My Two Sons Reactions To Both Catholic And Orthodox Liturgy Surprise Me

Sunday School: The Divine Liturgy – Restless Pilgrim

Every week in the Catholic Church I couldn’t enjoy the Mass or hear the readings or the homilies. The reason for this had been due to my two sons constantly twitching in the pews and hitting one another. Why? Boredom. They were bored and when I asked them why they’d be so bold at Mass would respond, “We’re bored, there’s nothing to do.”

When I took them both to the Greek Orthodox Church my eldest Christian stood for the entire Liturgy completely focused on the priest. I think I can explain this one. At the Greek Liturgy the priest sings all of it and there’s lots going on. The priest is singing, the incense is billowing and the cantors are constantly singing. There’s icons everywhere glittering in the light and for whatever reason this attracts my sons especially the eldest who is only 10 years old.

In the Catholic liturgy the singing or music does not have the same impact. The priest speaks the entire mass so. . . well. . . it’s boring at least to a young mind who is used to lots of motion. Young children are always on the move so when they encounter something that restricts that psychological playground of racing thoughts they protest. In the Orthodox Church my sons at anytime during the Liturgy can wander around the Church and light candles or venerate the icons. In the Catholic Church they’re stuck in their pews and must stand completely still.

However, the Orthodox liturgy, although it has much more freedom than the Catholic one, my sons never move. Why? Because they’ve no reason to get bored and get off their seats and go some place else. There’s so much taking place around them that they end up standing absorbing all the fast paced movement that is mimicking their own fast paced psychological movement going on up in their little restless heads. My youngest still sits and then stands but not once did he hit out at his eldest brother who surprised me by standing in his place without ever sitting or getting bored.

My children are observing me and what decisions I make as to whether or not it will determine entry into the Orthodox Church. But I have to say I’m the one observing their behaviour and using this as a yardstick to measure whether or not we’ll be entering the Orthodox Church. Why? Because even though children have not fully developed intellectually, they have a better sense of what is good because to them belongs the Kingdom.

Children know when they’re in a heavenly environment and can sense the holiness more than adults can. I suppose you could say they’ve got spiritual noses that are like dogs noses. Dogs have a nose that is 100,000 – 1 million times more sensitive than humans. And because they’re close to God, children have much stronger noses than adults. They can sniff out the good stuff from the bad.

The Orthodox Liturgy is the first time I’ve ever been able to rest and listen to the entire liturgy without having to correct my two sons or give them scolding looks. I could enjoy the readings, the chantings and even the homily afterwards in the spiritual center where the priest takes us to discuss the feast day and Gospel. Even in the spiritual center they’re quiet and listening. It’s a phenomenon to me.

God bless

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