January 11, 2008

Allow me to begin with the thing of most importance, the realization that we are within the renewed sanctification and blessing of the Jordan, the Forerunner has preached repentance, and One has come to baptize with fire… Christ is baptized! Or as the Slavs say, God is manifested!

Allow me to catch you up on some things.

I had a pretty frightening experience a few weeks ago, which has had it’s ups and downs since then. Considering my family has a history of bleeding ulcers and polyps I’m not sure exactly what’s going on, but I’ve definitely got something going on like that. I noticed one day that I had some blood in my stool, some days were better than others, but it was enough for me to go to the doctor and get checked out. After checking a few things[and finding out my cholesterol and glucose is good plus I had lost some weight so at least that much is good] they couldn’t figure it out for sure, so in a couple of months I have an appointment with a specialist…

Good news about that is, it’s not dangerous enough for me to need to see a specialist as soon as possible. Bad news is, the doctor mentioned a colonoscopy, and let’s just say I’m not too thrilled about that. I’ve asked for humility, but this isn’t exactly what I had in mind. For those who don’t know, let’s just say it involves an enema, a tube, and a flexible light while being so doped up you don’t know what world you’re in.

I’m hoping and praying it just clears up on it’s own… the last few days have been perfectly fine, but the stomach pain is still there.  Pray for me, if you will.

What else…

Well, I found myself back in Church on the Eve of Theophany. It was wonderful catching up with everyone. I ran into my friend Virginia Chryssikos, a lovely English professor at the local College, and let her know that over my little period of absence I had read “A Night in the Desert of the Holy Mountain” which she had helped edit and revise. Please, if you ever read another book, read that one. I can’t explain how amazing it is. The next day of course was Theophany, which is absolutely one of my favorite Great Feasts. I got to catch up with Igor and Giorgi, two of my favorite parishioners who moved here from Ukraine not too long ago. My parish is pretty diverse, we’ve got a Lebanese family, some Greeks, some Russians, and some Ukrainians.

I caught up with my Godfather Subdeacon James, which was awesome too. He was happy to see me but scolded me a little, as a good Godfather should, that I need to “jump back on the saddle” and come back to Church.  Father was much the same, though a little more ‘real’… good word for Father Mark. “Real.”

He told me that I can’t call myself a catechumen if I don’t fast and pray with the Church. He told me that there are no plans for my Baptism at this point, and there won’t be at least until next Pascha, and that’s if I show my initiative and come back as I should. It’s very humbling, and was a little hurtful, but a kick in the pants goes a lot further than a pat on the back and I very much respect him for being honest and direct with me. He did reassure me however, telling me not to worry for the past or even for the future, only worry about being here, and making an effort. He told me, as the Fathers say, give blood to achieve the Spirit… without giving until it hurts you will not acquire anything salvific.

So, I’ve gotten back into my prayer rule, and I’m going to be immersing myself into the Lives of the Saints and other good spiritual reading. My job is going well, a good deal stressful sometimes but, that’s life.

If there is anything I have learned over my period of absence both from here and from the Church, it’s been this: Without grace, without Him, I am a desperate and wicked sinner with no good in me. I love myself more than God, I love myself more than my neighbor, I am an idolater. The catechumenate, I was told, is a battle… and I understand why during those prayers I was regarded as a newly-enlisted soldier of Christ. I took it lightly, I admit that; I tried to follow a schedule, follow things logically, follow things simply, and regard the catechumenate as one small step towards baptism… but it’s definitely much more. It truly is a struggle, and it truly is a battle. When I took that step, I came into His grace, but as St Isaac said… the closer we draw near to the Kingdom this will be our sign: the more temptations that multiply against us.

Please remember me in your holy prayers.


5 Responses to “Absence.”

  1. me Says:

    Not sure I’d call my prayers holy, but I do try to remember you.

  2. donva Says:

    It’s good to see you posting again. Welcome back, Blake. As always, you remain in my prayers, for what they’re worth.

  3. Joseph Patterson Says:

    I will be praying for you. Please pray for me a sinner.


  4. Anna Says:

    blake, thank you for sharing this. you are in my prayers.

    yours in Christ,
    the handmaid,

  5. Kyrie-Eleison Says:

    Hi Blake, just jumping back on the net for a few minutes.

    Good to see you posting…and thankyou for posting this. You are in my prayers each night…this is hard, I know, and we all have our own battles within it. You’ll get there.


Leave a Reply

Please log in using one of these methods to post your comment:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: