The Healy’s had their first house blessing last night. We kept the girls up past their normal bedtimes so they could take part in it. I wasn’t sure exactly what to expect, and neither was Anna. In fact, when Anna asked Father Patrick what would be going on, he replied that if he tried to explain it to her it would end up being insulting. It would be like trying to explain breakfast. She would know well enough what was going on.
Anna picked me up from work and we decided to splurge and eat out so as to reduce the clean up (of dishes and daughters) necessary prior to Father’s arrival. On the way home from the restaurant, we told Sofie that Father Patrick was coming over. She squealed with delight, “Fadder Padig coming home!” A few moments later she made a comment about our “go to Church.” To which we replied, that tonight the Church was coming to us.
When Father rang, I buzzed him in and Sofie and I opened the front door. She hollered down to him, “Hi, Fadder Padig!” Poor Father Patrick had to climb our three flights of stairs, and I felt like apologizing to him when he walked through the doorway. But he exercises daily on the treadmill, so it was not overly taxing for him.
After a few pleasantries, we gathered together in front of the icon “corner” (the mantle of our faux fireplace on the east wall), and the prayers began. Father was right. It was a very simple service. We prayed a litany, Father invoked the angelic hosts, led by St. Michael the Archangel, to our aid against all the hosts of darkness, and we were sprinkled with holy water and then processed through our entire apartment which was liberally sprinkled (doused rather!) with holy water. Father all the while prayed the psalms. We ended again before the icons and all venerated the cross.
Afterwards we stayed up late with Father Patrick having a most pleasant and enlightening conversation. Anna asked some “hard” questions about prayers for the dead, why non-Orthodox cannot take communion, and the baptism of infants. Being the brilliant woman that she is, she quickly grasped the rationale for each. She also spoke in terms of “when we become Orthodox,” which was very heartening for me to hear. Having expressed my own pleasure at such an expression, let me hasten on to make sure I do not miscommunicate about her own relationship to Orthodoxy and her own inquiry. I do not want to give an impression that I am overdescribing my wife’s place in her journey beyond her growing interest in Orthodoxy. She is on her own journey, and I must as her husband respectfully and patiently love her as she travels. When and if she becomes Orthodox will be her own decision. It is for me simply to love her no matter what she decides when she decides it.
May the Lord shower his grace on us in this coming year.