While this article was written particulary to Orthodox by an Orthodox priest-monk–now the Metropolitan of the Orthodox Church in America–it’s something that all who strive for traditionalism to read, take to heart, and can apply to themselves, especially his admonitions about concern with “Church issues.”
Great post, thanks for the article, I will be printing this one out.
It is a shame though, those who could profit most from it will not see themselves in this, that is part of the issue I believe.
Some may even view this as an attack.
Oh wow, that article should be a sticky on top of this forum. Devastatingly true for traditionalist catholics as well as eastern orthodox.
Very good article. I’ve encountered a lot of what this article is talking about over the years. When someone is thinking about converting, in the process of converting, and has recently converted, they may want to learn as much as they can about what they are joining. The saints and other great writers who wrote about their religious tradition wrote about what they personally experienced- internally- more than the externals. Converts often read those things, and expect to experience externally what the writers experienced internally, and they are disappointed.
Yup. Unfortunately all too true.
It does get a message across. In all fairness, it does have a few prejudices built in, my personal favorite being:
The priestmonk may appear to be more “spiritual” because he is in church for six or eight hours a day, and has few other responsibilities. Try to do that with a family, and dozens or hundreds of parishioners to serve!
Well, us Latins do have opinions on that matter!
Yes, I am sure we have met a Bill. But what is important is that we not adopt an adversarial attitude to him. Just like how we witness to people not part of the Church, through our actions, works, and words, we have to help him along in understanding that faith is not just ritual and worship rubrics.
They serve an important purpose but can be misused like any good thing. Performing charity in a humble manner as a matter of course, particularly in this broken world, is so vital.
It is also important that we avoid the temptation of clinging to some hyper-‘orthodox’ spiritual seer. If we do so, we start to act like the Protestants (lacking obedience) and even pagan groups (following some self-styled guru will impede Christ living in us).
What else is a fair point is that people with families, normal jobs, and day-to-day concerns can’t be expected to be up on the third order feast day. Similarly, it is unfair to guilt people into locking themselves into a room to pray for over an hour because if they do not they would be ‘too concerned with their worldly endeavors’ (i.e., trying to not get fired and raise multiple children). Little note: don’t take this to mean I’m against the Rosary. That really is 15 minutes we should set aside and can be said driving to work or waiting for the water to boil. Takes discipline, but this can and should be done!]
With that said, I think that Traditionalists are too often characterized as legalistic oddballs who obsess about minute details.
The vast majority of Traditionalists lament the modernistic style of many within the Church today and firmly believe that the decline in morals is directly caused by the decline in seriousness, reverence, and solemn atmosphere of worship. They just want to give to God a few minutes of perfect respect, thanks, and seek forgiveness. Remember in the book of Tobit that before enjoying marriage, Tobiat and his wife prayed. I bet that sounds a little weird (it does to me!) Sometimes we have to go little further in meeting the minimal to get that grace we need in this very weird modern world.
Perhaps a way to look at it is through this example. I used to go to daily mass; now I do not because I moved and because of work. Theoretically I could still go, tack on a couple hours in the morning, and be burnt out before work has begun. Or I can equitably judge what my vocation requires of me. (My pastor understood I was not ‘ditching class’ but simply had some overriding life changes)
I will close by saying that I think it is very important for us traditionals/orthodox to really get involved in parish life. Homeless and hungry relief, pro-life activities, and parish councils are there for us to show that our faith is not just sit-stand-sit-Latin-stand
KingTheoden: Latins certainly may have an opinion, but as the OP pointed out, this is written from an Orthodox perspective, with Orthodox Christians in mind (not Latin or other Catholics).
With that said, I think if I am honest with myself I must admit that I have at least been very tempted to be “Vasili” (what is the Latin equivalent of this? Basilius? No one names themselves that anymore!). It is indeed so very tempting to see things as better than what you have now, and what’s more deceptively easy when you’re a visitor.
Anyway, great article. Thanks for sharing it, bpbasilphx.
Thanks a lot for this wonderful, interesting article! Indeed, we can fall into these illusions… We have to be careful.