Friday, June 23, 2006

Another Something I have Learned Since Becoming a Mommy...


The organizational status of a kitchen towel drawer does not mark the end of the world. Sometimes it is better if I just let things slide (which is hard to do for an organizational type person such as myself... I value and crave CONTROL which, when having children, means you lose a lot of).

Paul and Pavlos have dropped me off at my parents' home. They are driving to the monastery today. Petros and I will be going tomorrow morning with my parents. Yesterday I ran into two of the nuns from the monastery at Costco. This is the second time I have run into them there. It's kind of funny, for lack of a better word, to see them at Costco. And surprising. Especially because yesterday it was two of the nuns from Greece and I know there is nothing like Costco in Greece. I saw them as they were walking out and I was walking in. So, through the rest of my trip in Costco I thought what it would be like for them to walk through that gigantic store full of bulk items and $2000 TVs. And it's always interesting to run into them in the public... they always look the same while I have my specific clothes for church/monastery and my everday clothes (not that I was wearing anything outrageous... just some capri pants and a t-shirt oh, and a baby in a bjorn). I wasn't embarassed, but it made me think (which can be a trying thing to do for my baby brain).

So, I'm at my parents' home, baby is asleep, and I actually have time to write a blog. I have just finished reading Touching Heaven by John Oliver. He writes about his experience with the Theotokos. I have always been curious... as a cradle Orthodox I have never doubted or questioned the role of the Mother of God... it just seems so natural the role she plays in the Church (and I'm not implying that just by being a cradle Orthodox, one does not question... I'm sure there are plenty of cradles that struggle with this issue... I just never did and neither has Paul...). And I don't think that Roman Catholic converts have the difficulties in honoring the Theotokos as the Theotokos (birthgiver of God). So, if you are a convert or a cradle who has struggled with this idea... how did you get through it? Maybe you are still struggling with it, I don't know. Maybe I haven't struggled with it because my yiayia (grandma) was always praying to the Panagia to protect her grandchildren. It just seems to me such a natural thing... to honor the woman who gave birth to Christ. I mean, God would only choose someone worthy of that calling. And I know that a lot of Protestantism is really an attempt to put off anything that might at all resemble Catholicism. But to completely disregard the Theotokos?!? And, even snub her (as I have heard/read some people do) seems so, uhm, I don't know what word to use, uhm, incomprehensible to me (whew... that's a ten dollar word, especially from my little brain). Anyway, if you have thoughts on this, please, post away!!!

I think this is a long enough blog entry. I'm going to try to download a picture from the baptism for you all to see... might take me a few minutes:)

UPDATE: Ok, a picture of Petros with his godparents and Fr. Theodore. I look like I just ate something that tasted bad... oh well:)

8 comments:

David Bryan said...

I think the main idea is that specifically asking or thanking the Theotokos for something instead of God is somehow forgetting or replacing Him with the Theotokos as the central influence in one's spiritual life, thereby giving glory due to God to a mere human.

I know a friend of mine who went to France and saw bricks in churches dedicated to the Theotokos with inscriptions that said, "Thank you, Blessed Virgin, for healing my son," or "Thank you, Blessed Virgin, for reconciling my husband and me," or "Please, Blessed Virgin, save the soul of my departed husband." My friend, being the stauch evangelical that he was/is, was thinking, "Helloooo...where's Jesus in all that?!"

I think what helped me realize this is that the Theotokos--and by extention, all other saints--have REALLY become by grace all that God is by nature. They do what He does because they've got what He is, in other words. So He sends them out to do His will, and He gets the glory in no less an indirect way.

David Bryan said...

I think the main idea is that specifically asking or thanking the Theotokos for something instead of God is somehow forgetting or replacing Him with the Theotokos as the central influence in one's spiritual life, thereby giving glory due to God to a mere human.

I know a friend of mine who went to France and saw bricks in churches dedicated to the Theotokos with inscriptions that said, "Thank you, Blessed Virgin, for healing my son," or "Thank you, Blessed Virgin, for reconciling my husband and me," or "Please, Blessed Virgin, save the soul of my departed husband." My friend, being the stauch evangelical that he was/is, was thinking, "Helloooo...where's Jesus in all that?!"

I think what helped me realize this is that the Theotokos--and by extention, all other saints--have REALLY become by grace all that God is by nature. They do what He does because they've got what He is, in other words. So He sends them out to do His will, and He gets the glory in no less an indirect way.

papa herman said...

Enjoy the Feast Day at St. John's!

Elizabeth said...

Oh--the Metropolitan will be there, he flew into Portland today, and went out to the monastery. He'll be at Holy Trinity this Sunday.

And I used to run into the nuns from Dunlap in Whole Foods, while we lived at St. Nicholas Ranch. I definitely got used to the nuns seeing me as I was....and I have a funny story about nuns in nightgowns but it is not for blogging consumption. You'll have to ask me next time you see me. ;-)

Christina said...

thanks for your answer, David Bryan.

Elizabeth... we will have to get together soon... I'm intrigued:)

Mimi said...

Lovely photo, you look fine! And, interesting post. Since I have a RCC background, the Theotokos was never a stumbling block for me either.

The nuns drive all the way to your neck of the woods to shop?

Dawn said...

For some reason, even though I had a pentecostal/evangelical upbringing, I didn't have issues with the Theotokos. A book I read early on was The Orthodox Veneration of Mary the Birthgiver of God, by St John Maximovitch. It was very good.

Christina said...

mimi... i think they coordinate their shopping trips to costco with picking people up from the airport in portland... i don't think it's a regular thing, but I have seen them twice (and both times I was at my wits end with costco (first, the pharmacy and the second time the tire center) and then I run into the nuns... like a breath of fresh air:)

dawn... that is a good book by st. john. i will have to remember to recommend it to inquirerers when they are stumbling through the veneration of mary!