12 Things I Wish I'd Known as a Convert

Download 12 Things I Wish I'd Known as a Convert

Post on 02-Jun-2018

216 views

Category:

Documents

0 download

Embed Size (px)

TRANSCRIPT

  • 8/11/2019 12 Things I Wish I'd Known as a Convert

    1/12

    1 7 J A N U A R Y 2 0 0 7

    12 Things I Wish I'd Known as a Convert

    Guidelines for Conversion to the Orthodox Faith

    1. Take a Long Time; or, Slow and Steady Wins the Race (cf. 1 Cor 9

    St. Basil the Great mandated a 3 year catechumenate prior to Baptism, and this at a timewhen people had an inner life and faith in either God or gods. This should be consideredthe rule, even if it is relaxed to 2 years. The life of an rthodox !hristian is a race" amarathon, not a sprint.

    !onversion is li#e rehab. $ou can%t s#ip to Step &2. Ta#e your time and do it right, step bystep.

    'owever, remember that while you need to ta#e your time, it is also %later than you thin#%.(on%t let patience become an excuse for sloth and light)mindedness. *ove at a pace thatis +ust a little bit uncomfortable for you whether more-less slowly or more-less uic#ly,depends on the person. / have a proclivity to 0ealotry, so / needed to slow down. The &1)year, veteran catechumen could probably pic# up the pace. God%s time is not our time.

    !. Catech"mens Learn.

    !atechumens are fer learnin%, and learning the rthodox faith ta#es many forms ) all ormost of which you should be using"

    ) a private prayer rule morning and evening, minimally ,) fasting to some degree according to the canons, per your confessor, not +ust fromchocolate or ice cream ,) public prayer Sunday morning, the Great 4easts, a few extra during the wee#, 5ent,'oly 6ee#, as you can ,) reading everything with a grain of salt, not one author over all others, per your priest ,) the Beatitudes practice *atthew 7 be a nice, good, honest, patient person, i.e., a!hristian ,) give alms give to the church and charities +ust a little beyond what you feel comfortablewith .

    8s# your parish priest-confessor what the right amount of each is for you" do no moreand no less than what he gives you. /f you want more, or are unable to do what he%s givenyou, tell him.

    (on%t lower the bar to ma#e yourself feel better. 9ot being able to fulfill your rule is agood way to learn humility and how spiritually wea# you are. This is why the canons arealways the canons, it is only out of pastoral condescension economia that you may beallowed leniency the exception is never the rule.

    http://orrologion.blogspot.com/2007/01/guidelines-for-conversion.htmlhttp://orrologion.blogspot.com/2007/01/guidelines-for-conversion.html
  • 8/11/2019 12 Things I Wish I'd Known as a Convert

    2/12

    #. $fter yo"r %a&tism'Chrismation, $dd Reg"lar Confession and Comm"nion toThing !.

    ). The *rass is +e er *reener; or, +e er -now Too any /riests.

    Stay put. Stability is not +ust for mon#s. Stay put in your +urisdiction, in your parish, withyour confessor, with your wife-husband, in your profession and +ob, in your city exceptfor real cause. Tal# over any changes you thin# you might ma#e with your wife-husband,

    parents, and priest and get their advice.

    /f your parish priest does not give you some guidelines i.e., catechi0es you regarding prayer, fasting, the Sacraments, etc. on his own, as# for some. /f he still doesn%t give youany, you may choose another parish. $ou may ma#e one move only, so ma#e it count. /fyou start +umping around now, you%ll never stop until you +ump yourself right out of

    rthodoxy, religion and-or sanity altogether.

    /n general, God gave you the priest and the parish you need. ther parishes and priestsare good, too, but those parishes and priests are for other people. $our parish and your

    priest is right here. 6ith your priest%s blessing you can go to a monastery for a visit, onemonastery and perhaps one convent ) no more.

    bviously, there are situations that may re uire you to move for family reasons, wor#,due to natural disasters, etc. (o so. 8s a layman, to ta#e the need for stability too literallyand too dogmatically as a rule for all seasons is proof one is in need of learning thefollowing, fifth Thing"

    0. on2t 3e a Weirdo.

    $ou +ust converted. $ou%re neither a saint, a great ascetic nor a wise theologian you probably aren%t even mee#, loving, patient, #ind or long)suffering. $ou are a deluded idiotif you thin# you might be. Go to confession.

    Those who grow long hair and a beard, start dressing li#e a babush#a or a peasant, ta#e% rthodox names% li#e Gleb, :anagiotis, Theophano, (espina or Barsanuphius instead ofthe ;ohn, *ichael, *argaret or 8nn on their birth certificates are more li#ely to leave

    rthodoxy. /f your parents gave you a name at birth which also happens to be a saint%sname, then that is your patron saint, he-she prayed you into the rthodox !hurch and thatis your %saint%s name% ) #eep it when you become rthodox out of gratitude. The rthodox!hurch is not an an

  • 8/11/2019 12 Things I Wish I'd Known as a Convert

    3/12

    science. See movies, go out to eat, have a girlfriend-boyfriend, en+oy your wife-husband,friends and #ids, have hobbies, go to museums and the par#, go to the gym and-or play asport.

    4. +e er ind Them.

    This is my version of the =ussian proverb, >(on%t ta#e your Typi#on rule to anothermonastery>. 8 similar, practical tip is >?eep your eyes on your own plate>. 8s the lateconvert and schemahieromon# 4r. Seraphim =ose said regarding fasting" read ingredientslabels for yourself, but not for your neighbor.

    Something similar can be said regarding the whole of rthodox life.

    rthodox !hristians in 8merica come from widely different bac#grounds, and there areenough variations in the application of Tradition that you are bound to run into what you%+udge% as inconsistencies. /f this is true in ld 6orld countries with centuries of !hristian

    history which it is , it is even more true for rthodox immigrants and converts trying tocreate an rthodox life in what has often been un) rthodox and-or un)!hristiancircumstances here in the @S.

    5isten to your priest in your parish and do what he says you should do. 8t the end of theday, the rule for all of us is >(on%t ever sin. :ractice all the virtues. :ray every moment of every day.>

  • 8/11/2019 12 Things I Wish I'd Known as a Convert

    4/12

    The immature, ungrounded faith of a new convert uic#ly turns the priesthood, diaconateand monasticism into +ust a +ob ) or worse, a costumed pose.

    /f you are or were a minister in another church body, do not expect to be ordained and donot ma#e this a condition of your conversion. /f you believe the rthodox !hurch is the

    !hurch, then you will +oin 'er. /f you believe the rthodox !hurch is the !hurch then donot convert because you want or need to be a priest-minister, are only trained to be a priest-minister as a profession and don%t #now how you%ll pay the bills if you aren%t.!onvert. /f God needs you, 'e is perfectly capable of getting you ordained. @ntil then,get a +ob. /f 'e doesn%t need you to serve at the altar, 'e%ll help you get a regular +ob li#ethe rest of us. :eople get +obs every single day. *ost people don%t %use% theirundergraduate or graduate degrees, anyway, so the fact that you have an *(iv or Th( isno excuse for not converting. / have a B48 in 8cting and wor# as a corporate consultantalong with a host of others that are over) or wrongly)educated. 6hat%s so special aboutyou 6e all share our own particular versions of the fear, pride, love of things and lac# of faith. !ome to thin# of it, ;esus and the disciples must have had a good chuc#le about the

    lilies of the field and the birds of the air it%s +ust so unrealistic.C ften related to this is the idea excuse that because your husband, wife and-or childrenwill not convert and you %can%t lead them spiritually% or %commune with them%, then youcannot will not won%t convert. 8s# yourself whether you really believe that the

    rthodox !hurch is the !hurch, the 8r# of Salvation outside of which there is nosalvation whether you thin# you #now better than God and thin# :aul was only +o#ingaround in & !orinthians D why you don%t believe that your own conversion and exampleas an rthodox !hristian isn%t the way God is trying to save your family bringing theminto true communion with 'is Body (o you love your family and the world more thanGod :erhaps ;esus was also +o#ing around in *atthew &1"3D.E

    8. +o ne has essed 6o"r Life "& ore Than 6o"; or, +o ne Cares What 6o"Think.

    The common denominator in all the bad, sinful and painful situations in your life is you.$ou wouldn%t buy a used car with as bad a record as you, you wouldn%t vote for a

    politician with as bad a record of choices and accomplishments as you, so if when youfind yourself saying, >/ thin#...> #now you are wrong and chec# with someone else beforecontinuing.

    9o one cares what you thin#, and neither should you.

    9. on2t /lay :o"se.

    /f you are single, during the A months to a year after converting to rthodoxy do not datethat cute boy-girl in the parish, do not date every cute or semi)cute boy-girl in the parish,do not get into a serious relationship. These relationships are nothing more than %playinghouse%. $ou are riding the emotional wave of a new and exciting experience and we, asciti0ens of an overly sexuali0ed and spiritually atrophied culture ta#e this as romance,

  • 8/11/2019 12 Things I Wish I'd Known as a Convert

    5/12

    %love%, etc. Getting into a relationship at this point in the conversion process is li#e havingsex outside of marriage ) it%s fa#e. $ou will almost assuredly not stay together. $ou willthen be tempted to leave the parish or rthodoxy because you feel uncomfortable seeingthem every Sunday, Great 4east, etc. $ou will also have ruined the possibility of a realrelationship with that person at some point in the future once you are prepared for it.

    n the upshot, if you disregard this rule and stay in the !hurch, you will have theopportunity to lament and repent of the silliness and sins you committed with that person.$ou will also be able to repent of the sins you led that person into during your %passionate%and li#ely sinful romance.

    :reserve the virginity you %get bac#% in Baptism. The canons say a man must be a virgin,or he must be only once married as the virginal husband of a virgin to be ordained. Thechurch may need you #eep yourself. There is no %boys will be boys% canon in the

    rthodox !hurch.

    /f you are married when you convert, stay as you are as the 8postle commands. (on%t gettoo far ahead of the spouse you married before your conversion. =emember, it%s you whoare the rthodox !hristian not him-her you are the one fasting, not him-her. Be a good,loving, patient, #ind rthodox !hristian and perhaps your spouse will convert act li#e a

    +er# and you will be responsible for their remaining outside of the !hurch. /n fact, if youare an rthodox !hristian and your spouse is not, then it is your fault not his-hers ) sodon%t point fingers.

    10. on2t Look %ack; on2t Look %ack in $nger.

    $our reception into the rthodox !hurch is a mystical marriage" don%t cheat on your wife.

    (o not go bac# to the church you grew up in or later +oined. (o not be li#e 5ot%s wife inthe ld Testament who loo#ed bac# at her life in Sodom after she was saved. (o notreceive the sacraments in other churches.

    $ou cannot hate what brought you to the !hurch or you will hate yourself right out of the!hurch. !onvert to rthodoxy, do not convert from something else. Be than#ful for allthe good you had, and for the fullness of good you have found. 5eave the criti ue andanalysis of %heterodox% churches to others ) your supposed expertise is not needed andoffering your two cents will do nothing but hurt you.

    11. Who $sked 6o"

    nly after 3 years may you consider sharing your conversion story in a public way, andthen only if someone as#s you for it. Get permission from your priest first. There isnothing especially special about your conversion except that it happened to you. There isnothing more special about you and your conversion story that isn%t special aboutsomeone else%s. God brought you to the !hurch without your conversion story, 'e can

    bring others to the !hurch without your conversion story, too. /t%s one thing to have an

  • 8/11/2019 12 Things I Wish I'd Known as a Convert

    6/12

    answer regarding the hope you have and how you got where you are, it%s another thing tohave an answer to the uestion unas#ed.

    1!. Con ert Witho"t Ceasing.

    !onverts, !radle rthodox and %=etreads% have to choose to be rthodox !hristians everymoment, every day. :riests choose to be priests every day, mon#s choose monasticismevery day. These are conversions. !hoose to pray in the morning and evening, choose tofast, choose to be #ind and loving and patient, choose to return good for evil, choose toattend services, choose to be diligent at wor#, choose to be a good and lovinghusband-wife, mother-father, sibling-child. !onvert ceaselessly.

  • 8/11/2019 12 Things I Wish I'd Known as a Convert

    7/12

    12 lucruri pe care mi-ar fi placut sa le stiu cand m-amconvertit

    Cateva sfaturi pentru cei care se convertesc la credinta ortodoxa

    1.

  • 8/11/2019 12 Things I Wish I'd Known as a Convert

    8/12

    #. $fter yo"r %a&tism'Chrismation, $dd Reg"lar Confession and Comm"nion toThing !.

    ). The *rass is +e er *reener; or, +e er -now Too any /riests.

    Stay put. Stability is not +ust for mon#s. Stay put in your +urisdiction, in your parish, withyour confessor, with your wife-husband, in your profession and +ob, in your city exceptfor real cause. Tal# over any changes you thin# you might ma#e with your wife-husband,

    parents, and priest and get their advice.

    /f your parish priest does not give you some guidelines i.e., catechi0es you regarding prayer, fasting, the Sacraments, etc. on his own, as# for some. /f he still doesn%t give youany, you may choose another parish. $ou may ma#e one move only, so ma#e it count. /fyou start +umping around now, you%ll never stop until you +ump yourself right out of

    rthodoxy, religion and-or sanity altogether.

    /n general, God gave you the priest and the parish you need. ther parishes and priestsare good, too, but those parishes and priests are for other people. $our parish and your

    priest is right here. 6ith your priest%s blessing you can go to a monastery for a visit, onemonastery and perhaps one convent ) no more.

    bviously, there are situations that may re uire you to move for family reasons, wor#,due to natural disasters, etc. (o so. 8s a layman, to ta#e the need for stability too literallyand too dogmatically as a rule for all seasons is proof one is in need of learning thefollowing, fifth Thing"

    0. on2t 3e a Weirdo.

    $ou +ust converted. $ou%re neither a saint, a great ascetic nor a wise theologian you probably aren%t even mee#, loving, patient, #ind or long)suffering. $ou are a deluded idiotif you thin# you might be. Go to confession.

    Those who grow long hair and a beard, start dressing li#e a babush#a or a peasant, ta#e% rthodox names% li#e Gleb, :anagiotis, Theophano, (espina or Barsanuphius instead ofthe ;ohn, *ichael, *argaret or 8nn on their birth certificates are more li#ely to leave

    rthodoxy. /f your parents gave you a name at birth which also happens to be a saint%sname, then tha...