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Author Topic: Discerning Catholic Priesthood  (Read 5155 times) Average Rating: 0
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Scotty
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« on: April 26, 2011, 12:39:33 PM »

Greetings in Christ,

I've been inquiring Orthodoxy for some time now after meeting my girlfriend's brother-in-law, who is Georgian.  Most of my reading has been on history, the schism, post-schism Roman changes, the Pope's early role and his rightful role, VII problems, etc, but very little on Orthodox spirituality.    More recently I have felt a very strong pull to be a Roman Catholic priest.  This is coming at a time where I was pretty set on marrying the girl I'm with, and as I result I'm really being pulled and made confused from all sides.  All the while, I can only praise Christ; my love for Him has only grown, and I see Him purifying me.  The confusion/situation has shown that I will only know God's will and His truths through prayer and guidance by the Spirit, period.  I jokingly tell my girlfriend, "If I became Orthodox this may not be an issue."  But conversion for convenience cannot happen.  In this way, I praise God for the conflict I have.

My question is more for converts I suppose, or from anyone with $0.02 to spare.  What resources do you recommend about Orthodox spirituality, especially discernment (for some reason, asking for reading material on Eastern spirituality seems too Western, haha)?  What movements of your heart did you feel upon/up to conversion; ho did you KNOW?  Has anyone been in a situation like this?  I appreciate all advise I can get, and please send a few prayers my way.

Scotty
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« Reply #1 on: April 26, 2011, 01:01:17 PM »

Christ is risen!
Greetings in Christ,

I've been inquiring Orthodoxy for some time now after meeting my girlfriend's brother-in-law, who is Georgian.  Most of my reading has been on history, the schism, post-schism Roman changes, the Pope's early role and his rightful role, VII problems, etc, but very little on Orthodox spirituality.    More recently I have felt a very strong pull to be a Roman Catholic priest.  This is coming at a time where I was pretty set on marrying the girl I'm with, and as I result I'm really being pulled and made confused from all sides.  All the while, I can only praise Christ; my love for Him has only grown, and I see Him purifying me.  The confusion/situation has shown that I will only know God's will and His truths through prayer and guidance by the Spirit, period.  I jokingly tell my girlfriend, "If I became Orthodox this may not be an issue."  But conversion for convenience cannot happen.  In this way, I praise God for the conflict I have.

My question is more for converts I suppose, or from anyone with $0.02 to spare.  What resources do you recommend about Orthodox spirituality, especially discernment (for some reason, asking for reading material on Eastern spirituality seems too Western, haha)?  What movements of your heart did you feel upon/up to conversion; ho did you KNOW?  Has anyone been in a situation like this?  I appreciate all advise I can get, and please send a few prayers my way.

Scotty
Maybe that you were exposed to Orthodoxy (and Georgian! of all things) through your intended might be a sign.

I still think Met. Ware's "The Orthodox Way" is still good (I'm less thrilled by his present "The Orthodox Church").
« Last Edit: April 26, 2011, 01:12:18 PM by ialmisry » Logged

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« Reply #2 on: April 26, 2011, 01:17:51 PM »

Greetings in Christ,

I've been inquiring Orthodoxy for some time now after meeting my girlfriend's brother-in-law, who is Georgian.  Most of my reading has been on history, the schism, post-schism Roman changes, the Pope's early role and his rightful role, VII problems, etc, but very little on Orthodox spirituality.    More recently I have felt a very strong pull to be a Roman Catholic priest.  This is coming at a time where I was pretty set on marrying the girl I'm with, and as I result I'm really being pulled and made confused from all sides.  All the while, I can only praise Christ; my love for Him has only grown, and I see Him purifying me.  The confusion/situation has shown that I will only know God's will and His truths through prayer and guidance by the Spirit, period.  I jokingly tell my girlfriend, "If I became Orthodox this may not be an issue."  But conversion for convenience cannot happen.  In this way, I praise God for the conflict I have.

My question is more for converts I suppose, or from anyone with $0.02 to spare.  What resources do you recommend about Orthodox spirituality, especially discernment (for some reason, asking for reading material on Eastern spirituality seems too Western, haha)?  What movements of your heart did you feel upon/up to conversion; ho did you KNOW?  Has anyone been in a situation like this?  I appreciate all advise I can get, and please send a few prayers my way.

Scotty

Seems this should be in the Converts section but since it's here, I'll take the opportunity to ask you what makes you think you have a vocation as a Catholic priest?  If you can't discern the call even in your own tradition, then how can you expect to be able to discern the call in a tradition not your own where you have to come on-line to ask questions?

If I sound harsh, pardon, I am not judging harshly here but I am a bit perplexed.

M.
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« Reply #3 on: April 26, 2011, 01:36:06 PM »

I found "The Mountain of Silence" to be extremely beneficial to me. It's not written as a dry "and this is what Saint-So-and-So from a Century Long Ago says about such-and-such", it's a conversation between a man wanting to know more about God and an Orthodox Hiermonk of Mt. Athos. It's the kind of question and answer session I think we would all like to have if we could visit Mt. Athos. Smiley

I know you can get it on Amazon.com for about $10 and it's also available in a Kindle version, which I really liked.

(Orthodoxy via Kindle; who said we resisted change! lol  laugh )
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« Reply #4 on: April 26, 2011, 02:51:32 PM »

I jokingly tell my girlfriend, "If I became Orthodox this may not be an issue."  But conversion for convenience cannot happen.  In this way, I praise God for the conflict I have.

My question is more for converts I suppose, or from anyone with $0.02 to spare.  What resources do you recommend about Orthodox spirituality, especially discernment (for some reason, asking for reading material on Eastern spirituality seems too Western, haha)?  What movements of your heart did you feel upon/up to conversion; ho did you KNOW?  Has anyone been in a situation like this?  I appreciate all advise I can get, and please send a few prayers my way.
 

May God enlighten and guide you, and give you the discernment you seek!  You are right that you could be married and a priest in the Orthodox Church, and are equally right that this should not be the basis of a decision to convert to Orthodoxy.  There is much that you could read on the subject of Orthodox spirituality, and while the following articles may be a bit “hard hitting”, it may be of interest to look at the subject comparatively, that is with Orthodox and Roman Catholic spirituality compared:

http://www.pravmir.com/article_687.html
http://www.pravoslavie.ru/english/7174.htm

You may also be interested in the following interview with Fr. Theophanes of Mt. Athos, a former Byzantine Catholic who became an Orthodox Monk and wrote a very detailed book about the differences in Roma Catholic and Orthodox spirituality as these differences relate to prayer.

http://distancelearning.iocs.cam.ac.uk/videos/index.php?page=videos&groupid=67740

If you are unfamiliar with the subject matter in the above two articles, you may want to dig in and read the Sayings of the Desert Fathers which show the early monastic spiritual tradition, and then compare what you read there to the post-schism “Western Mystics” and contemporary trends in Roman Catholic “spirituality” (though the spiritual field is very broad today in Roman Catholicism, with Roman Catholic Zen Roshis and the like).  From the Orthodox side, there is the Philokalia which shows a consistent spiritual tradition from the 3rd centuries through about the 14th centuries, and then there are the lives of more recent saints such as the Optina Elders in Russia; or saints of the 20th century like St. John (Maximovitch) of San Francisco, St. Nektarios of Aegina, or Elder Joseph the Hesychast.  The lives of Orthodox saints provide the best examples of Orthodox spirituality.     

I was never a Roman Catholic myself, but I nearly became a Benedictine Oblate under a Roman Catholic monastery before entering the Orthodox Church, and at the time I had considered the Catholic Church as well.  I heard many testimonies from Roman Catholic monastics like Thomas Merton who found the scholastic approach to theology and the Spiritual Exercises to be a spiritual dead end.  Many such frustrated monastics have sought “spiritual life” by looking to Hinduism and Buddhism, and so you have  Roman Catholic Zen Roshis influenced by Merton’s own interest in Zen, Roman Catholic monastics who teach a “Christianized” form of Hindu mantra meditation, etc.  What I found in Roman Catholic “spirituality” was that there was a major identity crisis, and a feeling among monastics that they had been somehow cut off from their own rich spiritual heritage.  However, while many return to the writings of the Desert Fathers and other early monastic writings to recover this spiritual heritage, it seems impossible to recover this tradition authentically within Roman Catholicism today.  In some cases the recovery is made within a new pluralistic pan-religious worldview where the Desert Fathers are looked at like Christian Zen Masters and equated with them spiritually (Merton), or wisdom from the Desert Fathers is compared with Hindu and Buddhist “wisdom” in order to create a “new spirituality” that seeks some common spiritual ground with the “World’s Great Spiritual Traditions”.  When I discovered the Orthodox Church and the tradition of the Jesus Prayer, I saw a consistent theology, a consistent worldview, a fully rooted identity that was not in spiritual crisis, and the same spiritual tradition today as in apostolic times.  Sure, I tried to immerse myself in “Orthodox spirituality”, to learn from it without becoming Orthodox, but as many former Protestants and Roman Catholics have testified, this is impossible.  I ultimately was convinced that the Orthodox Church is the true Church, and thereafter it became unbearable not to become part of it. 




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« Reply #5 on: April 26, 2011, 02:59:59 PM »

Greetings in Christ,

I've been inquiring Orthodoxy for some time now after meeting my girlfriend's brother-in-law, who is Georgian.  Most of my reading has been on history, the schism, post-schism Roman changes, the Pope's early role and his rightful role, VII problems, etc, but very little on Orthodox spirituality.    More recently I have felt a very strong pull to be a Roman Catholic priest.  This is coming at a time where I was pretty set on marrying the girl I'm with, and as I result I'm really being pulled and made confused from all sides.  All the while, I can only praise Christ; my love for Him has only grown, and I see Him purifying me.  The confusion/situation has shown that I will only know God's will and His truths through prayer and guidance by the Spirit, period.  I jokingly tell my girlfriend, "If I became Orthodox this may not be an issue."  But conversion for convenience cannot happen.  In this way, I praise God for the conflict I have.

My question is more for converts I suppose, or from anyone with $0.02 to spare.  What resources do you recommend about Orthodox spirituality, especially discernment (for some reason, asking for reading material on Eastern spirituality seems too Western, haha)?  What movements of your heart did you feel upon/up to conversion; ho did you KNOW?  Has anyone been in a situation like this?  I appreciate all advise I can get, and please send a few prayers my way.

Scotty

Seems this should be in the Converts section but since it's here, I'll take the opportunity to ask you what makes you think you have a vocation as a Catholic priest?  If you can't discern the call even in your own tradition, then how can you expect to be able to discern the call in a tradition not your own where you have to come on-line to ask questions?

If I sound harsh, pardon, I am not judging harshly here but I am a bit perplexed.

M.

It is not harsh at all. If he just asked for info on general Orthodox resources . . . but given the biographicals, I often bristle when people say this on this board, but have you discussed this at length with your Priest and perhaps a few Priests? This must be confusing to you and your GF, I pray you are able to find some discernment.

Regarding your actual question, here is what I recommend over and over to others and since I don't feel like re-typing here is an older post of mine:

http://www.orthodoxchristianity.net/forum/index.php/topic,29844.msg472339.html#msg472339

Go to as many Liturgical Services as possible.

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« Reply #6 on: April 26, 2011, 03:01:00 PM »

I jokingly tell my girlfriend, "If I became Orthodox this may not be an issue."  But conversion for convenience cannot happen.  In this way, I praise God for the conflict I have.

My question is more for converts I suppose, or from anyone with $0.02 to spare.  What resources do you recommend about Orthodox spirituality, especially discernment (for some reason, asking for reading material on Eastern spirituality seems too Western, haha)?  What movements of your heart did you feel upon/up to conversion; ho did you KNOW?  Has anyone been in a situation like this?  I appreciate all advise I can get, and please send a few prayers my way.
 

May God enlighten and guide you, and give you the discernment you seek!  You are right that you could be married and a priest in the Orthodox Church, and are equally right that this should not be the basis of a decision to convert to Orthodoxy.  There is much that you could read on the subject of Orthodox spirituality, and while the following articles may be a bit “hard hitting”, it may be of interest to look at the subject comparatively, that is with Orthodox and Roman Catholic spirituality compared:

http://www.pravmir.com/article_687.html


It should be made clear here that the hagiography of St. Francis used by Orthodox to make this comparison actually comes form sources that have been forbidden by the Catholic Church because they are florid writing that has very little to do with the real St. Francis....

But we don't want to mess up a good fantasy with the facts, now...

Maybe we should take a second or third look at some of Orthodoxy's hagiography that is presented as reality...eh?

M.
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« Reply #7 on: April 26, 2011, 03:06:45 PM »

what does your girlfriend see as her vocation?
if you will be together (ordained or not), it's important you are heading in the same direction.
if you can sort this out before marriage, it's much, much easier!
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« Reply #8 on: April 26, 2011, 03:07:59 PM »

I jokingly tell my girlfriend, "If I became Orthodox this may not be an issue."  But conversion for convenience cannot happen.  In this way, I praise God for the conflict I have.

My question is more for converts I suppose, or from anyone with $0.02 to spare.  What resources do you recommend about Orthodox spirituality, especially discernment (for some reason, asking for reading material on Eastern spirituality seems too Western, haha)?  What movements of your heart did you feel upon/up to conversion; ho did you KNOW?  Has anyone been in a situation like this?  I appreciate all advise I can get, and please send a few prayers my way.
 

May God enlighten and guide you, and give you the discernment you seek!  You are right that you could be married and a priest in the Orthodox Church, and are equally right that this should not be the basis of a decision to convert to Orthodoxy.  There is much that you could read on the subject of Orthodox spirituality, and while the following articles may be a bit “hard hitting”, it may be of interest to look at the subject comparatively, that is with Orthodox and Roman Catholic spirituality compared:

http://www.pravmir.com/article_687.html


It should be made clear here that the hagiography of St. Francis used by Orthodox to make this comparison actually comes form sources that have been forbidden by the Catholic Church because they are florid writing that has very little to do with the real St. Francis....

But we don't want to mess up a good fantasy with the facts, now...

Maybe we should take a second or third look at some of Orthodoxy's hagiography that is presented as reality...eh?

M.

Not to derail this thread but you are in good company (perhaps for different reasons) to be a little "skeptical" or a bit more well informed by the genre in which much hagiography written. My "Desert Father", Fr. Thomas Hopko, finds it important to understand the genre of hagiography in general and especially not to let the "miracles" in the stories blind us to what the message of what much hagiography serves to illumine.

EDIT: I am not taking a stance on the veracity of the sources used by the RC or OC here on the life any Saint. Just making a general observation.
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« Reply #9 on: April 26, 2011, 03:16:01 PM »

I would suggest taking time to go to a local Orthodox Church and attending the Divine Liturgy.
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« Reply #10 on: April 26, 2011, 03:19:28 PM »

Actually, Sunday's 60 minutes episode on Mt. Athos is also a very good introduction to Orthodox spirituality:

http://www.cbsnews.com/video/watch/?id=7363712n
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« Reply #11 on: April 26, 2011, 03:32:19 PM »

Christos voskrese!
I jokingly tell my girlfriend, "If I became Orthodox this may not be an issue."  But conversion for convenience cannot happen.  In this way, I praise God for the conflict I have.

My question is more for converts I suppose, or from anyone with $0.02 to spare.  What resources do you recommend about Orthodox spirituality, especially discernment (for some reason, asking for reading material on Eastern spirituality seems too Western, haha)?  What movements of your heart did you feel upon/up to conversion; ho did you KNOW?  Has anyone been in a situation like this?  I appreciate all advise I can get, and please send a few prayers my way.
 

May God enlighten and guide you, and give you the discernment you seek!  You are right that you could be married and a priest in the Orthodox Church, and are equally right that this should not be the basis of a decision to convert to Orthodoxy.  There is much that you could read on the subject of Orthodox spirituality, and while the following articles may be a bit “hard hitting”, it may be of interest to look at the subject comparatively, that is with Orthodox and Roman Catholic spirituality compared:

http://www.pravmir.com/article_687.html


It should be made clear here that the hagiography of St. Francis used by Orthodox to make this comparison actually comes form sources that have been forbidden by the Catholic Church because they are florid writing that has very little to do with the real St. Francis....
Really? Can you produce this prohibition from the Vatican (which I take is what you mean by "the Catholic Church," as the Catholic Church usually doesn't get involved in heterodox hagiography)?
« Last Edit: April 26, 2011, 03:34:40 PM by ialmisry » Logged

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« Reply #12 on: April 26, 2011, 04:08:38 PM »


Not to derail this thread but you are in good company (perhaps for different reasons) to be a little "skeptical" or a bit more well informed by the genre in which much hagiography written. My "Desert Father", Fr. Thomas Hopko, finds it important to understand the genre of hagiography in general and especially not to let the "miracles" in the stories blind us to what the message of what much hagiography serves to illumine.

EDIT: I am not taking a stance on the veracity of the sources used by the RC or OC here on the life any Saint. Just making a general observation.

And generally well taken!...But these are some of the foundational things of the spirit that our young OP is going to have to be thinking about no matter how he lights.

I am rather concerned for the dear girl-friend here.  I must say, as a woman, I was less than impressed with his conditional comments concerning when to worry and when not to worry...really?  As though marriage is not a vocation in need of discernment...and NOT conditional discernment. 

I am starting to sound like an old grouse, I realize... Cheesy

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« Reply #13 on: April 26, 2011, 06:17:28 PM »


I was never a Roman Catholic myself, but I nearly became a Benedictine Oblate under a Roman Catholic monastery before entering the Orthodox Church, and at the time I had considered the Catholic Church as well.  I heard many testimonies from Roman Catholic monastics like Thomas Merton who found the scholastic approach to theology and the Spiritual Exercises to be a spiritual dead end.  Many such frustrated monastics have sought “spiritual life” by looking to Hinduism and Buddhism, and so you have  Roman Catholic Zen Roshis influenced by Merton’s own interest in Zen, Roman Catholic monastics who teach a “Christianized” form of Hindu mantra meditation, etc.  What I found in Roman Catholic “spirituality” was that there was a major identity crisis, and a feeling among monastics that they had been somehow cut off from their own rich spiritual heritage.  However, while many return to the writings of the Desert Fathers and other early monastic writings to recover this spiritual heritage, it seems impossible to recover this tradition authentically within Roman Catholicism today.  In some cases the recovery is made within a new pluralistic pan-religious worldview where the Desert Fathers are looked at like Christian Zen Masters and equated with them spiritually (Merton), or wisdom from the Desert Fathers is compared with Hindu and Buddhist “wisdom” in order to create a “new spirituality” that seeks some common spiritual ground with the “World’s Great Spiritual Traditions”.  When I discovered the Orthodox Church and the tradition of the Jesus Prayer, I saw a consistent theology, a consistent worldview, a fully rooted identity that was not in spiritual crisis, and the same spiritual tradition today as in apostolic times.  Sure, I tried to immerse myself in “Orthodox spirituality”, to learn from it without becoming Orthodox, but as many former Protestants and Roman Catholics have testified, this is impossible.  I ultimately was convinced that the Orthodox Church is the true Church, and thereafter it became unbearable not to become part of it. 


Thank you!  Though the new-age zen "spirituality" does exist within the church, I do not view any of it as of the true church or Christian teaching, and am very quick to disregard/condemn it.  Another issue entirely, but there is no room for it to exist in the pre-V2 church.  I look forward to reading these articles when my finals are over.  I seem to see innovation after innovation within the Church; I can't imagine spiritual breakthroughs happening 2000 years after the fact, which I do not see in Orthodoxy.  Thank you again!
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« Reply #14 on: April 26, 2011, 06:26:34 PM »

Thank you!  Though the new-age zen "spirituality" does exist within the church, I do not view any of it as of the true church or Christian teaching, and am very quick to disregard/condemn it.  Another issue entirely, but there is no room for it to exist in the pre-V2 church.  I look forward to reading these articles when my finals are over.  I seem to see innovation after innovation within the Church; I can't imagine spiritual breakthroughs happening 2000 years after the fact, which I do not see in Orthodoxy.  Thank you again!

Rather than focusing on fringe elements in the Catholic Church why not check with the Dominicans...They have Holy Apostle's Seminary here in the NE that is a wonderfully orthodox seminary that is even better than some of the older pre-Vatican II seminaries in terms of clarity of teaching and solid historical grounding.  I've taken courses with them and have never regretted any part of that experience.

Also there are third order Dominicans and Carmelites who have an extended and formal period of formation and study that continues on through out the entire period of your life in the order.  The discalced Carmelites in particular will open your eyes to the traditional contempletive and apophatic life in the Catholic Church.  Of course, you'd have to extend yourself a bit to do these things...beyond reading a book... Smiley

I suggest these things not to draw you off from Orthodoxy but to try to see one convert go with a more balanced and realistic view of the Church he is leaving behind.  It seems to be a rarity.
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« Reply #15 on: April 26, 2011, 06:32:44 PM »


Seems this should be in the Converts section but since it's here, I'll take the opportunity to ask you what makes you think you have a vocation as a Catholic priest?  If you can't discern the call even in your own tradition, then how can you expect to be able to discern the call in a tradition not your own where you have to come on-line to ask questions?

If I sound harsh, pardon, I am not judging harshly here but I am a bit perplexed.

M.

You don't sound harsh, no worries.  I have an overwhelming urge to give up all I have to serve Jesus, to give Him an undivided heart, to participate and preside over His Liturgy.  This urge is not based on specific prayers or doctrines or churches or asceticism of, it is based on serving Jesus, His church, and His Liturgy.  I only have one life to leave, you know?  I'm not posting on here to help decide if I should be a Roman Catholic priest, per se.  I'm posting on here to get advice settling my interest in Orthodoxy, specifically learning their spirituality and what converts and lifelong members have actually felt draw them and keep them in Orthodoxy and why they knew it was the true church in their heart, not in history articles.  These are things I must know and have prayed about thoroughly before I could commit my life to the priesthood.  Sorry if I wasn't terribly clear; perfect clarity hasn't been my strong point as of late, lol.
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« Reply #16 on: April 26, 2011, 06:38:10 PM »


Rather than focusing on fringe elements in the Catholic Church why not check with the Dominicans...They have Holy Apostle's Seminary
Interestingly enough, I am working on my masters degree through Holy Apostles and I agree. It's a fantastic and orthodox (little 'o') school.
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« Reply #17 on: April 26, 2011, 06:41:45 PM »


I am rather concerned for the dear girl-friend here.  I must say, as a woman, I was less than impressed with his conditional comments concerning when to worry and when not to worry...really?  As though marriage is not a vocation in need of discernment...and NOT conditional discernment. 


Through this process I've realized how different men and women actually are.  Well, you and her think on the same level!  I'm less convinced of an absolute calling, meaning you are only called to one direction and nothing else.  I'm realizing more and more than marriage is in need of discernment, but when I'm also feeling called to the priesthood the discernment of marriage is less of a discernment and more of an abandonment; I don't mean this as it sounds, but it is what comes to mind.  In Orthodoxy, I'm sure the two are separate callings, or at least should be.  I'm trying to treat it as such.  I was just "joking" about conditional discernment anyway!
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« Reply #18 on: April 26, 2011, 06:43:04 PM »


Seems this should be in the Converts section but since it's here, I'll take the opportunity to ask you what makes you think you have a vocation as a Catholic priest?  If you can't discern the call even in your own tradition, then how can you expect to be able to discern the call in a tradition not your own where you have to come on-line to ask questions?

If I sound harsh, pardon, I am not judging harshly here but I am a bit perplexed.

M.

 

You don't sound harsh, no worries.  I have an overwhelming urge to give up all I have to serve Jesus, to give Him an undivided heart, to participate and preside over His Liturgy.  This urge is not based on specific prayers or doctrines or churches or asceticism of, it is based on serving Jesus, His church, and His Liturgy.  I only have one life to leave, you know?  I'm not posting on here to help decide if I should be a Roman Catholic priest, per se.  I'm posting on here to get advice settling my interest in Orthodoxy, specifically learning their spirituality and what converts and lifelong members have actually felt draw them and keep them in Orthodoxy and why they knew it was the true church in their heart, not in history articles.  These are things I must know and have prayed about thoroughly before I could commit my life to the priesthood.  Sorry if I wasn't terribly clear; perfect clarity hasn't been my strong point as of late, lol.

 Smiley Smiley Smiley Smiley

If you were here I'd hug you!  What a wonderful mess you are...

Well...Those who have directed you toward Orthodox liturgies are right on target.  You cannot get there from a book.  

Also I learned all I needed to know about the core of eastern spirituality from St. Teresa of Avila's  "Way of Perfection" and the writings of Evagrius the Solitary.  That is not to say that they are ALL that I've worked with over the years but I've not learned anything vastly different at all from what I learned early on from those two.

But the key, as always is to immerse yourself in the liturgies.

It is a life's work that you are carving and I have no idea where it will take you but I am interested in watching you for a while...if you would permit that write to me privately.

God's abundant blessings!!

Christ is Risen!

M.
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« Reply #19 on: April 26, 2011, 06:46:22 PM »


I am rather concerned for the dear girl-friend here.  I must say, as a woman, I was less than impressed with his conditional comments concerning when to worry and when not to worry...really?  As though marriage is not a vocation in need of discernment...and NOT conditional discernment. 


Through this process I've realized how different men and women actually are.  Well, you and her think on the same level!  I'm less convinced of an absolute calling, meaning you are only called to one direction and nothing else.  I'm realizing more and more than marriage is in need of discernment, but when I'm also feeling called to the priesthood the discernment of marriage is less of a discernment and more of an abandonment; I don't mean this as it sounds, but it is what comes to mind.  In Orthodoxy, I'm sure the two are separate callings, or at least should be.  I'm trying to treat it as such.  I was just "joking" about conditional discernment anyway!
Along with Elijahmaria's suggestion of reading "The Way of Perfection", I also highly suggest St. John of the Cross' works on Spirituality including "The Dark Night of the Soul" and "The Ascent of Mt. Carmel". Fr. Thomas Dubay (of blessed memory) wrote a great book on the spirituality of Sts. Teresa of Avial and John of the Cross called "The Fire Within".
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« Reply #20 on: April 26, 2011, 06:48:16 PM »


I suggest these things not to draw you off from Orthodoxy but to try to see one convert go with a more balanced and realistic view of the Church he is leaving behind.  It seems to be a rarity.

I can see that, for many cases. As far as Carmelites and Domincans go, the former are definitely not for me.  I feel a call to diocesan priesthood.  I'll check with the Domincan seminary though, I've heard nothing but good about their seminaries and work in general.
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« Reply #21 on: April 26, 2011, 06:48:36 PM »


I am rather concerned for the dear girl-friend here.  I must say, as a woman, I was less than impressed with his conditional comments concerning when to worry and when not to worry...really?  As though marriage is not a vocation in need of discernment...and NOT conditional discernment. 


Through this process I've realized how different men and women actually are.  Well, you and her think on the same level!  I'm less convinced of an absolute calling, meaning you are only called to one direction and nothing else.  I'm realizing more and more than marriage is in need of discernment, but when I'm also feeling called to the priesthood the discernment of marriage is less of a discernment and more of an abandonment; I don't mean this as it sounds, but it is what comes to mind.  In Orthodoxy, I'm sure the two are separate callings, or at least should be.  I'm trying to treat it as such.  I was just "joking" about conditional discernment anyway!

I was hoping you were...and now I trust that you were.

You really are wound up tight here.  You must come to grips with the reality that in order to convert to Orthodoxy and to marry the woman and also to have your priestly vocation is going to mean abandonment of the Catholic Church in a way that you may or may not be able to do.  It is a harsh and a complete break to the point of denying things that you may yet believe...It seems to me that is what you need to discern first...Can you walk away completely from the Catholic Church?  To the point where you would deny her harshly...the schism demands that...look around here and see.

I don't say this in anger at all.  It is real however.
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« Reply #22 on: April 26, 2011, 06:50:07 PM »


I suggest these things not to draw you off from Orthodoxy but to try to see one convert go with a more balanced and realistic view of the Church he is leaving behind.  It seems to be a rarity.

I can see that, for many cases. As far as Carmelites and Domincans go, the former are definitely not for me.  I feel a call to diocesan priesthood.  I'll check with the Domincan seminary though, I've heard nothing but good about their seminaries and work in general.
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« Reply #23 on: April 26, 2011, 07:01:16 PM »


I suggest these things not to draw you off from Orthodoxy but to try to see one convert go with a more balanced and realistic view of the Church he is leaving behind.  It seems to be a rarity.

I can see that, for many cases. As far as Carmelites and Domincans go, the former are definitely not for me.  I feel a call to diocesan priesthood.  I'll check with the Domincan seminary though, I've heard nothing but good about their seminaries and work in general.

I am a spiritual daughter of Madre Teresa of Jesus to the marrow of my bones  Smiley Smiley Smiley...

...except I am wicked curious theologically...so the Dominicans do nicely for that!...
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« Reply #24 on: April 26, 2011, 10:36:38 PM »

My question is more for converts I suppose, or from anyone with $0.02 to spare.  What resources do you recommend about Orthodox spirituality, especially discernment (for some reason, asking for reading material on Eastern spirituality seems too Western, haha)?


Resources for discernnment? Go to church as often as possible, participate in the services - in the life of the Church, begin an Orthodox prayer rule, practice the Jesus Prayer. Life in Christ is not an intellectual exercise, it's a living experience. Do these things and you'll know.

There is one book in particular I would recommend above all others. The Way of a Pilgrim absolutely changed my life. If you read it you will see why.
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« Reply #25 on: April 26, 2011, 10:43:39 PM »

Christ is Risen!

Not that you shouldn't inquire into Orthodoxy but if the main reason your looking is so you can marry and become a priest might I suggest a cononnical transfer to Eastern rite Catholicism
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« Reply #26 on: April 26, 2011, 10:56:45 PM »

Christ is risen!

I am rather concerned for the dear girl-friend here.  I must say, as a woman, I was less than impressed with his conditional comments concerning when to worry and when not to worry...really?  As though marriage is not a vocation in need of discernment...and NOT conditional discernment. 


Through this process I've realized how different men and women actually are.  Well, you and her think on the same level!  I'm less convinced of an absolute calling, meaning you are only called to one direction and nothing else.  I'm realizing more and more than marriage is in need of discernment, but when I'm also feeling called to the priesthood the discernment of marriage is less of a discernment and more of an abandonment; I don't mean this as it sounds, but it is what comes to mind.  In Orthodoxy, I'm sure the two are separate callings, or at least should be.
Yes, but not mutually exclusive ones, despite what the Vatican says.
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« Reply #27 on: April 26, 2011, 11:11:41 PM »

Thank you!  Though the new-age zen "spirituality" does exist within the church, I do not view any of it as of the true church or Christian teaching, and am very quick to disregard/condemn it.  Another issue entirely, but there is no room for it to exist in the pre-V2 church.  I look forward to reading these articles when my finals are over.  I seem to see innovation after innovation within the Church; I can't imagine spiritual breakthroughs happening 2000 years after the fact, which I do not see in Orthodoxy.  Thank you again!

You are right that the new-age “spiritual” trends in Roman Catholicism have developed mostly post-V2, but the seeds for this movement were planted by many pre-V2, such as Thomas Merton, Dom Bede Griffiths in India and his predecessors (Dom Henri Le Saux/Swami Abhishiktananda), etc; and it was V2 itself that initiated a new movement of spiritual openness to the non-Christian East that enabled these seeds to flourish.  Much of contemporary “contemplative spirituality” in the West has arisen precisely out of the Interreligious Dialogues that were initiated by V2.  RC monastics after V2 would meet with Buddhists and Hindu monastics and be astonished by their “spirituality”, which a breath of fresh air coming from the spiritually dry scholasticism, the Exercises of Ignatius of Loyola, and the “prayer manuals” that came to characterize the “spirituality” of most RC monastic orders.  The subsequent impact of this East-West dialogue on Roman Catholic spirituality is probably most thoroughly examined by a Roman Catholic writer who I highly respect, Mr. James Arraj, who sadly reposed not long ago.  His book, “Christianity in the Crucible of the East-West dialogue” is something of a survey of Roman Catholic (mostly monastic) participants in this dialogue, and he demonstrates how quickly these participants embrace non-Christian Eastern spirituality and then shape their theology around their “spiritual experience”, resulting in (as an example) a Zen that uses Christian terminology rather than a Christianity that incorporates Zen (or some other) practice.  I had reached the same conclusions as Mr. Arraj after attending some talks by some Mary Knoll Catholic Roshis who worked in Japan, that their “Christianity” was entirely swallowed up by, and evaporated in, their Zen.  In speaking to crowds mostly of other Roman Catholics, all they could speak about was Zen, and were unable to address theological and dogmatic questions with any seriousness.  The book by Mr. Arraj that I refer to can be read on-line at:

http://www.innerexplorations.com/catew/christia.htm

Mr. Arraj’s entire site provides a very useful exploration of the tradition of John of the Cross, Carmelite spirituality, compatibility with Eastern non-Christian spiritual practice, Jungian psychology, etc.  Mr. Arraj examined these subjects with an openness and a critical mind that is an extreme rarity.  He was on a personal journey of sorts, and I think he would have found exactly what he was looking for in the writings of the Orthodox monk from Mt. Athos, Fr. Theophanes (Constantine), specifically in his work “The Psychological Basis of Mental Prayer in the Heart”, where he thoroughly examines Thomism in the light of Orthodox patristic anthropology and spiritual teaching and shows their basic incompatibility, demonstrating one reason why Roman Catholics cannot make progress in the Orthodox tradition of the Prayer of the Heart (Jesus Prayer) without actually becoming Orthodox.  Sadly, when I wrote to Mr. Arraj to share with him the work of Fr. Theophanes, and much else that I had discovered in Orthodoxy (which he never seemed to explore for whatever reason), his wife replied to inform me of Mr. Arraj’s repose. 

http://timiosprodromos4.blogspot.com/

Zen and blatantly New Age spirituality within Catholicism, taught by Roman Catholics priests and monks, perhaps can be easily avoided where this is in fact explicit, but the general New Age spirituality clothed in Christian terminology is much harder to detect and much more pervasive than works which explicitly recommend Zen or other non-Christian practices.  Go to any Catholic bookstore, for instance, and one will find the writings of Thomas Merton, Dom Basil Pennington, and likely those by Dom John Main, Dom Bede Griffiths, etc., all of which are of this same spiritual orientation.  From experience, I find that the followers of these teachers begin quickly to feel more spiritual affinity with Buddhists and Hindus than with Christians that do not follow the “meditation” techniques and “spiritual” traditions advocated by such authors.

Rather than focusing on fringe elements in the Catholic Church why not check with the Dominicans...They have Holy Apostle's Seminary here in the NE that is a wonderfully orthodox seminary that is even better than some of the older pre-Vatican II seminaries in terms of clarity of teaching and solid historical grounding.  I've taken courses with them and have never regretted any part of that experience.

What I speak of is not as fringe as perhaps you would like to think.  I mentioned how these New Age spiritual trends are now often carefully packaged under the guise of Christian terminology, such that most who embrace these teachings and practices are convinced (or eventually convince themselves) that they are following something entirely Christian or Roman Catholic.  It is important to realize that Vatican II enabled all of this in some sense has promoted it, but yet also this movement is a natural result of the spiritual wasteland of Roman Catholic “spirituality” that characterized pre-VII monasticism, which those like Merton felt compelled to rebel against.  The reforms of V2 were precisely made at a period of climax in Roman Catholicism following a very long period of spiritual unrest, one which I am convinced originated with the separation of Roman Catholicism from the Orthodox Church.

Also there are third order Dominicans and Carmelites who have an extended and formal period of formation and study that continues on through out the entire period of your life in the order.  The discalced Carmelites in particular will open your eyes to the traditional contempletive and apophatic life in the Catholic Church.  Of course, you'd have to extend yourself a bit to do these things...beyond reading a book... Smiley

Before entering the Orthodox Church, we had a Carmelite monastery about 10 minutes from our home, and I would visit on occasion to sit in the booth and speak through the dark hole to the faceless voice of the elderly nun appointed to speak with visitors.  Carmelite, Cistercian, and Carthusian monasticism all preserve something of the pre-Schism monastic tradition, the latter two being perhaps closest in spirit to Orthodox and patristic spirituality (at least in some respects).  However, these Roman Catholic monastic traditions have failed to pass on a method or tradition of prayer that is connected to their teachings on contemplation.  Dom John Main OSB, who learned to “meditate” from a Hindu Swami and later “Christianized” this practice in the form of “Christian Meditation” received letters from Carmelites, Cistercians, and Carthusians who were grateful for his writings precisely because he gave them a method of prayer.  Many of these traditional Roman Catholic monastics (this was right around and just following V2) confided in him that in all the years spent in their respective contemplative Orders, they never learned how to truly pray.  They were spiritually starved, and therefore were quick to adopt and absorb the Eastern spirituality of Dom John Main under Christian terminology.  Such methods of “prayer” are today widely used by Carmelites, Cistercians, and Carthusians who have long lacked a method of prayer which would help them develop “spiritually” according to the contemplative spirit of their Orders.  However, I became convinced in my experience that such methods do not lead to the experience of the Uncreated God but rather to the experience of our own created nature.   

Here you may be interested in the following article by the esteemed Carmelite Earnest Larkin, who gives a very positive review of Centering Prayer and Christian Meditation, both of which are of Hindu origin and spiritual orientation.  I can say this because I was heavily involved in these movements, giving retreats, leading groups, teaching these practices to others, etc. 

http://carmelnet.org/larkin/larkin014.pdf

This is not to say that in Roman Catholicism there is not real patristic spiritual teaching.  I can think of one monk in particular who wrote very much in a patristic spirit, the Swiss Benedictine hermit Fr. Gabriel (Bunge).  However, he just recently entered the Orthodox Church, and now says that “Orthodoxy is the fruit of my whole life as a Christian and a monk”. 

http://www.pravmir.com/article_1220.html

One of the key issues separating Orthodox and patristic spirituality from the post-Schism “spirituality” of the “Western Mystics”, as articles cited in an earlier post attempt to demonstrate, is the use of the imagination and the attitude towards visions.  One work on the subject, which I have not read, may expand upon this further, “Imagine That…: Mental Imagery in Roman Catholic and Orthodox Private Devotion” by Fr. Sergei Sveshnikov:

http://frsergei.wordpress.com/books/imagine-that-mental-imagery-in-roman-catholic-and-eastern-orthodox-private-devotion/

Some of this book’s contents can be read in the author’s following article:

http://frsergei.wordpress.com/2010/03/01/mental-imagery-in-eastern-orthodox-private-devotion/

Essentially, one will find that much of the “Western Mysticism” of post-Schism Roman Catholicism is what in Orthodox tradition we would call demonic delusion, prelest, or plani.  This is obviously a serious claim, but the fact that this element of spiritual delusion is found as much in Carmelite “spirituality” as in the spirituality of “Christian Meditation” and “Centering Prayer” is one reason why there is little surprise that a Carmelite such as Earnest Larkin would see “Christian Meditation” and “Centering Prayer” as perfectly compatible with Carmelite “spirituality”.  For me, the key difference in these “spiritualities” was clarified best by the Orthodox monk Fr. Sophrony of Essex, who wrote:

Quote
Fr. Sophrony quoted in Hieromonk Damascene Christiensen’s Christ the Eternal Tao

“Attaining the bounds where 'day and night come to an end,' man contemplates the beauty of his own spirit which many identify with Divine Being.  They do see a light but it is not the True Light in which there 'is no darkness at all.'  It is the natural light peculiar to the mind of man created in God's image. 
 
"The mental light, which excels every other light of empirical knowledge, might still just as well be called darkness, since it is the darkness of divestiture and God is not in it.  And perhaps in this instance more than any other we should listen to the Lord's warning, 'Take heed therefore that the light which is in you be not darkness.'  The first prehistoric, cosmic catastrophe - the fall of Lucifer, son of the morning, who became the prince of darkness - was due to his enamored contemplation of his own beauty, which ended up in his self-deification."

---

"since those who enter for the first time into the sphere of the 'silence of the mind' experience a certain mystic awe, they mistake their contemplation for mystical communion with the Divine, whereas in reality they are still within the confines of created human nature.  The mind, it is true, here passes beyond the frontiers of time and space, and it is this that gives it a sense of grasping eternal wisdom.  This is as far as human intelligence can go along the path of natural development and self-contemplation...
 
"Dwelling in the darkness of divestiture, the mind knows a peculiar delight and sense of peace...  Clearing the frontiers of time, such contemplation approaches the mind to knowledge of the intransitory, thereby possessing man of new but still abstract cognition.  Woe to him who mistakes this wisdom for  knowledge of the true God, and this contemplation for a communion in Divine Being.  Woe to him because the darkness of divestiture on the borders of true vision becomes an impenetrable pass and a stronger barrier between himself and God than the darkness due to the uprising of gross passion, or the darkness of obviously demonic instigations, or the darkness which results from loss of Grace and abandonment by God.  Woe to him, for he will have gone astray and fallen into delusion, since God is not in the darkness of divestiture."

 

From “Christian Meditation” to “Centering Prayer” to other forms of “contemplative spirituality” in Roman Catholicism today, one finds similar reference to an experience of God which results from interior silence, and the “Christian contemplative” is often surprised and delighted to find that the “contemplatives” of other religious traditions share this same experience of God in silence.  Such practitioners from different religions perhaps use terminology that differs by religious tradition, but they are often convinced that they are speaking of the same spiritual experience.  This experience, however, is not the experience of God but is rather the experience of the expansiveness of one’s own created nature.  By mistaking the experience of one’s own created nature for the experience of God, one falls into the delusion of spiritual self-worship which was the beginning of Lucifer’s fall, as Fr. Sophrony also says.  I glimpsed this in my experience of these traditions, and as I discovered more of Orthodoxy I became convinced that while certain externals of Roman Catholic and Orthodox spiritual traditions may appear to be similar, spiritually they are not only incompatible but entirely unrelated.  Only in Orthodoxy will one find a continuous tradition and comprehensive method of prayer, the complete teaching on man’s theosis and the relationship of prayer to this process, and comprehensive and sober examination of demonic delusion along with the factors which lead to this state and the safeguards against it, as well as the examples of countless saints from Apostolic times to the present time who have lived out this Apostolic tradition of theosis and carefully handed it down through the ages without interruption.     
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« Reply #28 on: April 27, 2011, 12:32:40 PM »


There is one book in particular I would recommend above all others. The Way of a Pilgrim absolutely changed my life. If you read it you will see why.

I was somewhat hesitant to read "novel" when I first heard of this book, but its been recommended so often that I can't ignore it.  +1 on the Phantom Regiment avatar by the way, I had always dreamed of marching there.  Did you?
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« Reply #29 on: April 27, 2011, 12:39:01 PM »

Christ is Risen!

Not that you shouldn't inquire into Orthodoxy but if the main reason your looking is so you can marry and become a priest might I suggest a cononnical transfer to Eastern rite Catholicism

Eastern Catholicism is a bureaucratic mess for Roman Catholics.  In short, this would never be possible. 
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« Reply #30 on: April 27, 2011, 12:49:12 PM »

Christ is Risen!

Not that you shouldn't inquire into Orthodoxy but if the main reason your looking is so you can marry and become a priest might I suggest a cononnical transfer to Eastern rite Catholicism

Eastern Catholicism is a bureaucratic mess for Roman Catholics.  In short, this would never be possible. 
I think Eastern Catholics may be turning a corner very shortly.
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« Reply #31 on: April 27, 2011, 12:53:41 PM »

Christ is Risen!

Not that you shouldn't inquire into Orthodoxy but if the main reason your looking is so you can marry and become a priest might I suggest a cononnical transfer to Eastern rite Catholicism

Eastern Catholicism is a bureaucratic mess for Roman Catholics.  In short, this would never be possible. 

Why do you say this?  It would be difficult but it would not be impossible for you.  You'd have to select carefully for your seminary work...that is true...but it should not be impossible.  It took less than six weeks from the time I wrote the initial letter requesting transfer till the transfer papers were complete.

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« Reply #32 on: April 27, 2011, 01:51:47 PM »

Grace and Peace,

This quick embracing of Eastern Spiritual Practices was another reason I sought refuge within Holy Orthodoxy. It has everything you want in the way of spiritual practices. You don't need to go Far East. I often wonder why Rome didn't simply to just a little east and embrace the spirituality of their Eastern Brothers and Sisters than embrace an entirely alien practice like zen and hinduism?
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« Reply #33 on: April 27, 2011, 02:02:03 PM »

Grace and Peace,

This quick embracing of Eastern Spiritual Practices was another reason I sought refuge within Holy Orthodoxy. It has everything you want in the way of spiritual practices. You don't need to go Far East. I often wonder why Rome didn't simply to just a little east and embrace the spirituality of their Eastern Brothers and Sisters than embrace an entirely alien practice like zen and hinduism?
Are you kidding me?
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« Reply #34 on: April 27, 2011, 02:20:34 PM »

Only in Orthodoxy will one find a continuous tradition and comprehensive method of prayer, the complete teaching on man’s theosis and the relationship of prayer to this process, and comprehensive and sober examination of demonic delusion along with the factors which lead to this state and the safeguards against it, as well as the examples of countless saints from Apostolic times to the present time who have lived out this Apostolic tradition of theosis and carefully handed it down through the ages without interruption.

Wonderful post! Thank you!
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« Reply #35 on: April 27, 2011, 02:48:34 PM »

I found "The Mountain of Silence" to be extremely beneficial to me. It's not written as a dry "and this is what Saint-So-and-So from a Century Long Ago says about such-and-such", it's a conversation between a man wanting to know more about God and an Orthodox Hiermonk of Mt. Athos. It's the kind of question and answer session I think we would all like to have if we could visit Mt. Athos. Smiley

I know you can get it on Amazon.com for about $10 and it's also available in a Kindle version, which I really liked.

(Orthodoxy via Kindle; who said we resisted change! lol  laugh )

I second thos reccomendation.  Mountain of scilence is wonderful.  also, read "On the Priesthood" by St. John Chrysostom
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« Reply #36 on: April 27, 2011, 02:53:26 PM »

Speaking of e-books, and "On the Priesthood," that one is available as an e-book as well, along with other collections of St. John's sermons. You can't go wrong with them.  angel
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« Reply #37 on: April 27, 2011, 03:08:55 PM »

Grace and Peace,

This quick embracing of Eastern Spiritual Practices was another reason I sought refuge within Holy Orthodoxy. It has everything you want in the way of spiritual practices. You don't need to go Far East. I often wonder why Rome didn't simply to just a little east and embrace the spirituality of their Eastern Brothers and Sisters than embrace an entirely alien practice like zen and hinduism?
Are you kidding me?

Roman Catholic Modern Spiritual Influences:

Fr. Bede Griffith (Hinduism)
Fr. Thomas Merton (Buddhism and Taoism)
Fr. Thomas Kenting (Buddhism)

I don't know how many Catholic Churches teach Yoga but many do. How many teach the Prayer of the Heart? None that I know of... that is my point.
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« Reply #38 on: April 27, 2011, 04:18:27 PM »

Grace and Peace,

This quick embracing of Eastern Spiritual Practices was another reason I sought refuge within Holy Orthodoxy. It has everything you want in the way of spiritual practices. You don't need to go Far East. I often wonder why Rome didn't simply to just a little east and embrace the spirituality of their Eastern Brothers and Sisters than embrace an entirely alien practice like zen and hinduism?
Are you kidding me?

Roman Catholic Modern Spiritual Influences:

Fr. Bede Griffith (Hinduism)
Fr. Thomas Merton (Buddhism and Taoism)
Fr. Thomas Kenting (Buddhism)

I don't know how many Catholic Churches teach Yoga but many do. How many teach the Prayer of the Heart? None that I know of... that is my point.


This is the meandering of a sore heart and soul.  You are shell shocked, my friend.

You've clearly read little of Father Louis if you think he "taught" anything other than contemplative prayer.  He observed many things and wrote freely but he taught as the Church taught when it came to both prayer and doctrine.  I have a dozen of his books on contemplation and silence and many of his conferences delivered to the novices in his monastery, and none of it is anything but Catholic.

I think you need to be careful here.  Scotty is not a neophyte.  He's attached to a woman and discerning a call to the priesthood which may, for him, mean a call to the celibate life.  It is a different path from your own.

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« Reply #39 on: April 27, 2011, 04:36:29 PM »

Grace and Peace,

This quick embracing of Eastern Spiritual Practices was another reason I sought refuge within Holy Orthodoxy. It has everything you want in the way of spiritual practices. You don't need to go Far East. I often wonder why Rome didn't simply to just a little east and embrace the spirituality of their Eastern Brothers and Sisters than embrace an entirely alien practice like zen and hinduism?
Are you kidding me?

Roman Catholic Modern Spiritual Influences:

Fr. Bede Griffith (Hinduism)
Fr. Thomas Merton (Buddhism and Taoism)
Fr. Thomas Kenting (Buddhism)

I don't know how many Catholic Churches teach Yoga but many do. How many teach the Prayer of the Heart? None that I know of... that is my point.


This is the meandering of a sore heart and soul.  You are shell shocked, my friend.

You've clearly read little of Father Louis if you think he "taught" anything other than contemplative prayer.  He observed many things and wrote freely but he taught as the Church taught when it came to both prayer and doctrine.  I have a dozen of his books on contemplation and silence and many of his conferences delivered to the novices in his monastery, and none of it is anything but Catholic.

I think you need to be careful here.  Scotty is not a neophyte.  He's attached to a woman and discerning a call to the priesthood which may, for him, mean a call to the celibate life.  It is a different path from your own.



So you don't see the error of syncretism within their novelties?
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St Basil the Great (330-379 A.D.): “I think then that the one goal of all who are really and truly serving the Lord ought to be to bring back to union the churches who have at different times and in diverse manners divided from one another.”
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« Reply #40 on: April 27, 2011, 05:08:53 PM »

Grace and Peace,

This quick embracing of Eastern Spiritual Practices was another reason I sought refuge within Holy Orthodoxy. It has everything you want in the way of spiritual practices. You don't need to go Far East. I often wonder why Rome didn't simply to just a little east and embrace the spirituality of their Eastern Brothers and Sisters than embrace an entirely alien practice like zen and hinduism?
Are you kidding me?

Roman Catholic Modern Spiritual Influences:

Fr. Bede Griffith (Hinduism)
Fr. Thomas Merton (Buddhism and Taoism)
Fr. Thomas Kenting (Buddhism)

I don't know how many Catholic Churches teach Yoga but many do. How many teach the Prayer of the Heart? None that I know of... that is my point.


This is the meandering of a sore heart and soul.  You are shell shocked, my friend.

You've clearly read little of Father Louis if you think he "taught" anything other than contemplative prayer.  He observed many things and wrote freely but he taught as the Church taught when it came to both prayer and doctrine.  I have a dozen of his books on contemplation and silence and many of his conferences delivered to the novices in his monastery, and none of it is anything but Catholic.

I think you need to be careful here.  Scotty is not a neophyte.  He's attached to a woman and discerning a call to the priesthood which may, for him, mean a call to the celibate life.  It is a different path from your own.



So you don't see the error of syncretism within their novelties?

LOL...I don't see the six foot rabbit in my living room either.

You want to see novelties in his teaching texts.  They are not there.  If anything experimental exists it is in his journals, in his openly experimental thoughts, but you'd play the devils own role to find them in his lessons to novices or in his primary teachings texts on contemplation, silence, or spiritual direction.

I DO find it in the way his life and work have been used by others but I've read every book of his that I have in this house and it is clean when it comes to the pedagogical texts.

Everything that he wrote for use in his monastery and in his order passed scrutiny. 

I have no idea who you are or what your fears are but you are in left field on this one as far as I am concerned.
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ignatius
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« Reply #41 on: April 27, 2011, 05:47:05 PM »

Grace and Peace,

This quick embracing of Eastern Spiritual Practices was another reason I sought refuge within Holy Orthodoxy. It has everything you want in the way of spiritual practices. You don't need to go Far East. I often wonder why Rome didn't simply to just a little east and embrace the spirituality of their Eastern Brothers and Sisters than embrace an entirely alien practice like zen and hinduism?
Are you kidding me?

Roman Catholic Modern Spiritual Influences:

Fr. Bede Griffith (Hinduism)
Fr. Thomas Merton (Buddhism and Taoism)
Fr. Thomas Kenting (Buddhism)

I don't know how many Catholic Churches teach Yoga but many do. How many teach the Prayer of the Heart? None that I know of... that is my point.


This is the meandering of a sore heart and soul.  You are shell shocked, my friend.

You've clearly read little of Father Louis if you think he "taught" anything other than contemplative prayer.  He observed many things and wrote freely but he taught as the Church taught when it came to both prayer and doctrine.  I have a dozen of his books on contemplation and silence and many of his conferences delivered to the novices in his monastery, and none of it is anything but Catholic.

I think you need to be careful here.  Scotty is not a neophyte.  He's attached to a woman and discerning a call to the priesthood which may, for him, mean a call to the celibate life.  It is a different path from your own.



So you don't see the error of syncretism within their novelties?

LOL...I don't see the six foot rabbit in my living room either.

You want to see novelties in his teaching texts.  They are not there.  If anything experimental exists it is in his journals, in his openly experimental thoughts, but you'd play the devils own role to find them in his lessons to novices or in his primary teachings texts on contemplation, silence, or spiritual direction.

I DO find it in the way his life and work have been used by others but I've read every book of his that I have in this house and it is clean when it comes to the pedagogical texts.

Everything that he wrote for use in his monastery and in his order passed scrutiny. 

I have no idea who you are or what your fears are but you are in left field on this one as far as I am concerned.

What of Fr. Bede then? Don't you think he went too far?
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« Reply #42 on: April 27, 2011, 06:03:39 PM »

Many feel they are called and others say they have an urge to serve as a priest, but they should never be ordained. Besides canonical impediments, there are many other things to be considered--spiritual formation and stability, mental state, etc. Unfortunately, not all bishops consider these things before they ordain. I am wary of those who  desire to be priests. I've seen too many who were convinced of their calling and believed it to be some right of theirs. Many of these had serious issues themselves--it is often, I find, the broken who desire to help and fix others. If one desires something so much, one should be prepared to wait ten, twenty years to obtain it and see whether he is constant in this desire or whether he  had been misleading himself. This goes double if one is in the midst of other big decisions such as marriage or conversion. Stability is necessary for all these things--conversion, marriage, and ordination.
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« Reply #43 on: April 27, 2011, 06:12:21 PM »


What of Fr. Bede then? Don't you think he went too far?

Absolutely!!... but why would you make him normative in the Catholic Church?

Even Centering Prayer was a passing fad, only to be replaced by Yoga, I realize but that too shall pass.  And I know many more secular Carmelites and Dominicans and Franciscans than I do women who practice Centering Prayer with their Yoga forms.

Look...We've had some awfully loose bishops over the past several generations but they are being replaced and with all of the irregularities the remnant perseveres and fights the good fight, at home, and in the parishes and with the chanceries.

I've seen a bishop pour the Blessed Blood of my Lord down the sewer drain.  I didn't loose my faith.  He is the one without faith...not me.  You just have to pull yourself together and know that there are good and holy people in the Catholic Church.  There are good and holy people in Orthodoxy.  

But there is no safe place but heaven and there are no perfect expressions of the faith that are and remain fixed forever.  Things always move and change.  That is why we need to keep those useless repetitions moving on into the next generation.  You cannot run away from it...You ought not in any event.

That being said....IF...indeed you do begin to slip and cry out and slip and cry out again and again then perhaps it is time for you to move...but there is no reason in God's universe that you should ever be afraid!!

Fondly,

In Christ

M.
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« Reply #44 on: April 27, 2011, 09:53:02 PM »

You want to see novelties in his teaching texts.  They are not there.  If anything experimental exists it is in his journals, in his openly experimental thoughts, but you'd play the devils own role to find them in his lessons to novices or in his primary teachings texts on contemplation, silence, or spiritual direction.

I DO find it in the way his life and work have been used by others but I've read every book of his that I have in this house and it is clean when it comes to the pedagogical texts.

Everything that he wrote for use in his monastery and in his order passed scrutiny. 

I have no idea who you are or what your fears are but you are in left field on this one as far as I am concerned.

If you are familiar with Thomas Merton, you are certainly aware of the struggles he had with the censorship of his works by his own Order, something which would explain perhaps less controversial statements in earlier works of his.  One of the last books to be published during his life time, “Zen and the Birds of Appetite”, perhaps shows that this censorship lessened with time, but it is also a pivotal work which opened up Roman Catholics to Zen.  Merton is considered to be very much a trail blazer in opening the Roman Catholic Church up to Zen, and paved the way for those like the Jesuit Roshi Robert Kennedy to attempt the path of “Zen Catholicism”.  Yes, in his journals one finds the most controversial statements, such as his “Asian Journals” which record his thoughts from the last days of his life, where he expressed the desire to "find a Tibetan guru and go in for Nyingmapa Tantric initiation."  In a paper Merton intended to give in Calcutta in October, 1968, he further expressed his thoughts in the following words:

Quote
I think we have now reached a stage of (long-overdue) religious maturity at which it may be possible for someone to remain perfectly faithful to a Christian and Western monastic commitment, and yet to learn in depth from, say, a Buddhist or Hindu discipline and experience. I believe that some of us need to do this in order to improve the quality of our own monastic life and even to help in the task of monastic renewal. . . .

http://www.monasticdialog.com/a.php?id=681

If all of his instructions to novices were quite sound from a post-Schism Roman Catholic perspective, and if Merton himself was esteemed as a “master” of Roman Catholic spirituality, his desire to spiritually embrace Eastern non-Christian practices and disciplines can only be seen as a culmination of all that came before.  In other words, when one sees the direction Merton took, one is not likely to embrace the “early stuff” and discard the conclusion of his journey, but rather one is likely to embrace the final “insights” as the culmination of his long journey.  If such a respected and experienced Trappist monk, after having immersed himself in all of the Roman Catholic spiritual and monastic writings, at the end of his days seeks to embrace Tibetan Buddhism and Zen, then why wouldn’t other Roman Catholics seek to follow his example and likewise embrace Tibetan Buddhism and Zen?  Even if the earlier writings appear “sound” from your perspective, one cannot separate them from the culmination of his journey as though they were written by a different person or were somehow separable in spirit from the journey which led him to the non-Christian East.  If one immerses himself even in his earlier writings, they will be infected by his “spirit”, and likely arrive at the same spiritual destination. 

Like the “Western Mystics”, Merton spoke of “contemplation” but did not provide a method, a comprehensive teaching on prayer.  Centering Prayer, Christian Meditation, and other such disciplines have been embraced as the “missing links”, the practical methods needed in order to arrive at that about which Merton and the “mystics” spoke.  The fact that these practices, both of Hindu origin and orientation, have been so readily embraced by Roman Catholic monastics is very telling, as is also Merton’s conviction that the adoption of non-Christian spiritual practices was a key to the renewal of Roman Catholic monasticism.  This says a great deal about Roman Catholic “spiritual” and monastic tradition. 

there are no perfect expressions of the faith that are and remain fixed forever
       

It is understandable that these convictions of yours are what keep you in the peculiar position of a “Byzantine Catholic”, but they are not convictions you will hear in the Orthodox Church.  The Orthodox Church does not have within it the spiritual confusion, the spiritual crisis in monasteries that leads monastics to look for help from Buddhists and Hindus, etc, that is found among so many Roman Catholics.  The Orthodox Church believes that it is the true Church and contains the perfect expression of the faith and a perfect spiritual methodology and theology.  You may believe that “it doesn’t matter” whether one is Orthodox or Roman/Byzantine Catholic, but the Orthodox saints will tell you that you will not taste the spiritual grace found only in Orthodoxy while remaining outside of the Orthodox Church.   

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