This weekend we went back to how the Eastern Church marks what we in the West would call Ordinary Time, and thus we were at the Sixteenth Sunday after Pentecost. Our Sunday once again dawned rainy (the new grass we planted is coming in great at least!) as we made our way to Divine Liturgy. Signs are up advertising the Christmas Bazaar that is to come right before Thanksgiving, and we're looking forward to it and feeling a bit more integrated into the parish now. We found our usual seats towards the back of the small worship space, and I let the opening words of the Divine Liturgy of St. John Chrysostom wash over me:
"In peace, let us pray to the Lord."
"Lord have mercy."
"For the peace from above, and for the salvation of our souls, let us pray to the Lord."
"Lord have mercy."
The cadence and language of the Divine Liturgy really speaks to me. Obviously, there's this type of 'call and response', if you will, in all liturgies, including the post Vatican II one that most of us are used to. But there's something about the way it is arranged and verbalized in the Divine Liturgy that I find so spiritually nourishing. Add in the the scent and flicker of the real candles and the iconography covering the sanctuary, and this is why I feel called to come back to this style of worship week after week.
The Gospel this week featured the story of Jesus finding the fishermen and inviting them to become fishers of men. Father spoke about how we shouldn't be afraid to tackle the challenges that come our way in our daily lives, because God is always there, throughout, to support us and get us to where we need to be.
After liturgy, we did our happy congregational chatting thing out in the entry area, accompanied by a nice sensation of being more settled and at home there. What I'm feeling at this point (very early on, to be sure) is that I may simply be a Roman Catholic who feels a pull to the Divine Liturgy and Eastern Christian spirituality; thus, I may never formally be a member of the Byzantine rite. Who knows, there are still 11 months to go, but as much as I love the liturgy and everything that I'm learning about the traditions, I'm still pretty attached to my Western ones. I also love daily Mass, as I discussed last week with regards to the Feast of the Exaltation of the Cross. So while this all is definitely feeding my soul spiritually right now, I don't know that I see myself giving up my Roman Catholic roots. But hey. There is still quite a lot of the liturgical year to go, with the Catholic Nerd set loose with icon sprees and every Eastern prayer book imaginable each week. What could go wrong?