Maronite Brainstorming

Many of the writers in the Philokalia are pre-schism authors. And some, like Evagrius and John Cassian, have had a major influence on Roman Catholic spirituality throughout the ages.

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Mediteranean and middle eastern hospitality is amazing to start with. The Lebanese take it to a whole new level.

Go; you’ll be greeted warmly with welcome arms!

We don’t worry about these at my byzantine parish. We know that they’ll be gone in a couple of weeks. They tend to be shocked when we don’t accept their statements that we’re all “fleeing the Novus Ordo.”

We do manage to draw in a significant percentage of those that visit out of curiosity, rather than as refugees.

And then there the accidental visitors.

We’re the closest Catholic parish to the airport, and I think we average about one a week. We greet folks, and most stay. Occasionally, we give them the directions to the nearest RC parish and even look up the Mass times for them.

But in that thread, can we hit them over the head with candlesticks? (with apologies to Giovannino Guareschi)

The Melkites use strips cut from the loaf, with the priest holding one end while intincting the other.

I think the Maronites instinct a Latin-style host, but it’s ben a while, and I don’t remember for sure.

The rest of the byzantines, Orthodox and Catholic, drop both species by spoon (and of course it’s gold, just like the other vessels!), and have done so since the third century.

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I’m almost positive that one of the Eastern Catholic Churches uses tongs for Holy Communion (c.f. Isaiah 6). I’m racking my poor brain and can’t remember which one :confounded:.

I’m pretty sure the Maronite church I went to distributed some type of host or bread on the tongue, with no implement.
The Byzantine church used the spoon.

Think no longer and gain certainty. That’s exactly what we do.

I’ve even heard rumors of a Communion straw!

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Yes. Middle-Eastern hospitality is famous. You might not feel like you fit in, but you will be welcomed.

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IIRC, a few years ago when the traveling Vatican exhibits were going through the U.S., a friend and I went to see it. Among other things, there was a golden straw which was used by the Pope (I forget which one but it was centuries ago) for Mass.

I hope they use a spoon…


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Yes, the Philokalia bridges the Great Schism…

It is breath-taking…


Sadly, I’ve only read the first two volumes. Then I gave my set to a friend of mine who is a Benedictine monk. I’m slowly reacquiring the volumes (I have volume 1 right now).

I hope what I said didn’t come off as disrespectful. I see how it could and that’s my mistake.

I have to say the East is beginning to fascinate me more and more. The theology is so different and fascinating.

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I remember going to the Greek Orthodox Church down the road when I was a kid for their fest with the crafts, food, I’m pretty sure games and amusements, it was a lot of fun. It didn’t hurt that there were a bunch of cute Greek girls there as well.

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Getting back on topic, one thing I emphasis I think the East has to offer that is often under-emphasized in the West, is a more poetic and paradoxical approach to the Faith. The West’s approach tends to emphasize theology as almost a branch of philosophy (albeit the “queen of the sciences”), whereas in the East, theology has its roots in prayer - both the prayer of the Church through Her liturgical life, and the prayer of the individual. I heard one theologian once say that you’ll rarely find a Roman Catholic theologian who quotes the liturgy. But in the East the liturgy is really foundational for our theological approach.

The West also has more of a logical approach to the Faith. They’re very good at providing a logical argument for why Faith is reasonable. This is good and much-need, but for me it falls short because I’m not a Vulcan. As human persons, we need the Faith to speak to us on an emotional level as much as on a reasonable level. That’s why, I believe, the poetic approach to the Faith that we encounter in the East can be so attractive to others.



This thread is really good. As a cradle Catholic and having gone through both Catholic grade school and high school, I never even knew the Eastern Catholic Churches EXISTED until a few years ago. I think this is a huge fault of the larger Roman Catholic Church to teach about ALL of the Churches that are in communion with the Pope. To a degree, I feel a bit cheated to not have known about the other traditions in our Church, because if I did, I would have been in an Eastern Rite Church a long time ago.

I guess in a way, Eastern Catholics may have the most success in evangelizing (not sure if that is the right word, perhaps it’s more of educating?) Latin Rite Catholics who a) don’t know they exist or know very little about them, b) who are not fulfilled by the Ordinary form Mass but still find the Tridentine Mass too cold and unitelligible and c) who (I’d say this is my category) are more aligned with the spirituality and theological emphasis of the Eastern Churches compared to the West. Presence in these forums is a good start. Social media in these days, even just general conversation with fellow Catholics.


For those reasons I’m sure there will always be some curious Romans who look East. To truly expand the great commission I feel that those liturgical traditions which have many Arabic native speakers are uniquely situated to evangelize Muslims. Since there are now more Muslims than Catholics, this has become urgent. That is of course immensely challenging for complex political and historical reasons; but, if Jesus wants his church to grow, that seems to be a ripe field for sowing the gospel. Language is powerful, and Islam especially reveres Arabic; but they do not have a monopoly on the worship of Allah.

I agree with a lot of your points here. On the one hand, the Western Thomistic / scholastic approach has been instrumental in apologetics and in speaking to the modern world about how to rationally view the existence of God, the origins of creation, and the reasons for Catholic positions on abortion and marriage, for example. It provides a framework for rationalizing decisions in the Church, and why or why not certain theological proposals can be approved by having an almost scientifically rigorous process with which to subject them.

But, the over-emphasis of Aquinas, and even too much of the “faith and reason” approach - at least to me - fails in ultimately inspiring a deeper and more mystical prayer life. Over-scholasticism can make the faith more of an academic and intellectual process and investigation than a true spiritual journey. I think this is a major difference, in that the Eastern Churches seem to cultivate a sense of journey towards God, a progress through the spiritual life borne out of love for God and fellow man more than the Latin Rite does. I am oversimplifying a lot here, I know.

I also think that the Latin Rite emphasizes the Passion and Death of Christ while the East more so emphasizes the Resurrection. These differences seem to play into each side’s theological personality quite clearly, at least to me. The West’s emphasis on the Passion imbues the believer with the sense that “I am not worthy of the Lord’s sacrifice; therefore I need to be obedient to the Church’s teachings to make myself worthy.” Whereas the East’s emphasis on the Resurrection encourages more joyful desire of wanting to make oneself draw closer to the Resurrected Christ. I realize my thoughts here are not all-encompassing, but I think the Eastern Churches promote a more joyful and mystical spirituality than the West.


This brings up a good point. The reason that some of our Eastern Liturgies are in Arabic is because the East has a long-standing tradition of liturgy in the vernacular. This is a practice that the West, at Vatican II, decided to opt for as well.

I think a big part of the reason our liturgies ought to be in the vernacular is because of the catechetical nature of our liturgical services. The East teaches through the hymns and poetry of the Liturgy.

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I’m just passing by, but great topic, and God bless your efforts!

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Volume 1 resurfaced for me just this week, and I made the mistake of turning to page 251 and began reading the 100 texts on Spiritual Knowledge and Discrimination… The intro does not mislead when it says that he is a very subtle writer and not easy to grasp - Downright slippery… He is writing from personal memory descriptively, so his only mistakes will be ones of memory, and I don’t think his memory is at all deficient… My Goodness! I had to put it down… It is just too wonderful…


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