a belated happy new year!
Yes it is nearly the end of January (can you believe it?!), but we hope that everyone had a good break.
For our first post of the year, and quite fitting, we have a contribution made by one of our parishioners. A reflection of maybe a new year a couple of years ago.
We invite anyone (you don't have to be a part of any "group") who wishes to contribute an experience, a story, a reflection, to feel free and email us at firstname.lastname@example.org with what you want to say. This is most assuredly a place where people can talk.
“What does the song ‘Hristos Anesti’ say and mean?”I remember my mother’s face when I asked her this question.I have been flicking through some old keepsakes and I came across my best friend’s published testimony of her return to her Catholic faith. I kept it because it was inspiring and looking back at her story, I felt lucky (or should I say blessed) to have been a first hand witness. It made me reminisce.We were and remain interstate friends. Finding we were both on a parallel path back to God, we constantly surprised each other. Learning about the religions we were baptized into we had similar discoveries, experiences, fears and confusion. We had no one else that we felt we could talk to.Thirty minutes was all I could spare (in my busy twenty year old life!) to go to church for the Easter midnight service. My annual effort had allowed me to work out that this was the right timing needed to secure a good standing position outside the church.How did I get to be on this journey alongside my friend? Standing in my prime position spot, I heard what I know now as the Easter sermon. I listened to the priest speak about Light, while he himself shone. That was the last Easter service I would spend outside. I wanted to spend it inside the Church here on.My question to my mother that night had a response of shock (as you can imagine!). It was assumed I had learned these things a long time ago, although never having understood the language it was spoken in.I made a new year’s resolution that for ’06 I would try and go to church on Sundays. To the building that God lived in. For no other reason other than – it just felt necessary.The weekly sermon was the only thing I could understand. I spent the rest of the time just looking at everything around me. Just listening to the sounds. Thinking it was beautiful. But at the same time I sat, bewildered and with ever-growing feelings of being left behind from something amazing.In the world we live in, there is a common saying that ‘practice makes perfect’, ‘keep at something and you’ll get it’ for all aspects of our lives. I was starting from scratch and I knew that although I felt left behind, left out and that I had a lot of catch up to do – my baby steps were ok. It was the only way I could walk.It was during these Sunday church services that I heard my first gospel reading. I stopped being scared and bought a bible to start reading. Not knowing where to begin…I read it front (and eventually) to back cover. I discovered what familiar words I heard meant. I found out about the Trinity and the Holy Eucharist was revealed to me. I hid many tears. It was also where I heard about a course given about “liturgy”.Normally I would have run a mile or two, in the other direction at even a suggestion to me like this course. I’d pull out every excuse under the sun, to get out of breaking my regular (albeit lazy) daily routine. I was anxious, stressed and nervous, but I went and found out that I had been part of liturgy all along. It was for me: mind blowing.At the course’s end, I left with the most valuable book in my hands. ‘The Divine Liturgy’ that would now teach, carry and inspire. A guide for all my new first times, within the church and outside its walls. Most of all, it made me feel as a part of a mystery… I’m discovering to be heaven on earth.It meant the world to me to take my best friend on a tour of my church, while she was in town for Christmas holidays. I was able to share with her where my parallel journey led to and looked like. My friend who inspired me to continue my baby steps, towards The Inspiration. To the Heart of where I finally heard God knocking within the walls of my heart. Where He had been all along.