Monday, November 24, 2008

Chrismated Yesterday/ "Am I Expecting?"

For over a year, this is what I kept asking Orthodox Christians: "What is different?" For obviously, holiness and grace are found everywhere in many different kinds of people.

So now I've been chrismated for just under 24 hrs., and what I'm experiencing reminds me of when I registered positive for pregnancy tests oh so many years ago--I would think about the test results, and then ask myself, "Well, do I feel any different?"

I think things might in fact be subtly different, but it's easy to delude oneself in various ways, and anyhow, I just want to quit thinking about it and instead, focus on God and other people, and what's at hand, and leave that question to God so as to let Him surprise me or not as He sees fit.

"The kingdom of God cometh not with observation; neither shall they say, Lo here! or, Lo there! For behold, the kingdom of God is within you. (Luke 17:20-21) "This manner of life we have within us, that is to say, we have it within us when we desire and will it. We do not need to wait a long time, or until our departure from this life; instead, faith and a God-pleasing life which accompanies faith are very near us. " Blessed Theophylact (+c. 1108)

In terms of shock and awe (in a good way, I mean), what really astounded me was how my priest drove many miles to the service despite a newly broken arm and apparently some really awful stomach kind of flu. He was there for just that part of the service, and then went home and the other priests did the rest of the service. What a shepherd!

11 comments:

Fr. Gregory Hogg said...

Welcome to the Church--God grant you many years!

Anastasia Theodoridis said...

Many, many years to you, and a good struggle!

Yes, keeping your eyes on God is the thing to do.

Are there any photos to share?

orrologion said...

Congratulations!

Right after my baptism, my godfather wrote me something to the effect of: "the greatest temptation of the devil is to suggest that it meant nothing and nothing has changed".

A schemamonk I know also asked that I pray for him especially in these days immediately after my baptism as my prayer would be especially efficacious. The sense was that I was never going to be as holy and effective in prayer as I would be then. He was right. Please pray for Christopher, Melanie and Jasper - and all of your own loved ones (and enemies).

Anonymous God-blogger said...

Dear Anastasia,

When I get photos, I will send them digitally to your email address--thank you very much for asking and for your good thoughts!

Dear Fr. Gregory Hogg,

Thank you! Still a little stunned!

Dear Orrologion,

Thank you! And somebody told me that yesterday--about the prayer thing. I will pray for them. But why is this so? And why doeesn't it continue to be so?

orrologion said...

The reason is to be found in James 5:16: "The effectual fervent prayer of a righteous man availeth much."

This is echoed in the Sixth Hour: "Seeing that we have no boldness, because of the multitude of our sins, do you, O Virgin Theotokos, fervently entreat him who was born of you; for theprayer of a mother avails much to the good will of the Master. Despise not the supplications of sinners, O all-revered one; for merciful and mighty to save is He who graciously willed to suffer for us."

We are not all equal in prayer because of our sins, and because of our lack of virtue. Immediately following baptism, chrismation, communion, etc. we are especially free of sin and have been united to God without yet having a chance to muss up our garment. So, prayer is 'more efficacious'.

Anonymous God-blogger said...

Orrologion,

Hmmm...that doesn't make sense to me. When I sin, it's because there is something in me that is yet not rooted up, and some temptation triggers it (mixing metaphors--sorry!). All that stuff doesn't suddenly disappear after chrismation and then start reappearing out of the blue, right? It's always there, waiting to be worked on?

Or not?

orrologion said...

I would say that the tendency toward that sin is there, a weakness for it, but it is only when we begin 'talking with' the thought/temptation, accepting it and acting on it that it becomes sin - according to the progression of sin by the Fathers. A passion is a sin that we no longer have any control over, a sin that controls us.

Baptism and chrismation begin the process of rooting those out and for the time following our reception of the sacraments we are 'clear' of these and have received grace to battle them. As to how long this special time lasts, well, with me it was probably very short, but I am confident you are a better Christian than I.

Anonymous God-blogger said...

Thank you. I will have to think about that.

Haha! I bumble along like everybody!

Roland said...

Congratulations! I'd like to see the photos too.

Anonymous God-blogger said...

Thank you, Roland. I will send them when I get them! Happy Thanksgiving travels!

Gordy Thomas said...

I think the key is in what the priest has to say about those chrysmated: they are called "newly illumined". This is not a feeling or even a greater capacity to be Christ-like. The capacity has always been there. It is this new paradigm of being one with The Body, one with Christ, through the power of The Holy Spirit. Again, I THINK, that being illumined and acting from illumination are two different things. Prior to chrysmation, we (especially adult converts) have been motivated by and processed within the old paradigm. As has been said, the lie of the deceiver would be that nothing is different because nothing feels differently. It is in the stepping forth, day by day, as one with an illumined mind that we begin to sense the true change which has taken place; when we begin to make choices we never before would have conceived.