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Drawn East #419804 01/06/20 06:27 PM
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Thom18 Offline OP
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Hopefully this is the right place to put this- I haven’t used a forum of this type in a long time and it’s a bit hard to understand. I also hope that this isn’t inappropriately long and too broad.

I’m a Catholic of the Latin Rite. I fell away in my youth, not that I had learned (or retained) anything I’d been told about the Faith, and I returned on December 8 of 2015- the Feast of the Immaculate Conception for the Western Church. I began discerning a vocation to the priesthood only months later, and am now completing my undergraduate degree in philosophy in preparation for seminary.

Over the past few months, I’ve felt pushed all around. I discerned the religious life very briefly 2-3 years ago, but almost gave up the thought entirely after not “feeling anything” at the Benedictine community I visited. I began discerning the possibility again, and have been in touch with several communities which interest me. My initial “fervor” has faded, but I’m still seriously discerning.

Most recently, however, I (somehow) “discovered” the Eastern churches (I’ve been “aware” of you for years, but not “familiar”). I never realized until just after Christmas that there was a Byzantine church just miles away from a RC parish I sometimes confess at, and so I visited the Saturday before last. I was fascinated with everything I saw, and I’ve been attending for the past two weeks (this morning included).

I’m currently reading the Light for Life series to get a basic understanding of the Byzantine tradition, but so far from what I’ve read, most everything is concerning history or terminology (which is helpful) rather than spirituality.

Anyways, I’m hoping that all of you can share what your spirituality looks like with me. I love the prayers of your Liturgy, and the prayers you have for Reconciliation (and the form of it) really helped to put the Sacrament back into perspective for me. Beyond that, I’m curious how you pray throughout the day (Divine Liturgy aside), what your “rules” are (when “holy days of obligation” are, if you refer to them as such, when and how fasts and feasts are celebrated, etc.), and maybe how I could begin to live as a Byzantine Catholic to determine if I might be called to “move East”.

Thanks, and have a blessed Theophany!

Re: Drawn East [Re: Thom18] #419807 01/08/20 05:19 PM
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Welcome Thom18!

Thanks for sharing your experiences.

Studying theological books, like the Light for Life series, is useful.

However, primary catechesis comes from prayer. The only way to learn Eastern spirituality is to live it and experience it. If you're serious, I would recommend participating in as many of the Divine Services in your local Byzantine parish from now, through the upcoming Great Fast, Holy Week and Pascha. That should give you a strong taste of the East. If, after doing this, and after Pascha, you are still drawn East maybe you are indeed being called to live as an Byzantine Christian.

I would also recommend you share your story with the pastor of your local parish.

Prayers and best wishes,

Christ is Baptized! Glorify Him!

John

Re: Drawn East [Re: Thom18] #419808 01/08/20 07:05 PM
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Thanks for the response!

Would you recommend any methods of prayer to help me get started?

Re: Drawn East [Re: Thom18] #419809 01/09/20 02:59 AM
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I am always hesitant to advise anyone in their prayer life. That is generally a question for one's spiritual father.

Since you asked:

1) You could easily add the Jesus Prayer to your daily routine ("Lord, Jesus Christ, Son of God, have mercy on me, a sinner.") It is one of those prayers you can "pray without ceasing" (1 Thess 5:18). Start with 33 repetitions once a day and eventually add more repetitions. If you keep at it, eventually you will be praying it without even realizing it. (A good read on this prayer is "The Way of the Pilgrim".)

2) Pray the Psalter. Byzantine liturgical prayer makes heavy use of the Psalter. Pray the entire Psalter once a week. You can find the order (which psalms at which times during the day) at numerous sites. (If you can't find it via a search let me know and I'll dig it out.)

3) Utilize prayer books (but they cost money). A good series is the "Let us pray to the Lord" two volume set offered by Eastern Christian Publications.

I would start with 1 & 2 for six months or a year before investing money in 3.

Hope this helps.

John

Re: Drawn East [Re: Thom18] #419810 01/09/20 06:14 PM
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Thom18 Offline OP
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Thanks.

Do I need a Psalter book, or is it sufficient to read the Psalms from their place in a standard Bible? Also, I’m having difficulty finding the order. Could you help me with that as well?

Re: Drawn East [Re: Thom18] #419812 01/10/20 03:04 AM
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Technically, the Byzantine Churches all hold the Septuagint as their official Bible, meaning the Psalter would be a Septuagint one. There are several translations, but it is not necessary as most Byzantine laymen would only have a Maseretic text in whatever edition of the Bible they have.

So use your favorite Bible.

An explanation of the order of the praying of the Psalter can be found at: https://orthodoxwiki.org/Psalter

It can be complicated. And many people who do pray the Psalter daily simply pray the psalms in order (that's what I do).

I should note that while the custom is traditional, there are fewer and fewer people who keep it. In the completion with television and everything else in life, prayer is often pushed out. Find something that works for you. Praying the Psalter in order 5 psalms a day would be an excellent start for the first year or two (either as your main prayer rule if you don't have one or in addition to whatever prayer rule you are keeping).

Re: Drawn East [Re: Thom18] #419813 01/10/20 04:46 AM
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Thanks again!

Re: Drawn East [Re: Thom18] #419814 01/10/20 06:27 PM
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Hello, I agree that should consult a spiritual father if possible, but most Catholics and even most Orthodox don't have the luxury.
The following link will provide a sample prayer rule that can be modified (prayers added and subtracted) as time allows. https://www.bcs.edu/spiritual-life/

Also if you are looking for a psalter, I can recommend the Ancient Faith Psalter which you can find via Google. I believe it uses the RSV psalms adapted to the Greek (Septuagint). It also divides the psalms up into stasis so can pray a little each day (the full psalter in a week may be a bit much). If you pray a stasis a day, you would complete the psalter in approximately two months, if you pray two stasis a day, it would be a month. But your Bible would also suffice.

Re: Drawn East [Re: Thom18] #419815 01/11/20 08:43 PM
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I don't have a spiritual director, but I'll be meeting with my vocation director tomorrow, so I can ask him to get me in touch with someone.

I might just have to invest in a real psalter. I got through it this morning just before work, but it was very sloppy and rushed towards the end. It's definitely something I'll continue with, though. I'd always wanted to get a better understanding of the psalms, but couldn't imagine how to get in a solid reading habit until now.

I'll also give that seminary link a look. Right now I have a "flexible" prayer life due to my university and work schedules (I'll pray the rosary "in the morning" or the Little Office of the BVM "in the evening"), but it would be good to set aside precise times for prayer.

Re: Drawn East [Re: Administrator] #419821 01/14/20 12:09 AM
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Christ is Baptized!!

I have a "Psalter for Prayer" that I bought from Holy Trinity Monastery. It contains the special prayers found after each kathisma in the Church Slavonic Psalter heretofore not found in English psalters. It uses traditional English. In the introduction the translator states that it is arranged for liturgical use and "for the devotional recitation of the psalms as an act of prayer."

It is a large print edition useful for church use, too.

Bob

Re: Drawn East [Re: Thom18] #419824 01/15/20 07:49 PM
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I found a Psalter on Amazon called The Abbey Psalter: The Book of Psalms Used by the Trappist Monks of Genesee Abbey, does anyone have any experience with this one?

So far I've been pretty good with praying with the psalter. I missed one night so far and am still making mistakes, but I like the approach to praying with the psalms which it offers.

Re: Drawn East [Re: Thom18] #419832 01/16/20 11:11 PM
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That is a very good translation and you can't go wrong with it. I once gave a copy to an acquaintance who broke himself into it by praying it over the body of his deceased uncle at the funeral home, from ten in the morning until six in the evening (with breaks in between of course).

He said he will always use it and that it made him want to continue praying it.

Cheers, Alex

Re: Drawn East [Re: Thom18] #419833 01/17/20 12:48 AM
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Originally Posted by Thom18
I found a Psalter on Amazon called The Abbey Psalter: The Book of Psalms Used by the Trappist Monks of Genesee Abbey, does anyone have any experience with this one?

That's the large print edition meant for praying aloud? I have it. Very nice. I believe it uses the 1963 Grail Translation. I have a friend who has memorized the entire Psalter in the Grail Translation.

If it works for you, keep using it.


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