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Author Topic: Update - catechumen - Chrismation - everything coming against ???  (Read 1203 times) Average Rating: 0
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Anna.T
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« on: May 30, 2014, 10:55:11 AM »

Well, I haven't been here much for a few weeks. Part of the issues and things going on. Please bear with me, I have a question, but need some background I think.

A few weeks ago, Fr. M. told me to change my prayer rule. He didn't tell me what to do except to pray more often for shorter times. My "rule" at the time was ten minutes a day - I nearly always prayed longer, and usually more than once - but I wanted to commit and follow through with some minimum. I told him a few times it was hard to just stop what I was doing and make time, and I'd end up doing it at 2am (then pray for 30 minutes instead).

Anyway, I feel kind of stupid now. I have always been able to pray on my own, and wasn't sure why I needed a "rule" ... now I know I need the rule, but all I know is that he wants me to do differently than before and somehow I have not made a new "rule" for myself. So I do pray, but I don't usually get around to deciding which prayer. I pray the ones I have memorized (not many) and just haphazardly - when I wake up, when I remember, if someone asks for prayer. Sometimes I pray long personal prayers. But ... I find I no longer like this haphazard thing. I need the "rule". I just can't seem to make one for myself.

Which I think has weakened me in a way. And that is not good. And may be part of why I have not been here in a few weeks.

On the other hand, the liturgy has sunk in in a way it never did before. And I have it playing in my mind more. That is strengthening me somewhat.

I spoke with Father about making sure he knew I was actually interested in joining the Church, since we first talked about me only as an inquirer. My husband initially did not let me go on Sundays. But since Palm Sunday I've been only at the Orthodox Church, and I go every Sunday, often for the extra liturgies when there is a feast day, or any other reason there is a service, I am involved in all I can be with the community, and so on. So Father said he considered my catechumenate to have begun during that period I attended the classes.

Classes are suspended now for June-July. Bible studies are also suspended (Greek Festival). He wants us to keep in touch via email and discuss questions, etc. (he was never good about returning emails before but that was during Lent and he was probably busy and I was new). He said just keep attending services over the summer, be involved with the community, and in August, we will talk about dates for Chrismation or whatever. So I guess I am a few months from joining the Church.

Which made me very happy. We had not discussed dates yet, and I had no idea "how far along" I was.

But it seems like IMMEDIATELY now there is opposition coming from EVERYwhere. And I have not told these people I am joining the Church. I have people I greatly respect who are very knowledgeable about church history tossing things out there that make me wonder for the first time. Friends who have known me for years grilling me for hours about the church, convinced that I am deceived or under some kind of religious spirit. For the first time I simply didn't wake up and missed the Ascension service I wanted to go to. In just 2 days since Father mentioned joining the Church, it seems like things are falling apart.

I think I need some encouragement. I was so happy two days ago, and now things seem dark, for no good reasons. Sad

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« Reply #1 on: May 30, 2014, 11:04:36 AM »

Stand fast and keep trusting in God. 

A simple rule, with the blessing of your priest, would be St. Pachomius' prayer rule:
http://www.saintjonah.org/services/stpachomius.htm

Maybe omit the 100 Jesus Prayers in the beginning, as you get used to it.  Do it in the morning and evening, maybe even three times a day.  Once memorized, you can pray it at any moment of the day.  Just keep in contact with your priest as he has recommended.

The enemy knows how to get to us in the most painful ways, even using family against you (I know the feeling).  My prayers for you.
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« Reply #2 on: May 30, 2014, 11:11:50 AM »

Stand fast and keep trusting in God.  

A simple rule, with the blessing of your priest, would be St. Pachomius' prayer rule:
http://www.saintjonah.org/services/stpachomius.htm

Maybe omit the 100 Jesus Prayers in the beginning, as you get used to it.  Do it in the morning and evening, maybe even three times a day.  Once memorized, you can pray it at any moment of the day.  Just keep in contact with your priest as he has recommended.

The enemy knows how to get to us in the most painful ways, even using family against you (I know the feeling).  My prayers for you.

Thank you.

Your first sentence brings tears to my eyes, and I don't know why. I have seen the same advice given 100 times to others. Thank you.

This prayer rule seems good to me. It is very similar to what I can recall on my own (except I do not have Ps 50 memorized yet, nor the Creed perfectly) ... but this is very close to what I pray on my own.

Does anyone set an alarm to remind you to pray? Certain times are usual?

Thank you again. Ah, feelings - ought not be so swayed by them! I had four years of a very hard time spiritually, and it was like walking over mountaintops to discover the Orthodox Church just early this year, and it was so good to be in another place. Not sure I'm ready to plunge into depths again. I keep telling myself they ought not to matter.

Thanks for the post, and especially for the prayers. Smiley
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« Reply #3 on: May 30, 2014, 11:18:09 AM »

I pray (usually) when I wake up before getting ready for work and when I get home afterwards.  The discipline of consistency is something I struggle with, but if an alarm works for you (that's the only way I wake up on time! Wink ) by all means, use it.  So for me, it tends to be around 6AM and again around 6 or 7 PM.  On my lunch break I try to pray too.
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« Reply #4 on: May 30, 2014, 11:18:20 AM »

But it seems like IMMEDIATELY now there is opposition coming from EVERYwhere. And I have not told these people I am joining the Church. I have people I greatly respect who are very knowledgeable about church history tossing things out there that make me wonder for the first time. Friends who have known me for years grilling me for hours about the church, convinced that I am deceived or under some kind of religious spirit. For the first time I simply didn't wake up and missed the Ascension service I wanted to go to. In just 2 days since Father mentioned joining the Church, it seems like things are falling apart.
I don't really know your background or your motivations for converting, but a while back I heard a fellow church member say this, and it works. When someone starts grilling you about why you want to be there, respond with a simple, "When it comes down to it, this is where I believe God wants me to be."

That is, of course, assuming you can say that with all honesty. But if you can say it, use it. It speaks to the situation without having to get bogged down in polemics or theology.
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« Reply #5 on: May 30, 2014, 11:49:36 AM »

Are there any specific questions you'd like to address that have put doubts in your mind?

Also, do you own a prayer book of any kind?  It would be helpful in maintaining a daily rule of prayer.

God bless, you will get through this.  Encountering struggles on your path to conversion is normal.
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« Reply #6 on: May 30, 2014, 11:56:24 AM »

But it seems like IMMEDIATELY now there is opposition coming from EVERYwhere. And I have not told these people I am joining the Church. I have people I greatly respect who are very knowledgeable about church history tossing things out there that make me wonder for the first time. Friends who have known me for years grilling me for hours about the church, convinced that I am deceived or under some kind of religious spirit. For the first time I simply didn't wake up and missed the Ascension service I wanted to go to. In just 2 days since Father mentioned joining the Church, it seems like things are falling apart.
I don't really know your background or your motivations for converting, but a while back I heard a fellow church member say this, and it works. When someone starts grilling you about why you want to be there, respond with a simple, "When it comes down to it, this is where I believe God wants me to be."

That is, of course, assuming you can say that with all honesty. But if you can say it, use it. It speaks to the situation without having to get bogged down in polemics or theology.

Thank you.

That is in fact one of my main reasons for being there. Long story short (as possible) I became very dissatisfied with inconsistent and opposing protestant teachings, decided to find "the Truth" and spent a good amount of time (I was bedridden, to good effect - so about 18 hours a day for a couple of months) studying and praying and deciding what sounded authentic. And every time I settled on a "Truth" someone from this strange unknown faith called "Eastern Orthodox" was there saying the same thing (general Christian forum).

At the same time, I felt an incredible draw that I believe was from God to understand "liturgy" ... so I went to first Lutheran, then Anglican, and finally an Orthodox Church.

Somewhere very quickly I got "hooked" ... even though as a Protestant it was a severe culture and theology shock in many ways. (You WORSHIP those pictures??? And pray TO dead people??? This whole too-much-Mary-stuff is CATHOLIC! - sigh, Lord forgive me my prejudices and ignorance!)

But the people embraced me, I felt the sense of sacredness the first time I stepped into a Church, I had a very profound victory over a lifelong struggle that I attributed simply to studying the icons with relics in one Church, the theology (mostly) resonated with truth, and I really believe God led me there.

At first, I meant only to see how the liturgy worked, take the best of the theology, and be on my way (typical Protestant shopping-style) but I found something much deeper, and now I feel that to walk away would be to abandon God Himself.

Not to mention the fact that it's as though I've rediscovered my first love. I was always strongly motivated toward God, but this is something I haven't had since I first started following Him.

I did tell them I thought that was where God wants me. They finally accepted that if it was just for a short time (to learn and take what is good, as I had first planned) that it could be God, but if anything beyond that happens .... so I'm tempted to keep my Chrismation a secret.
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« Reply #7 on: May 30, 2014, 12:03:44 PM »

Are there any specific questions you'd like to address that have put doubts in your mind?

Also, do you own a prayer book of any kind?  It would be helpful in maintaining a daily rule of prayer.

God bless, you will get through this.  Encountering struggles on your path to conversion is normal.

Thank you. I don't have a prayer book, but I read them online. That's another "marriage" issue ... I'm not going to be able to buy a prayer book or certainly not an icon unless I can find a job. Or a used prayer book. I do find a lot online though, and I'm thinking of putting them on cards or something for myself.

And the objections (there were several) but the main one was really so complex, I can't quite understand all the theology in it yet. I'm new to all this, and especially the ECF. But it involves mostly ignoring things said by Augustine? There are also questions of the real history of the filioque, but I am not sure of the theological implications of the filioque - I thought I understood but I had it all wrong - and so as far as I can determine, for me it boils down to the fact that it was added without agreement. Even my Catholic friends are confusing me right now, and I didn't think I'd ever have that issue - they are making good cases for papal primacy and purgatory.

Something feels not right. I never thought these things COULD confuse me in this way, and a week ago, I would not believe I could write a post saying I'd seen a good case for papal primacy and purgatory.
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« Reply #8 on: May 30, 2014, 12:28:21 PM »

Dear Anna,

There are temptations every day.  But you can ask for help with them, and for sure they'll be less of a big deal.   

I think you can keep quiet about your joining the Church, you really don't need to debate it with anyone.  I bet the only person who needs to be on board is your husband and your priest. 

Love, elephant 

 
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« Reply #9 on: May 30, 2014, 01:04:59 PM »

Anna T - as others have said the temptations will come and they can be extremely difficult to deal with. Please, just try to take things one day at a time, pray when you can, continue to participate in the services that you can, and not expect too much of yourself in terms of great spiritual feats.

You've mentioned not being able to to own an icon or a prayer book - as nice and helpful as they are to have, they aren't necessary to have in order to follow God - simply tools that we use to be closer to Him.

Maybe you might find this prayer rule (again, with the advice, consent, and counsel of your priest taking precedent) helpful.

http://www.stjohndc.org/Russian/fathers/FathersE/e_Prayer_Sarov.htm

Lord have mercy.
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« Reply #10 on: May 30, 2014, 01:56:29 PM »

Are there any specific questions you'd like to address that have put doubts in your mind?

Also, do you own a prayer book of any kind?  It would be helpful in maintaining a daily rule of prayer.

God bless, you will get through this.  Encountering struggles on your path to conversion is normal.
Something feels not right. I never thought these things COULD confuse me in this way, and a week ago, I would not believe I could write a post saying I'd seen a good case for papal primacy and purgatory.

There are forums here on those issues. I quoted the primary Catholic text on dogma, Denzinger on Purgatory and Papal Supremacy (not 'primacy', Orthodox believe in Papal primacy, just not supremacy, which Catholics believe in); and I found that Purgatory seems to have developed in the Middle Ages, and that Papal Supremacy cannot be codified from those texts. Usually the Pope only has the power that the Ecumenical Patriarch now has. That is, as first among equals.

But if you are unsure about "the truth" then, you should probably study more and wait more before making a leap.

In any case, I personally cannot accept Roman doctrines on the Papacy (Papal Ecclesiology, Infallibility and Supremacy), the Filioque, Purgatory, Indulgences, and Ecumenism. So, unless someone gave me a convincing explanation of these doctrines I probably won't be convinced of them.

To be a Roman, you have to be absolutely sure of these doctrines, theoretically at least.
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« Reply #11 on: May 30, 2014, 02:28:22 PM »

But it involves mostly ignoring things said by Augustine? There are also questions of the real history of the filioque, but I am not sure of the theological implications of the filioque - I thought I understood but I had it all wrong - and so as far as I can determine, for me it boils down to the fact that it was added without agreement. Even my Catholic friends are confusing me right now, and I didn't think I'd ever have that issue - they are making good cases for papal primacy and purgatory.

It's true that we disagree with some of Blessed Augustine's teaching, but not without good reason.  The parts of his teaching that we reject are those that are at odds with the rest of the Fathers. 

With regards to the filioque: Be wary of those who cite statements of the Fathers saying that "the Spirit proceeds through the Son" to prove this doctrine.  This is not the official teaching of the Roman Catholic Church which states that the Spirit proceeds eternally from the Son.  Through does not equal from, and the Fathers were well aware of this distinction.

However, I would say that the filioque and purgatory are red-herrings in place of the discussion of papal primacy.  Rome can only be the true church if the Pope can be shown to have exercised universal primacy in the early Church.  All of the other issues (the filioque, purgatory, indulgences, infallibility, the immaculate conception, etc.) hinge on his authority as supreme teacher of the faith.

This (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Eastern_Orthodox_opposition_to_papal_supremacy) is a good summary of the historical arguments against the notion of universal papal jurisdiction in the early church.  I know it's wikipedia, but the patristic quotes the arguments come from are authentic.

God bless.
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« Reply #12 on: May 30, 2014, 02:52:33 PM »

A few weeks ago, Fr. M. told me to change my prayer rule. He didn't tell me what to do except to pray more often for shorter times. My "rule" at the time was ten minutes a day - I nearly always prayed longer, and usually more than once - but I wanted to commit and follow through with some minimum. I told him a few times it was hard to just stop what I was doing and make time, and I'd end up doing it at 2am (then pray for 30 minutes instead).

Anyway, I feel kind of stupid now. I have always been able to pray on my own, and wasn't sure why I needed a "rule" ... now I know I need the rule, but all I know is that he wants me to do differently than before and somehow I have not made a new "rule" for myself. So I do pray, but I don't usually get around to deciding which prayer. I pray the ones I have memorized (not many) and just haphazardly - when I wake up, when I remember, if someone asks for prayer. Sometimes I pray long personal prayers. But ... I find I no longer like this haphazard thing. I need the "rule". I just can't seem to make one for myself.

Which I think has weakened me in a way. And that is not good. And may be part of why I have not been here in a few weeks.

I would just ask your priest to give you a rule.  For instance, when he says to pray more often for shorter periods, just ask him what he means by that, how that should be structured, if it should be structured, what to do in the morning and in the evening, etc.  Tell him you've tried to figure it out but it's not going so well, so perhaps he could give you a rule.  At least then you'd have an idea of what he has in mind, and you can tell him if it seems like it's too much.  If you think it's too little, I suspect he might just tell you to work with it for now. 

Quote
But it seems like IMMEDIATELY now there is opposition coming from EVERYwhere. And I have not told these people I am joining the Church. I have people I greatly respect who are very knowledgeable about church history tossing things out there that make me wonder for the first time. Friends who have known me for years grilling me for hours about the church, convinced that I am deceived or under some kind of religious spirit. For the first time I simply didn't wake up and missed the Ascension service I wanted to go to. In just 2 days since Father mentioned joining the Church, it seems like things are falling apart.

I think I need some encouragement. I was so happy two days ago, and now things seem dark, for no good reasons. Sad



I experienced something similar once, but for a different reason.  I took it as an opportunity to really do some soul-searching and make sure that the path I'd set out on was really the one I felt God wanted me to walk.  It was a struggle, and it didn't end until after I'd taken the decisive step. 

Sometimes God allows these things.  I don't know if I want to say he's testing our love for him, but perhaps some of that is involved.  Mostly I think it's a reality check for us, an opportunity for us to test ourselves. 

Pray the Lord's Prayer slowly and deliberately...even meditatively.  It has everything we need.  It has everything you need.
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« Reply #13 on: May 30, 2014, 02:56:31 PM »

Thanks everyone, very much.

I think I am feeling overwhelmed because somehow everything happened at once.

First off, yes, I think it wise and I will calmly consider these things and be sure before proceeding. That has always been my intent before I had a tentative time frame for being received into the Church, or any particular difficulty.

Papal supremacy (thanks for the correction) - I can look back at the argument and see it was some Scriptures in isolation that led to this problem, and it was simply that it came on top of the other issues that it managed to make an impact. I have never seen reason to accept papal supremacy nor infallibility. And I don't now, truth be told. I did read some of the wiki, but really it is as simple to me as the fact that Peter had to be corrected by Paul, Peter was bishop of at least Antioch (and wasn't He also of Alexandria?) before Rome, and when the Apostles went to decide something, they met together and with the guidance of the Holy Spirit, made a decision. No one asked, "Well, what does Peter say?" If this were intended by God, I think it would have been established before Acts was finished? I never thought that doctrine would give me trouble!

Augustine - yes, what came out was so detailed, and would take me months probably to study out. And I greatly respect this person, which made it worse. His Bible history is far more advanced than mine will ever be. And I have respect for Augustine as well. I am probably unable to sort through these issues myself. However, I am aware that the teachings of one of the ECF, when they contradict the others, are disregarded in when they stand alone? I owe this matter my efforts in looking into it, but I will probably find it difficult. I will have to understand a couple of dozen theologies and schools of thought to get through what he said to me.

Purgatory - this one I am having some trouble with, but perhaps the Orthodox have an answer that suits as well or better. I need to ask further on theosis, perhaps. It is simply that I understand that nothing impure can be in the Presence of God. I'm not sure if theosis really addresses this. And the process - is not completed by death? So I am trying to reconcile how one may potentially enter the Presence of God (and I have heard that we may not enter before the judgement, I am not sure) - but how we are prepared to be able to do that? I may be missing something simple.

There, breaking them out is the thing to do. I examined far more things than this when coming into the Church. Somehow it just hit me wrong, along with so much sudden disapproval from others, and the fact that more than anything, I think I need to get back to having a prayer rule.

Thank you all so much - I'm going to try to find these things out, but any advice, direction, or comments much appreciated.

And I do appreciate the prayer rules and advice. I need to email Father and get his advice and blessing.

Thank you all, again. Smiley
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« Reply #14 on: May 30, 2014, 03:02:34 PM »


I would just ask your priest to give you a rule.  For instance, when he says to pray more often for shorter periods, just ask him what he means by that, how that should be structured, if it should be structured, what to do in the morning and in the evening, etc.  Tell him you've tried to figure it out but it's not going so well, so perhaps he could give you a rule.  At least then you'd have an idea of what he has in mind, and you can tell him if it seems like it's too much.  If you think it's too little, I suspect he might just tell you to work with it for now. 

Thank you, Mor. I think I will actually do that. I just feel kind of stupid as though I can't figure out how to pray on my own, or that I will be bothering him when he might be busy for what ought to be a simple thing.

I will just get over it and ask him. I think I may ask him if one of the ones suggested here is ok so that he won't feel obligated to put something together if he is busy.

Quote
I experienced something similar once, but for a different reason.  I took it as an opportunity to really do some soul-searching and make sure that the path I'd set out on was really the one I felt God wanted me to walk.  It was a struggle, and it didn't end until after I'd taken the decisive step. 

Sometimes God allows these things.  I don't know if I want to say he's testing our love for him, but perhaps some of that is involved.  Mostly I think it's a reality check for us, an opportunity for us to test ourselves. 

Well, I won't pretend to know the reason. Things have been easy spiritually for me in many ways, so maybe I need to struggle more. I don't know. Smiley  I had already determined (and have been working on it) to be sure. In fact, I have gone through times of trying to disprove Orthodoxy, not because I expect to, but because I do want to be sure of what I am doing and not simply tossed around by winds. By the time I am Chrismated, God willing, I want to be firmly committed, since it seems what would be necessary. Maybe God is just giving me what I wanted. Wink


Quote
Pray the Lord's Prayer slowly and deliberately...even meditatively.  It has everything we need.  It has everything you need.

Thank you. Yes, I did a deep study on this recently (thank you St. Nikolai Velimrovich!) and I appreciate that good advice.

Thank you again.
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« Reply #15 on: May 30, 2014, 03:04:30 PM »

The thing with St. Augustine is that most of what he says, the Orthodox agree with. There are portions, as with any patristic author, that are not in line with the greater consensus of the Church. The danger that many Roman Catholics and Calvinist style Protestants fall into is they place St. Augustine on a much higher pedestal than the other fathers. I was discussing church history with a Presbyterian and I inquired why they do not place emphasis on the Church Fathers. She responded that they do, they follow Augustine. I inquired about all the others and she was confused about what I mean by "others".

Another thing to remember is that St. Augustine by himself is not necessarily wrong on the vast majority of what he says.  Western Christianity, however, often reads St. Augustine in the light of Anselm of Canterbury whether they are aware of the prejudice or not.  In doing so, their understanding of him veers significantly from the context that the Orthodox Church places him in.
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« Reply #16 on: May 30, 2014, 03:05:51 PM »

Thank you, Mor. I think I will actually do that. I just feel kind of stupid as though I can't figure out how to pray on my own, or that I will be bothering him when he might be busy for what ought to be a simple thing.

Even the apostles needed Christ to teach them to pray.  Wink
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« Reply #17 on: May 30, 2014, 03:29:25 PM »

Thank you, Mor. I think I will actually do that. I just feel kind of stupid as though I can't figure out how to pray on my own, or that I will be bothering him when he might be busy for what ought to be a simple thing.

Even the apostles needed Christ to teach them to pray.  Wink

LOL, thanks Mor! I know there is some kind of pride hidden in my objection and I need to abandon it, and your response is a good one.

Funny thing is when I first came to the Church, I rejected the idea of a "prayer rule". When I first came to faith, I would spend many hours a day in prayer. But I must admit, there is something about those prayers we read, and what they teach us.

Now that I've been without them for a couple of weeks - I simply know how much I really DO need them. That much is clear to me ...
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Let us commit ourselves and one another and our whole life to Christ our God

Lord Jesus Christ, Son of God, have mercy on me, a sinner.
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« Reply #18 on: May 30, 2014, 03:34:59 PM »

The thing with St. Augustine is that most of what he says, the Orthodox agree with. There are portions, as with any patristic author, that are not in line with the greater consensus of the Church. The danger that many Roman Catholics and Calvinist style Protestants fall into is they place St. Augustine on a much higher pedestal than the other fathers. I was discussing church history with a Presbyterian and I inquired why they do not place emphasis on the Church Fathers. She responded that they do, they follow Augustine. I inquired about all the others and she was confused about what I mean by "others".

Another thing to remember is that St. Augustine by himself is not necessarily wrong on the vast majority of what he says.  Western Christianity, however, often reads St. Augustine in the light of Anselm of Canterbury whether they are aware of the prejudice or not.  In doing so, their understanding of him veers significantly from the context that the Orthodox Church places him in.

Thank you. I think that sums it up pretty well. He has expressed a great respect for St. Augustine beyond the other ECF. The funny thing is, it is just those aspects (I think) of the Protestant thinking that led me to really begin to question my faith in the first place. (Calvinistic thought)

It just wasn't reconciling with who I thought I knew God to be, who He seemed to be as revealed by Scripture. I just cannot understand 5-point Calvinism, though I have tried. And if that's what St. Augustine leans toward - I would be in despair if I left the Church and embraced that kind of theology again.

I finally KNOW deeply within myself the good and loving God who really does want to forgive us and restore us. It took a lot of listening to Orthodox teaching to grasp that. And it's now more precious to me than anything else, and I just cannot let it go.

Thank you for the explanation. I just don't have the knowledge to understand all those theologies yet and really understand what he was saying, but it sounded like it cast a lot of doubt on Orthodoxy.

Thank you again.
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Let us commit ourselves and one another and our whole life to Christ our God

Lord Jesus Christ, Son of God, have mercy on me, a sinner.
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« Reply #19 on: May 30, 2014, 04:14:03 PM »

Pray daily ~ Daily prayers with a 30-knot chotki. Not actually saying the prayers from the book but just using Memory to recollect prayer for all purposes.
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« Reply #20 on: May 31, 2014, 06:45:13 PM »

Thanks everyone. Smiley

I'm feeling much better today. I think I have a better handle on things. Ironically I've actually come to a better understanding of some points of Catholicism (though I still must reject their focus), but I am getting these points I needed settled.

I do see better now why they need the doctrine of purgatory. I need a better understanding of theosis (will open a separate thread).

Papal supremacy is no longer a problem. I learned years ago not to be swayed by a few Scriptures taken out of context. It was foolish to let myself forget such a basic lesson.

Working through the rest. This is no different from what things have been like all along. Questions come up. Sometimes I don't understand the answers for a while, but when I finally do, I see that the Church is wise and has good replies.

If I don't find the answer for a while, I think I can still trust that the Church has it. Where else would I go? If the truth is not in the Orthodox Church, then it is nowhere. But I think it is to be found here.

And tomorrow I will be early enough for Matins, God willing. Smiley

Thank you all so much.
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Aγιος ὁ Θεός, Ἅγιος ἰσχυρός, Ἅγιος ἀθάνατος, ἐλέησον ἡμᾶς

Let us commit ourselves and one another and our whole life to Christ our God

Lord Jesus Christ, Son of God, have mercy on me, a sinner.
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« Reply #21 on: June 01, 2014, 09:09:27 PM »

Where else would I go? If the truth is not in the Orthodox Church, then it is nowhere.

John 6:68 - Simon Peter answered him, “Lord, to whom shall we go? You have the words of eternal life”
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« Reply #22 on: June 01, 2014, 10:07:08 PM »

I wouldn't discuss religion with people at this time. It's your life your decision and those who seek to divert you don't live your life. Let nothing hold you back.  Surely someone here has an icon or prayer book they could send you..
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« Reply #23 on: June 02, 2014, 06:48:51 AM »

I wouldn't discuss religion with people at this time. It's your life your decision and those who seek to divert you don't live your life. Let nothing hold you back. 

Maybe I need some more boldness to apply that. It's good advice, but I don't think I'm going to be able to do such a good job at following it. I'm not good at setting boundaries without feeling rude, and if I am concerned with losing people over it, then by not allowing discussion, I am afraid I would be cutting them off.

However ... I've stated my beliefs, my position, my reasons, what I've learned in answer to the questions. The objections are dying down. People are not happy with me, but there is some measure of peace between us at least.

In some ways it has been good for me. To defend why I believe what I believe helps to cement it in my mind as well.

Quote
Surely someone here has an icon or prayer book they could send you..

I am fine, thank you. I went back hoping to edit my previous post, but apparently it's only possible for a limited time?
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Aγιος ὁ Θεός, Ἅγιος ἰσχυρός, Ἅγιος ἀθάνατος, ἐλέησον ἡμᾶς

Let us commit ourselves and one another and our whole life to Christ our God

Lord Jesus Christ, Son of God, have mercy on me, a sinner.
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« Reply #24 on: June 02, 2014, 06:49:52 AM »

Where else would I go? If the truth is not in the Orthodox Church, then it is nowhere.

John 6:68 - Simon Peter answered him, “Lord, to whom shall we go? You have the words of eternal life”

So true. That is exactly how I feel.
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Let us commit ourselves and one another and our whole life to Christ our God

Lord Jesus Christ, Son of God, have mercy on me, a sinner.
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« Reply #25 on: June 02, 2014, 06:53:26 AM »

I wouldn't discuss religion with people at this time. It's your life your decision and those who seek to divert you don't live your life. Let nothing hold you back. 

Maybe I need some more boldness to apply that. It's good advice, but I don't think I'm going to be able to do such a good job at following it. I'm not good at setting boundaries without feeling rude, and if I am concerned with losing people over it, then by not allowing discussion, I am afraid I would be cutting them off.

However ... I've stated my beliefs, my position, my reasons, what I've learned in answer to the questions. The objections are dying down. People are not happy with me, but there is some measure of peace between us at least.

In some ways it has been good for me. To defend why I believe what I believe helps to cement it in my mind as well.

Quote
Surely someone here has an icon or prayer book they could send you..

I am fine, thank you. I went back hoping to edit my previous post, but apparently it's only possible for a limited time?

You can only modify for a limited time.
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« Reply #26 on: June 02, 2014, 04:48:08 PM »

I've seen this happen a lot. The closer you get to being received into the Orthodox Church, the more the devil throws at you to keep you from doing so!

Just stay faithful and pray.

(One thing that I do when questioned or challenged by non-Orthodox is to say, "Wow! This is a huge subject. Tell you what, why don't you tell me what you know about the Orthodox Church and then we can start from there. I'll do my best to answer your questions, but you know, I'm still just learning." Wink)
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« Reply #27 on: June 03, 2014, 03:25:12 AM »

I've seen this happen a lot. The closer you get to being received into the Orthodox Church, the more the devil throws at you to keep you from doing so!

Just stay faithful and pray.

Thank you, Katherine, that is somehow actually very comforting.

I know it may sound strange (and I don't think I mentioned quite all of it here) but it was just overwhelming to have so many things hit me suddenly all at once, and it's like I lost my ability to be objective and reasonable about it. One thing at a time I can handle, but I guess I don't multi-task opposition well. Wink

But this is helpful, and things started getting better right away. I'm almost back in a good place.

Quote
(One thing that I do when questioned or challenged by non-Orthodox is to say, "Wow! This is a huge subject. Tell you what, why don't you tell me what you know about the Orthodox Church and then we can start from there. I'll do my best to answer your questions, but you know, I'm still just learning." Wink)

That might help. I have one friend now who keeps going on. I've tried to get them to tell me what they heard that causes the concerns. I don't get straight answers.

But to be honest, they have moved in their direction, and I have moved in another direction, and we just really don't have a lot of common ground anymore. I want to be kind, and affirm what is good between us, but I find myself holding my tongue a lot about what looks like error to me. I've tried to ask gentle questions and get them to look at things themselves, but it didn't register with them, so I let it go for now. I need to pray for them and be kind, and maybe I will learn from this how to handle these things.

Thanks for your suggestions and encouragement - your post is very helpful. Smiley
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Lord Jesus Christ, Son of God, have mercy on me, a sinner.
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« Reply #28 on: June 03, 2014, 06:12:08 AM »

I need to pray for them and be kind, and maybe I will learn from this how to handle these things.

this is the key, our dear sister!
thanks for reminding all of us to keep doing this too.
 Smiley
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« Reply #29 on: June 03, 2014, 06:52:10 AM »

I have an alarm set for 7:00 pm but that has no significance other than reminding me, if I haven't prayed my rule yet. So good rule of thumb is: The moment you find yourself with nothing to do, go to your room, shut the door, and pray your rule. At any point during the day in which you are not occupied but maybe traveling or unable to be isolated, recite the Lord's Prayer, Jesus Prayers, and quick arrow prayers from the heart. This an amazing thing. I followed St. Pachomius' prayer rule for some time but stopped out of lack of commitment. Pray for me as I attempt to resume it.

Lord, help your daughter, Anna.
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« Reply #30 on: June 03, 2014, 10:38:02 AM »

I need to pray for them and be kind, and maybe I will learn from this how to handle these things.

this is the key, our dear sister!
thanks for reminding all of us to keep doing this too.
 Smiley

You're welcome - and thank YOU! Smiley
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Lord Jesus Christ, Son of God, have mercy on me, a sinner.
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« Reply #31 on: June 03, 2014, 10:44:54 AM »

I have an alarm set for 7:00 pm but that has no significance other than reminding me, if I haven't prayed my rule yet. So good rule of thumb is: The moment you find yourself with nothing to do, go to your room, shut the door, and pray your rule. At any point during the day in which you are not occupied but maybe traveling or unable to be isolated, recite the Lord's Prayer, Jesus Prayers, and quick arrow prayers from the heart. This an amazing thing. I followed St. Pachomius' prayer rule for some time but stopped out of lack of commitment. Pray for me as I attempt to resume it.

Lord, help your daughter, Anna.

That seems a good plan.

Though Father wants me to pray more often he said, and shorter. Honestly I could keep my old "rule" since I usually prayed 2-3 times as long as I committed to anyway, if I shorten it, as well as the extras. I think I see what he means though. To teach me to be more mindful of it and at the same time not avoid because of busy-ness.

I usually listen to podcasts while I'm doing my work, but when they end I pray in the "break time" until I can play another, since my hands are usually busy for a while. That helps too I think.

I think I was praying more than I told him, but it's the one long block that some days causes me a problem, so commitment is more important.

I think I'm talking to myself here, lol.

Thank you again, and I will pray for you. Smiley

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Aγιος ὁ Θεός, Ἅγιος ἰσχυρός, Ἅγιος ἀθάνατος, ἐλέησον ἡμᾶς

Let us commit ourselves and one another and our whole life to Christ our God

Lord Jesus Christ, Son of God, have mercy on me, a sinner.
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