Thursday, October 11, 2012

Diversity in Adoration

     Well, as you might have guessed this topic continues to stir up emotions from people that read my thoughts. There are even some who insist that their tradition has the advantages and that we are missing out. I would like to remind these people that the Church's gifts are for all and each tradition has something to offer.So no one is really missing out. In addition,I assure you that we of the Byzantine tradition are in no way lacking and in some ways I believe we have a richer expression when it comes to the veneration of the presence of Jesus Christ. Is it wrong to think this way? I don’t think we should fear the fact that some traditions clearly have a richer expression over the other in certain matters of worship. In fact Blessed John Paul the Great believed in this very thing. As he states, "It is hardly surprising, then, if sometimes one tradition has come nearer to a full appreciation of some aspects of a mystery of revelation than the other, or has expressed them better(ORIENTALE LUMEN 10)". 
     Even if one tradition has a richer expression everything in the Church is for our benefit and our edification.There is no such thing as an isolated tradition because when one tradition is gifted with a richer expression it becomes a gift for the whole Church. Now,without getting too technical it might be appropriate for me to try to explain our richer expression that we have as Byzantines in terms of adoration. The most simplest way to state this is that we actually become Christ!. No, not a clone or a new person of the Trinity but by grace we become what He is through sharing the Divine Nature. The emphasis on this experience facilitates a spirituality that does not focus upon the gifts(Consecrated) but rather what takes place within. For it is the presence of God remains within waiting to ever penetrate our whole being and on the day of judgment becomes are eternal joy or if we reject Him our condemnation.
     Churches may burn down, altars can get smashed, Eucharistic bread may get trampled upon, but what we have within gives life to the world. We are the Body of Christ and we in Him are the life of this world and this is what we celebrate as Byzantines. You will find this truth ever so present in our Liturgies where we dont focus on when Christ  arrives  but in how he is ever-present[ a truth of all Catholic worship but not always emphasized].We actually celebrate a progression  into the mystery of who He is through out the Liturgy, which is eventually climaxed at the the Eucharist. Arriving at the depths of this mystery of our God we then sing:" We Have seen the true light; we have received the heavenly Spirit; we have found the true faith; and worship the undivided Trinity, for the Trinity has saved us". For this reason it's not the gifts we continue to venerate but the experience of the manifestation of heaven within us. It is this very manifestation that we bring with us as we continue our earthly existence.
     Our traditions that we have in our Church all celebrate the heavenly manifestation of Christ but we do it differently. For instance,while some of my Roman Catholic friends seek it out by doing perpetual adoration at their parishes some of us Byzantines are doing our own adoration all day long by reciting the Jesus Prayer. Also, while maybe they at the end of the day head to their parish for an hour Eucharistic Adoration we sometimes stay at home, lock the doors, turn out the lights, and bask in glory of God within us. Does this mean one is better than the other? Like I said earlier I believe my tradition demonstrates a richer expression of the presence of Jesus Christ. However, it's not a competition because there are many ways to experience God found in our traditions.Nor is one tradition restricted for everything is ours in Christ. There should be no fear in looking to other traditions to nourish our own and vice-versa. We need to learn to appreciate the diversity that God has given our churches and not be afraid of what might be perceived as an advantage for in the end God is to be praised not our traditions.
     Its only through the goodness of God that we have so many traditions. He foresters diversity and there is no part of creation that does not witness this fact. This is ever so true of the New Creation the Church. For in this New Creation we see God becoming one in the riches of the human experience. For this reason it is no accident that there are varieties of catholic worship in our history. Nor is it an accident that we find that one tradition " has come nearer to a full appreciation " of the mysteries we share. For in celebrating diversity our traditions can only benefit each other and bring praise to our God.


  1. you might enjot this,i did..

  2. ..i've never heard an Orhtodox christian embrace/authenticate other tradtions their than their own,thats refreshing..i get so tired of some who continually beat the 'Orhtodox' drum as the only true christianity..