After nearly four and a half years, it appears I must now give up my once seemingly perpetual status as an Orthodox inquirer, coming at Orthodoxy from the outside–though I suppose I can still call myself an Orthodox wannabe. For the time being.
Through the mercies of the man-befriending God, and the blessings of our priest, my family and I have become catechumens in the One, Holy, Catholic and Apostolic Orthodox Church. As it turned out, the blessing came by way of a phone call this afternoon after the Divine Liturgy. Father and Anna had been playing phone tag for something like a week and a half, so we “cornered” him after services. He said he’d give us a call this evening, but as it turned out, he rang up mid-afternoon. He spoke with Anna for several minutes, and said we should now consider ourselves catechumens. But our chrismations, and our daughters’ baptisms, will not take place at Pascha, but sometime later, perhaps Pentecost.
Readers of my blog will know that this has been a long time in coming (and newcomers can catch up here). Given that I have been on the journey to Antioch since before June 2002, I have often been asked “What’s the holdup?” or words to that effect. The simple truth is that I have all along believed my becoming Orthodox was not just an individual matter, but one that necessarily involved my whole family, which I felt–right or wrong–had been a promise given to me in the Divine Liturgy. Implausible as that seemed at first, I nonetheless held to it.
But, as I have remarked before, God knew I needed to spend some time getting to know the Orthodox Church better, and, more importantly, coming to realize that becoming Orthodox wasn’t simply a change of theology, but rather was a putting on of a new way of life. That is to say, God used my wife’s initial reluctance and her own growing interest, satisfaction and attachment to Orthodoxy, to make sure my own conversion would at last begin to move from the head to the heart, from mind to hands and feet.
As serious as I have been about Orthodoxy and my journey to it, I now find myself in a new place with regard to the Orthodox Church. There is a real and deep change that has to take place, and it is only just now dawning on me that though real changes have occurred in my mind and heart these past several years, their superficiality over against a truly Orthodox life is utterly manifest.
More to the point, I have come to realize just how little I know how to live an Orthodox life. I can pretend to talk some smack in the doctrinal game, but I am a bumbling ignoramus when it comes to being an Orthodox father and husband. I am not yet birthed, and utterly dependent upon the Church for instruction, aid, and indeed, even faith, in this Orthodox life. Lord, be merciful to me a sinner.
That said, I would appreciate your prayers for me and my family in these coming months.