Author Topic: Mother Thekla's Letter to a New Convert  (Read 1746 times)

0 Members and 1 Guest are viewing this topic.

Offline stavros_388

  • OC.net guru
  • *******
  • Posts: 1,322
Mother Thekla's Letter to a New Convert
« on: January 11, 2013, 11:01:04 AM »
Sage advice for converts:

Dear “John”,

I understand that you are on the way to becoming Orthodox. I know nothing about you, beyond the fact that you are English.
Before we go any further, there is one point I should make clear. I have not been told why you are about to convert, but I assure you there is no point whatsoever if it is for negative reasons. You will find as much “wrong” (if not more) in Orthodoxy as in the Anglican or Roman Churches.
So – the first point is, are you prepared to face lies, hypocrisy, evil and all the rest, just as much in Orthodoxy as in any other religion or denomination?
Are you expecting a kind of earthly paradise with plenty of incense and the right kind of music?
Do you expect to go straight to heaven if you cross yourself slowly, pompously and in the correct form from the right side?
Have you a cookery book with all the authentic Russian recipes for Easter festivities?
Are you an expert in kissing three times on every possible or improper occasion?
Can you prostrate elegantly without dropping a variety of stationery out of your pockets?

OR…..

Have you read the Gospels?
Have you faced Christ crucified? In the spirit have you attended the Last Supper – the meaning of Holy Communion?

AND….

Are you prepared, in all humility, to understand that you will never, in this life, know beyond Faith; that Faith means accepting the Truth without proof. Faith and knowledge are the ultimate contradiction –and the ultimate absorption into each other.
Living Orthodoxy is based on paradox, which is carried on into worship – private or public.
We know because we believe and we believe because we know.
Above all, are you prepared to accept all things as from God?
If we are meant, always, to be “happy”, why the Crucifixion? Are you prepared, whatever happens, to believe that somewhere, somehow, it must make sense? That does not mean passive endurance, but it means constant vigilance, listening, for what is demanded; and above all, Love.
Poor, old, sick, to our last breath, we can love. Not sentimental nonsense so often confused with love, but the love of sacrifice – inner crucifixion of greed, envy, pride.
And never confuse love with sentimentality.
And never confuse worship with affectation.
Be humble – love, even when it is difficult. Not sentimental so called love – And do not treat church worship as a theatrical performance!

I hope that some of this makes sense,
With my best wishes,
Mother Thekla
(sometime Abbess of the Monastery of the Assumption, Normanby)

http://journeytoorthodoxy.com/2013/01/02/mother-theklas-letter-to-a-new-convert/
"This is the cross - to become dead to the whole world, to suffer sorrows, temptations and other passions of Christ; in bearing this cross with complete patience, we imitate Christ's passion and thus glorify our God the Father as His sons in grace and co-heirs of Christ." --St. Symeon the New Theologian

Offline Romaios

  • Archon
  • ********
  • Posts: 2,933
Re: Mother Thekla's Letter to a New Convert
« Reply #1 on: January 11, 2013, 11:29:28 AM »
^ Excellent advice! Not just for converts...

Offline Schultz

  • Christian. Guitarist. Scooterist. Zymurgist. Librarian.
  • Taxiarches
  • **********
  • Posts: 6,542
  • Scion of the McKeesport Becks.
Re: Mother Thekla's Letter to a New Convert
« Reply #2 on: January 11, 2013, 11:47:15 AM »
How dare she ask if he's read the Gospels.  After all, millions of pious Christians over the years have never read them so what good are they?

/sarcasm
"Hearing a nun's confession is like being stoned to death with popcorn." --Abp. Fulton Sheen

Offline Gebre Menfes Kidus

  • "SERVANT of The HOLY SPIRIT"
  • Merarches
  • ***********
  • Posts: 8,972
  • "Lord Have Mercy on Me a Sinner!"
    • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?ref=profile&id=1456515775
Re: Mother Thekla's Letter to a New Convert
« Reply #3 on: January 11, 2013, 11:54:34 AM »
Excellent advice. I await the ridicule she will receive from some on this forum for being so presumptuous as to dare proffer godly advice to anyone. But I am personally grateful for her wisdom.



Selam 
""Love is a dangerous thing. It will crush you if you trust it. But without it you can never be whole. Love crucifies, but love saves. We will either be saved together with love, or damned alone without it."    Selam, +GMK+

Offline stavros_388

  • OC.net guru
  • *******
  • Posts: 1,322
Re: Mother Thekla's Letter to a New Convert
« Reply #4 on: January 11, 2013, 12:02:49 PM »
"This is the cross - to become dead to the whole world, to suffer sorrows, temptations and other passions of Christ; in bearing this cross with complete patience, we imitate Christ's passion and thus glorify our God the Father as His sons in grace and co-heirs of Christ." --St. Symeon the New Theologian

Offline Ansgar

  • Archon
  • ********
  • Posts: 3,055
  • Keep your mind in hell and do not despair
Re: Mother Thekla's Letter to a New Convert
« Reply #5 on: January 11, 2013, 12:08:01 PM »
Excellent advice. I await the ridicule she will receive from some on this forum for being so presumptuous as to dare proffer godly advice to anyone. But I am personally grateful for her wisdom.



Selam 

I cannot see why anyone here should wish to do that.
Do not be cast down over the struggle - the Lord loves a brave warrior. The Lord loves the soul that is valiant.

-St Silouan the athonite

Offline Monk Vasyl

  • High Elder
  • ******
  • Posts: 623
    • Web site of our parish, St. Andrew UOCof USA
Re: Mother Thekla's Letter to a New Convert
« Reply #6 on: January 11, 2013, 12:09:57 PM »
Christ Is Born!

Excellent reading for converts and ALL Orthodox Christians.  Father Alexander Schmemann was reported to have said that converts who have read 3 books on Orthodoxy all of a sudden are experts.  
The unworthy hierodeacon, Vasyl

Offline Schultz

  • Christian. Guitarist. Scooterist. Zymurgist. Librarian.
  • Taxiarches
  • **********
  • Posts: 6,542
  • Scion of the McKeesport Becks.
Re: Mother Thekla's Letter to a New Convert
« Reply #7 on: January 11, 2013, 01:03:08 PM »
Excellent advice. I await the ridicule she will receive from some on this forum for being so presumptuous as to dare proffer godly advice to anyone. But I am personally grateful for her wisdom.



Selam 

I cannot see why anyone here should wish to do that.

You'd think that, wouldn't you?  Welcome to the internet. ;)
"Hearing a nun's confession is like being stoned to death with popcorn." --Abp. Fulton Sheen

Offline Tikhon.of.Colorado

  • Site Supporter
  • Archon
  • *****
  • Posts: 2,375

Offline choy

  • Archon
  • ********
  • Posts: 2,316
Re: Mother Thekla's Letter to a New Convert
« Reply #9 on: January 11, 2013, 02:31:03 PM »
Christ Is Born!

Excellent reading for converts and ALL Orthodox Christians.  Father Alexander Schmemann was reported to have said that converts who have read 3 books on Orthodoxy all of a sudden are experts.  

Nonesense!  I have read one book and I think I am an expert!!!

 ;D

Online Cyrillic

  • The Laughing Cavalier
  • Toumarches
  • ************
  • Posts: 12,028
  • Φέρ' ὕδωρ φέρ' οἶνον, ὦ παῖ!
  • Jurisdiction: But my heart belongs to Finland
Re: Mother Thekla's Letter to a New Convert
« Reply #10 on: January 11, 2013, 02:34:28 PM »
How dare she ask if he's read the Gospels.  After all, millions of pious Christians over the years have never read them so what good are they?

/sarcasm

Still, should the ability to read or even having read the gospels be a prerequisite for conversion?
At nunc desertis cessant sacraria lucis:
aurum omnes victa iam pietate colunt.
-Propertius, Elegies III.XIII:47-48

νίκας τοῖς Βασιλεῦσι κατὰ βαρβάρων δωρούμενος

Offline sheenj

  • OC.net guru
  • *******
  • Posts: 1,429
  • St. Gregorios of Parumala, pray for us...
  • Faith: Oriental Orthodox
  • Jurisdiction: Indian/Malankara Orthodox Church
Re: Mother Thekla's Letter to a New Convert
« Reply #11 on: January 11, 2013, 02:43:50 PM »
How dare she ask if he's read the Gospels.  After all, millions of pious Christians over the years have never read them so what good are they?

/sarcasm

Still, should the ability to read or even having read the gospels be a prerequisite for conversion?

Barring certain extreme situations, yes.

Offline Ansgar

  • Archon
  • ********
  • Posts: 3,055
  • Keep your mind in hell and do not despair
Re: Mother Thekla's Letter to a New Convert
« Reply #12 on: January 11, 2013, 02:47:41 PM »
Excellent advice. I await the ridicule she will receive from some on this forum for being so presumptuous as to dare proffer godly advice to anyone. But I am personally grateful for her wisdom.



Selam 

I cannot see why anyone here should wish to do that.

You'd think that, wouldn't you?  Welcome to the internet. ;)
Thanks, it's a pleasure to be here.

But seriously, I can't think of anyone on this forum who would directly ridicule this nun. But maybe I'm just too trusting.
Do not be cast down over the struggle - the Lord loves a brave warrior. The Lord loves the soul that is valiant.

-St Silouan the athonite

Offline Schultz

  • Christian. Guitarist. Scooterist. Zymurgist. Librarian.
  • Taxiarches
  • **********
  • Posts: 6,542
  • Scion of the McKeesport Becks.
Re: Mother Thekla's Letter to a New Convert
« Reply #13 on: January 11, 2013, 02:54:57 PM »
How dare she ask if he's read the Gospels.  After all, millions of pious Christians over the years have never read them so what good are they?

/sarcasm

Still, should the ability to read or even having read the gospels be a prerequisite for conversion?

Barring certain extreme situations, yes.

Exactly.  There is practically no excuse for anyone who can read in this day and age to have not read the Gospels at least once in their lifetime.  In the so-called developed First World, even illiteracy isn't an excuse, as there are any number of audio recordings of the Gospels available. 
"Hearing a nun's confession is like being stoned to death with popcorn." --Abp. Fulton Sheen

Offline Schultz

  • Christian. Guitarist. Scooterist. Zymurgist. Librarian.
  • Taxiarches
  • **********
  • Posts: 6,542
  • Scion of the McKeesport Becks.
Re: Mother Thekla's Letter to a New Convert
« Reply #14 on: January 11, 2013, 02:55:33 PM »
Excellent advice. I await the ridicule she will receive from some on this forum for being so presumptuous as to dare proffer godly advice to anyone. But I am personally grateful for her wisdom.



Selam 

I cannot see why anyone here should wish to do that.

You'd think that, wouldn't you?  Welcome to the internet. ;)
Thanks, it's a pleasure to be here.

But seriously, I can't think of anyone on this forum who would directly ridicule this nun. But maybe I'm just too trusting.

Look up a few posts.  Apparently her advice to read the Gospels is under fire, as I knew it would.
"Hearing a nun's confession is like being stoned to death with popcorn." --Abp. Fulton Sheen

Offline Ansgar

  • Archon
  • ********
  • Posts: 3,055
  • Keep your mind in hell and do not despair
Re: Mother Thekla's Letter to a New Convert
« Reply #15 on: January 11, 2013, 03:00:56 PM »
Excellent advice. I await the ridicule she will receive from some on this forum for being so presumptuous as to dare proffer godly advice to anyone. But I am personally grateful for her wisdom.



Selam  

I cannot see why anyone here should wish to do that.

You'd think that, wouldn't you?  Welcome to the internet. ;)
Thanks, it's a pleasure to be here.

But seriously, I can't think of anyone on this forum who would directly ridicule this nun. But maybe I'm just too trusting.

Look up a few posts.  Apparently her advice to read the Gospels is under fire, as I knew it would.
But that is disagreements, not necessarily ridicule.
« Last Edit: January 11, 2013, 03:01:48 PM by Ansgar »
Do not be cast down over the struggle - the Lord loves a brave warrior. The Lord loves the soul that is valiant.

-St Silouan the athonite

Offline Tommelomsky

  • Podvig
  • Elder
  • *****
  • Posts: 487
  • Glory to God in all things!
    • Russian Orthodox Church in Norway
  • Faith: Orthodox Christian
  • Jurisdiction: ROC
Re: Mother Thekla's Letter to a New Convert
« Reply #16 on: January 11, 2013, 03:19:29 PM »
I have this lady at my parish asking me every second week why I want to convert. What she does not know is that I ask myself about this daily and I am very aware of the fact that it takes a lot of learning, service, reading, love and patience. The intention is probably nice, but it can also be a bit too overwhelming and nosy at times..
The meaning of life is to acquire the grace of the Holy Spirit.
Saint Seraphim of Sarov

Thomas said to him: “My Lord and my God!” (John 20:28)

+ Glory be to God for all things! +

Offline biro

  • Site Supporter
  • Hoplitarches
  • *****
  • Posts: 17,327
Re: Mother Thekla's Letter to a New Convert
« Reply #17 on: January 11, 2013, 08:00:09 PM »
Thank you, Mother Thekla.  :angel: If only I weren't a stubborn old coot and actually listened to decent people.  :'(