ursusanglicanus (ursusanglicanus) wrote,

Battering God ?

A couple of days ago my priest host in a small Russian town and I were invited at the last minute by the local bishop to serve liturgy with him the next morning. Normally in Russia, to take communion at the liturgy one is supposed to be present at Vespers the previous night. It was too late. My host asked the bishop how we should prepare.  Just read the usual evening prayers, triple akathist and the usual preparation prayers. My friend read the lot in Slavonic: it lasted nearly an hour as we asked forgiveness and help variously from God the Father, Christ, the Mother of God, and our guardian angels, presenting ourselves as wretched, worthless sinners perhaps twenty times.

The liturgy we prepared for ... I'm on the far left.

Parallel with this I am reading Catherine De Bar, one of the great French Catholic mystics in the 17th century flowering of French Catholicism before Louis XIV heavy-handedly put down ‘Quietists’ and Protestants. Her idea is of being aware, in silence and trustingly, of the presence of God, already in us. Minimum words.

I recently read Norwegian Protestant pastor Ole Hallesby’s classic ‘Prayer’. His line is that we simply
tell God what we need, and then leave our requests in trust with him, not anxiously presenting them to Him over and over again.

Which is the right approach – the Orthodox, Catholic or Protestant one? If I am a member of the household of God (Ephesians 2:19) and a brother of Christ (Matt. 28.10), is it really necessary for me to batter God, and His mother and my guardian angel like this for an hour? For me, this is essentially the language of someone ‘outside’, whereas I hope that I am, by now, ‘inside’.
Tags: comparisons
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