Not the Liturgys Fault

I believe you’d be wise to get some distance on your emotions. We’re to have cool heads and warm hearts, not hot heads and cold hearts. Not that you’re very close to running the latter risk—your evident compassion seems proof against a low cardiac temperature—but your mental apparatus does appear close to boiling! So let’s stop and give this some calming thought. If an esoterist knows anything, it’s that not everyone is an esoterist. Most people need propositional boundaries, and it’s in the very nature of things that every religion thinks its boundaries the best. True, vilifying other paths is stupid, but it’s surely not the first time you’ve encountered people who don’t know what they’re talking about.

In any case one goes to Church—as I’ve pointed out many times before—not to enter into an ecumenical dialogue or to promulgate the virtues of metaphysics, but simply and solely to participate in the Holy Mysteries, and the Church in its wisdom decided centuries ago that the validity and efficacy of those Mysteries do not depend on the intelligence, and certainly not on the open-mindedness, of a given priest. Forgive me for being blunt, but yes: you were definitely “in error” in walking out of a Divine Liturgy. It’s not the poor Liturgy’s fault, after all, if the homilist says something silly. And frankly, being “broken hearted” or feeling the need to “weep” for “the whole world” seems to me a little over the top. We can wish all day long that people were different or for the world to change, but better that we focus our energy—energy that would otherwise be wasted—on our rule of prayer, for in this at least we have the realistic hope of changing something that we really can change for the better: ourselves.

I had to smile when you spoke of Missouri as “the Bible belt”. “Hah,” I thought, “she ought to live in South Carolina!” No, you probably don’t have the temperament for the sort of thing I do in my teaching and writing. So go ahead—if you wish—and pass my Paths to the Heart along to this priest, inwardly asking God to help you stop feeling “an aversion to taking communion” from him simply because, by God’s grace, you’ve been given the power to see his limitations for what they are. And then, if St George’s continues to seem problematic, check out another church in town. As you’ve surely discovered, at least some Orthodox are more contented than Father N. with leaving it to God to decide how salvation works and who exactly is going to benefit from it.

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