Anyway, later on in the night she mentioned that she just didn't feel anything................I was kind left speechless.........Anyone have similiar encounters?

Yes we both have recently at several Liturgies.  No more goosebumps . . . don't feel the presence of God.  Not sure why.

sin of familiarity...it affects us all...
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« Reply #20 on: March 28, 2011, 06:03:47 PM »

I have went to service and not been able to focus at all. I have went to service and been plenty focused, and still nothing. It was rote. I have went to service and stood truly in the presence of God.

It all depends on the mood we bring with us, and whether we are truly able to "lay aside all earthly care" or if we fall short and remain in our own little bubble. This does not mean God is not present at each and every service (indeed, present everywhere and filling all things), it simply means we fail to "lift up our hearts" and so God is not made manifest to us, but rather remains unseen.

Lord, have mercy.
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« Reply #21 on: March 28, 2011, 06:04:45 PM »

I have went to service and not been able to focus at all. I have went to service and been plenty focused, and still nothing. It was rote. I have went to service and stood truly in the presence of God.

It all depends on the mood we bring with us, and whether we are truly able to "lay aside all earthly care" or if we fall short and remain in our own little bubble. This does not mean God is not present at each and every service (indeed, present everywhere and filling all things), it simply means we fail to "lift up our hearts" and so God is not made manifest to us, but rather remains unseen.

Lord, have mercy.

Wisdom!
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« Reply #22 on: March 29, 2011, 04:23:54 AM »

i find that if i have sinned and/or been lax in Bible study, prayer and fasting that i have the same problem.
it's like if you never phone your fiance and never send messages for several weeks, but you expect to still have the same romantic feelings as if you talked every day. signing a bit of paper that you are married would not change that, working on the relationship would.
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« Reply #23 on: March 29, 2011, 04:26:00 AM »

I am pretty surprised she went anyway, so I count it a blessing that she went with me.  The Priest ended up becoming sick and so the Deacon led us in a readers service. Anyway, later on in the night she mentioned that she just didn't feel anything................I was kind left speechless.........Anyone have similiar encounters?

Yes. I never feel anything. Actually I find liturgical worship as a whole to be fairly boring. I like the solemnity of it, and the respect/awe/reverence factor, but frankly I've never felt anything anywhere close to the whole "heaven on earth" thing you hear about. So... yeah... I can identify. But fwiw, I don't think you could/should base a decision of whether to go or not by whether you "feel" anything or not. I mean, if I went to where I "felt" something, I'd probably be in some non-denominational protestant church with guitars and drums and whatnot. I'm much more comfortable and happy in such a worship environment. I can feel it more. But would it be best for my soul?
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« Reply #24 on: March 29, 2011, 04:49:41 AM »

did you try following along with a book, and echoing every prayer of the priest and deacons in your heart, and also adding your own prayers or repentance during the silent parts? or during the Bible reading, you can follow along in your Bible to make sure you don't miss anything. work out how you are going to apply the words in your life the following week and make a mental list of any questions to ask the priest or deacons at the end.
think of the people who need your prayer and pray for them during the service. join in the hymns and chants and make the words your words. pray for the priest and the deacons. pray for the old lady in front of you and the annoying loud children behind you.
if you've done all that and you're still only half way through the service, then meditate on Jesus great sacrifice for us, and the wonder of creation. look around the church at the icons, how many of the saints stories do you know? which ones inspire you and why?
look around and think if any service is needed in the church. can you collect the offering? are there enough people to make tea? would they like a break?
after all these thoughts, prayers and meditations, you might actually forget when the service is going to end, so make sure you don't miss anything, like giving the offering or taking Holy Communion. and if you are still praying when the service has ended, feel free to stay a while with God, finishing your prayers.

and if you benefitted from the service after this, be sure to tell someone this and ask what they thought. maybe they have the same problem as you, so you can give them advice, or maybe they will have ideas much better than my own on how to concentrate during the liturgy  Smiley
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« Reply #25 on: March 29, 2011, 09:00:38 AM »

I agree that "feelings" are a bit too subjective to base anything on.  God is present in the prayer offices and in the Liturgy.  If we don't perceive God's presence, He's there anyway.  And He is there with His Word and the prayers of the Church and all His Saints, and He is there for us.  My inattention is my issue.  My lack of "feeling" is all on me.  It doesn't change what happened in the slightest.

If your wife is looking to go to Church to "feel" a certain way, what happens when she goes and she doesn't?  That type of outlook can shake faith to its core.  "Wow, I didn't feel God's presence -- maybe He abandoned me!"  Better, IMHO, to come to Church looking for the truth, which is to say, the Truth.  If He is there, it really doesn't matter how you feel, and His presence doesn't depend on how you feel.  His presence is (and, honestly, should be) perceptible by more objective criterion than my feelings.

My $0.02.
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« Reply #26 on: March 29, 2011, 09:01:27 AM »

i find that if i have sinned and/or been lax in Bible study, prayer and fasting that i have the same problem.
it's like if you never phone your fiance and never send messages for several weeks, but you expect to still have the same romantic feelings as if you talked every day. signing a bit of paper that you are married would not change that, working on the relationship would.

Wow, well said!
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« Reply #27 on: March 29, 2011, 10:37:37 AM »

Better, IMHO, to come to Church looking for the truth, which is to say, the Truth.  If He is there, it really doesn't matter how you feel, and His presence doesn't depend on how you feel. 

Excellent!
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« Reply #28 on: March 31, 2011, 05:40:54 PM »

Perhaps it helps to realize that attending services is an extension of what you are already doing at home, only in a community. Don't you think that if you are praying at home, often, listening to liturgical music, lighting your candle, burning your incense, all at home, then head out the door to Liturgy...you will feel a continuation that is actually amplified. In other words, would you say that some preparation, having your heart already open, is likely to help?
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« Reply #29 on: March 31, 2011, 10:47:53 PM »

I visited with the Priest about this and he said he was not surprised by this as it was her first visit and he basically said the same thing many here had said.  I am not in the feeling part of it, I'm very happy to just be there. I will keep perservering..................
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« Reply #30 on: April 01, 2011, 01:22:55 AM »

You should have taken her to some of the services during the first week of lent, the great compline/great canon combo can take quite a toll on the body. I guarantee she would have felt something after that (or at least the day after). Wink
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« Reply #31 on: April 01, 2011, 09:14:02 AM »

When I first became Orthodox I had the Hapgood service book and the Old Believers' Prayer Book. Being intensely curious, I really didn't like not knowing what was going on, so over the last 14 years I've acquired more and more service books until now I pretty well have everything, and that's a lot!
Reading my English and carefully listening to the services in the language of my jurisdiction, I gradually learned both the language and the services.
My advice to anyone who has graduated from the above books is to acquire the Octoechos of the 8 tones, by St John Damascene of St Savvas Monastery in Palestine. This itself is a complete theology course in Orthodoxy, to my mind.
Have a blessed and fruitful fifth week, folks!
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« Reply #32 on: April 01, 2011, 09:22:50 PM »

Grace and Peace,

My wife and I were married Baptist, in her church. After my conversion to Roman Catholicism it literally took several years to get her to attend my Catholic Parish. I had to be forceful with her regarding my vows to raise our children in the Catholic Faith. Part of this is why it has been so difficult to convert to Eastern Orthodoxy... my Catholic conversion was 'deep' and I took my vows seriously. To later encounter a tradition as deep if not deeper into history as Eastern Orthodoxy is was a real shock to me. For a long time I believed in our Holy Father Pope John Paul's "Two-Lungs" view of the East and the West and felt obliged to drink deeply from both the Eastern and Western Saints as Catholic. I felt I was truly being 'universal' as the original Church was supposed to be.

My point is our wives aren't going to just switch on a dime. If Orthodoxy is truly in your future, you're going to have to prove it to your spouse with perseverance. Once she realizes your path is true, she will take it seriously.
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« Reply #33 on: April 01, 2011, 11:22:20 PM »

Grace and Peace,

My wife and I were married Baptist, in her church. After my conversion to Roman Catholicism it literally took several years to get her to attend my Catholic Parish. I had to be forceful with her regarding my vows to raise our children in the Catholic Faith. Part of this is why it has been so difficult to convert to Eastern Orthodoxy... my Catholic conversion was 'deep' and I took my vows seriously. To later encounter a tradition as deep if not deeper into history as Eastern Orthodoxy is was a real shock to me. For a long time I believed in our Holy Father Pope John Paul's "Two-Lungs" view of the East and the West and felt obliged to drink deeply from both the Eastern and Western Saints as Catholic. I felt I was truly being 'universal' as the original Church was supposed to be.

My point is our wives aren't going to just switch on a dime. If Orthodoxy is truly in your future, you're going to have to prove it to your spouse with perseverance. Once she realizes your path is true, she will take it seriously.

Thanks
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« Reply #34 on: April 03, 2011, 12:07:40 AM »

My wife is a non-denom/any denomination type Protestant, and she didn't convert with me even though I waited almost three years. Our son's not baptized either. You might have to do this alone. Don't necessarily believe all of the "she'll come around eventually" stuff. I did it alone knowing that I was following God and trying to be loving. But my wife knows I take it seriously and she's come to respect it and crosses herself in the Orthodox way when I invoke the Holy Trinity. So there are some signs of hope.
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