Why After 13 Years I Still Feel Drawn Towards Orthodoxy

13 years ago I had quite the conversion experience in the Catholic faith. When I came home from Scotland, although interested in the Eastern Orthodox Church, all that surrounded me happened to be Catholic. I’m 23 years of age and I don’t drive. In the months that follow I have a great conversion experience but even with this, I still cannot seem to tear myself away from the Orthodox Church at all. Even in 2008, seeing that I have mostly an eastern expression of theology the spiritual master of the monastery at the time said to me, “You seem like you’re more interested in the Orthodox Church than this one.”

The years that followed I tried really hard to stay in the Catholic Church. I put up with the liberals and I put up with the Anti-Pope Francis rigid types too. I endured them all and then in 2015 I approach the Russian Orthodox Church. But because my wife was not behind it, I had to pull back because I wanted everyone to be of one unified mind moving forward. It would be easier for everyone. The experience I’ve had in my conversion was of a western flavor which always held me back from making that leap also. I have visited a priest who told me it’s not of God and I should burn the house down and I’ve visited a very liberal priest who says it is from God and wouldn’t grant me an exorcism or some sort of chat with one.

In the end, I’ve recently gone to the doctor to explain what is “wrong” with me. She sat in the Chair and looked at me as if I’d two heads. “So. . . you’ve had this since you’re 23 and told nobody?” I did not tell her the religious bit or how it came about only to say that I had it since I was 23. I explained that it never goes away unless I’m walking around the street and going about my business like going to the bank. But if at a standstill or in conversation with someone it comes back. Again I left out the bit where it comes on strong when in the Church (Orthodox or Catholic doesn’t matter), praying or engaged in spiritual conversation. It happens when I’m driving too. It also gets really strong when someone is giving out to me.

I left out the religious bit because I don’t want her putting me back onto them as they’re useless. I’m now convinced what I have is psychological or neurological. So she asked me to monitor it and to do some tests and then come back to her. When I go back she will send me to a neurologist based on what I tell her. Then she turned and said…”O.K….so that’s the weirdest one I’ve ever heard. . . really.” If the neurologist rules out something I will then consider it an hallucination maybe and visit a mental health professional.

When the more liberal priest told me what it was I laughed it off because my life does not resemble something saintly. In addition to this what he suggested was a western phenomenon in the Catholic faith not the Orthodox one and for that to be authentic I’d have to have no interest in the Orthodox faith in addition to leading an immaculate sinless sort of life in the Catholic one.

Therefore lacking any spiritual help I’ve decided to go the more scientific route but without giving them the religious story so that there will be no redirecting me away back toward a priest.

But even with all this I still feel drawn to the Orthodox Church. I have for years read all the arguments and recently endured a good debate between both sides knowledgeable on both the Catholic and Orthodox position. In my opinion both drew a firm stalemate leaving the stupid listener like me with only one option. . . a leap of faith. Yes, You can listen to all the doctrinal debates you want but in the end, when it comes to signing up for Orthodoxy or Catholicism it is a leap of faith you’re taking.

I’m tired of seeing the Liturgy being torn apart. I’m tired of seeing the Holy Eucharist being dropped on the floor, handed out to whomever and in plastic cups at world youth festivals. I’m tired of seeing perfectly already modern and timeless traditions be altered in the belief that somehow we are being “modern” and “with the popular culture”. I’m tired of seeing Catholic priests preach heresy from their pulpit. I am a human being with a psychological limit as to what I can endure and am no saintly person.

Therefore on the road to the diaconate in the Catholic Church having had to endure the Judas who reported me to the Bishop, and being booted for the outrageous reason of expressing my concern at having to take the vaccine for entry, that was the nudge I needed to become crucified to the old Catholic me.

My house is covered in icons of Orthodox Saints. My prayer books are Orthodox, my music is Orthodox and I burn Orthodox incense and all of this. Both my sons are baptized and Chrismated in the Ukrainian Greek Catholic Church which was some sort of attempt to hold onto the faith by the fingernails so what else can I do? Whenever I sit in an Orthodox Church I’m at peace, whenever I sit in the Catholic Church or interact with it in anyway I have nothing but trouble at every corner I turn. For example everything I do with them has a great start but then suddenly takes a bad turn. The pressure is too much. . . and so I have close the curtain on this chapter in my life and take refuge in the arms of Paul who has kept the faith and the traditions.

In the Orthodox Church you know what to expect every Sunday because it is a Church that is stable and consistent. In the Catholic Church you don’t know what you’re getting. One Sunday it’s an acoustic guitar and some old woman behind it who hasn’t a clue how to tune it, or it’s gospel choirs or no choir at all. It’s a priest giving out about the Churches hierarchy to the applause of the crowd or another one careless in his distribution of Holy communion and dropping it on the floor and picking it up as if it’s nothing. In the Orthodox Church if that happens the priests wash it with Holy water immediately and take a lighter and burn the mark where it fell.

I can’t endure the Catholic Liturgy anymore. I feel so sorry for Jesus having to endure that. I can’t do it anymore.

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