In the candlelit nave

I had the blessing of spending a good eight hours at church yesterday, between the Divine Liturgy, coffee hour, and later an Akathist to Saint Katherine, with a small meal after and a film on her life. It was the name day of Father Mark’s daughter, so she served us our meals and cleaned up afterward with thankfulness and a smiling face — she’s a sweet girl, very humble and pious in her short eleven years.

I had the chance to speak with Father Mark for awhile. I told him that it did me well to take his words to heart, concerning certain situations which have been hard for me to deal with lately. He had told me, to paraphrase, to express humility and patience and glorify God in all things, and the demons use setbacks such as these to tempt us with ideas of God being far from us, and not caring for us in our sufferings. He showed me how to pray for the reposed with my chotki, which brought me consolation and peace of heart. I confided these things in him, and expressed that the heavy cold I had been carrying around for weeks was gone. Father blessed me, and we went into the church and talked a little more about these things, and gave thanks to God.

As I had left Father a small note saying that I hope to get the chance to speak with him later in the afternoon, he pulled me aside as everyone was leaving, so that we could get the chance to talk. In the nave, I told Father Mark of my thankfulness for him taking the time out to speak with me, and that I’ve been visited with health and consolation. I told him that it has all worked towards my humility, and it must have been a way of forcing me to take my eyes off of myself. Wallowing in my grief and sickness seemed to increase my bonds, but, when I took up the prayer rope in nightly rule and prayed for the souls of the departed, after several nights, God visited me. As Saint Mark of Ephesus says, “God is not bound by contracts”, I know full well that I can’t expect anything as a result of what I do — I can’t say if I do a hundred prostrations God will give me this much grace, I can’t say if I say prayers for this many hours God will heal me of this much sickness, and so on, but I know that God listens to prayer, and He is near to the contrite heart.

Father told me, after we got done talking, that if I continue to struggle, and swear not to fall away after Pascha, he will baptize me. I nodded to him, and I quoted the Psalter: “Make vows to the Lord your God and fulfill them.”

He replied, “And FULFILL them! Making vows to the Lord is easy, fulfilling them is the hard part.” He blessed me, we venerated the icons, and went our separate ways.

Pray for me, as I continually take it upon myself to struggle, and that the demons of despondency and hedonism stay far from me during the Fasts. I have a strong desire for the Mysteries which I have deprived myself of. I have a great need to die in the waters and arise new in Christ. I need this, with all my heart, and all my soul, and all my strength.


3 Responses to “In the candlelit nave”

  1. desertseeker Says:

    My prayers are with you! I admire your dedication and commitment and look forward to the happy day that you experience your baptism. May Christ’s light drive out all darkness!

  2. You are in my prayers as well, brother.

    Look at how far you’ve come since inquiring into the Orthodox faith! May God bless you as you continue on your journey and grant you many years.

  3. May God strengthen and enlighten you!

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