Thanks for the heartfelt response, and congratulations on taking that crucial step!
You say that you had “an experience of the presence of God dwelling in the temple” - could you elaborate on that? I personally have always immediately dismissed emotional responses in myself as subjective and prone to misinterpretation, so it’s hard for me to trust feelings of God’s presence when I do encounter them. Ironically enough, it is the peace that comes from God’s presence alone that must ultimately verify the truth of the Church in one’s life - beyond objective and intellectual reasoning, the one thing Satan cannot emulate is the peace of the Holy Spirit (stole that line, but I think it’s true).
I can empathize with your struggles concerning certain sections of the Vatican II documents and the liturgical changes of the Roman rite. Funnily enough, my first experience of a Roman Catholic mass after years of having not attended one was the Tridentine Rite at St. John Cantius Church in Chicago, IL. If you are familiar with this church, then you know that I was spoiled, haha. I had a crush on a catechumen there, and she brought me to the Tridentine Rite. After that, once I saw what 95% of masses ACTUALLY looked like (Novus Ordo), it was a bit of a letdown.
But again, for me it’s difficult to place too much emphasis on aesthetics. I have been fortunate enough to attend Coptic liturgies at several monasteries in Egypt, and if I had things my way (aesthetically, I mean), that’s where I’d be. The beauty of that liturgy, the hymnography, the iconography, the vestments, the architecture, the iconostasis, the tremendous influence of the Alexandrian Fathers, etc. But obviously, I must accept Chalcedon, and so tragically enough, my personal preference for the Coptic rite is ultimately irrelevant to the question.
So, I bring that frame of mind into the discernment process when comparing Orthodoxy and Catholicism. Sure, I love the Byzantine rite, and I really wish the Tridentine Rite was still the standard in the Roman Catholic Church. But a part of me almost thinks, “look, it’s not about ME it’s about God. And, if the Novus Ordo is the most common rite of the One, Holy, Catholic, and Apostolic Church, who am I to protest? Maybe I’m just too prideful, thinking I’m too good or I’ve read too much theology to attend the Novus Ordo. I need to learn humility.”
Alas, it’s a tough call. I just think there should be something concrete, something firm, something immovable upon which to make this decision. Not my tastes in liturgy, not my dislike of Scholastic theology, not my confusion over the filioque…a firm “rock,” upon which the Church is built - against which the gates of Hell shall never prevail wink, wink
Enough bloviating for now, but if you’d be so kind, could you please share how you came to feel God’s presence in your own journey of faith?
Again, thanks for your response! God bless.