I can't help feeling that life is a journey from A to B. We can't chose A because it is our origin at conception, but we can chose B which in my case is God. As with any journey there is a route to be followed, and this is another choice - which route. As life progresses it becomes apparent that there are many pathways from A to B. It is quite possible to change pathways yet keep making progress to B.
In my case I spent sixty years on the Roman Catholic path. One is entitled to ask 'why change'. It would be easy to simply criticise Rome, since an awareness of its faults was a significant element, but I am not silly enough to imagine that Orthodoxy is faultless. So, it's not just a matter of moving to a 'better' pathway, but rather the right one for me.
I suspect that the reasons for my move are many and complex, and I have not worked them all out yet. But I do know I am in the right place. One aspect is the nature of the spirituality of the OC liturgy. The nearest I have ever been to this before was in a period in a monastery some years ago. Of course, since then I have been subjected to the factors discussed by Father Simon in the Lent sermon elsewhere on this forum. The rushing about, the desire for personal recognition, acquisitiveness, and a lack of true humility seem to characterise my life for some time past, resulting in the inevitable tiredness that limits activity in matters that are really important
My immersion in the Liturgy has proved the beginning of a cure for these ills - or at least I hope so. I find it so prayerful and profound. There is a quiet joy, and Jesus' love for me is so clear. I am finding myself doing exactly what Father Simon writes: simplifying my life of much of my extraneous things and activities. But herein lies a problem.
I have a family, and thus have accepted the task from God of looking after them. This gives me much joy too. But at the same time I am minded of Martha. I sometimes wonder what exactly Jesus would say - do I continue with my family care, or do I abandon them for Him. Given the opportunity, I suspect I would enter monastic life again so that I can devote myself totally to God. But that would reject the care of my family which He has asked me to do. This, it seems to me, is the classic dilemma of the layman. How does one reconcile these two apparently opposing ways of life?
It seems to me that the answer is an acceptance that each role in God's family has its own significance and value. Each is just as important as the others. It is impossible and illogical for us all to aspire to being a Patriarch, despite the importance and significance of that office. God is satisfied with us if we do what He asks, however humble or exalted the task may be.
Which brings me back to the Liturgy. It is during this Divine prayer that I am able to achieve the prayerfulness that I might otherwise get as a monk. The spirituality allows me to return to my family refreshed and re-energised to carry on with God's task. Hence the nature of the Liturgy is critical for me. By all means permit attendance for part of the service for those for whom it is appropriate, but I hope you will not mind a newcomer pleading that to me it is essential to retain the full majesty and beauty of our long and wonderful Liturgy.
With love and prayers,