Chrismation is only the beginning, a black metaller turned Orthodox Christian ( Αντιαιρετικό Εγκόλπιο-μπλογκ )


I have been Orthodox now for just over a week. I was chrismated Holy Saturday morning during the liturgy which began at 10:00am, and a number of interesting things happened that have spoken a lot to me.

First of all, the morning of the chrismation began with my fiancee’s toilet overflowing – yes, I spent the morning before my chrismation on my hands and knees cleaning up rather disgusting water, using the same hands that would be very shortly anointed with oil blessed by his eminence, Patriarch IGNATIUS IV of Antioch.

During the chrismation itself, I opened my eyes at a rather inopportune time, apparently, and I managed to get holy chrism in my right eye. It burned horribly and I could not very well rub it off, so I stood there with my eyes closed with tears streaming down. My godfather and a few of my friends mistook this for the gift of tears – hardly. Instead of rejoicing as my fiancee and a few others were chrismated alongside me, I had other thoughts, which I will get to shortly.

My family came to my chrismation, but my father did not stay for all of it. As soon as the actual chrismation was over, he left. He did not like the service or the Church or the choice I had made, which he decided to express by leaving in the middle of the service and refusing to speak to me until the next day, in the middle of my birthday party no less (which nobody attended except for immediate family and my fiancee, after I had invited all my close friends).

When I received the Holy Mysteries for the first time during the Holy Saturday morning liturgy, contrary to other stories of people feeling immense grace outpoured on them, I felt not a thing. I was happy, to be sure, but I would not attribute that to any kind of miracle – just happy that I was finally Orthodox.

What was I thinking as my eye burned with holy chrism, as I mentioned above? I was thinking that this pain, even at the very point of my entry into the Church, is indicative of how much I’m surely going to struggle and suffer in the future, and I should not fall into any delusions of things being easy from now on just because I’m Orthodox. Everything else going wrong that day spoke to this. Clearly, the adversary was not happy about my entrance to the Church.

Strangely, I’m at peace with it, and maybe that’s where the grace of the Holy Mysteries is coming into play. I struggle as much as ever with depression when I’m in the academic setting. I stand in church and struggle not to judge everyone around me, and I leave church and struggle not to give in to other passions that I have fought for years and years. Yet, I have a battle I am waging, and I know there is victory in sight if I just refuse to throw in the towel. That is why Christ gave us the Church.

The only peace I’ve had since my entrance into the Church, then, is that I know I am going to have to fight. I do not feel peace with the world or myself, but only in that I must struggle, and through it all, God is merciful. I fully believe that outside of the Holy Trinity, there is simply nothing else. And I fully believe that without the suffering of this life, there is no salvation. At times I despair because of this – but again, God has given me the good grace to fight against despondency, too. I am a slave that shall be freed from his passions by the Lord God Most High.

Chrismation is only the beginning, and by no means the end.

( http://icxcnika.wordpress.com/2008/05/05/thoughts-about-my-chrismation/ )

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