Western Rite Critic

A Balance to Contagious Enthusiasm

Beautiful Western Pieties


A neat Western Orthodox piety: it is a pious custom to cleanse the palate with wine or water immediately after communion, and then to fast from all other food or drink for an hour, out of honor, because we have received the True Food that fulfills all food, and the true Drink that quenches all thirst.

Another pious custom: to remove watches when going to liturgy, because the liturgy is the cosmic liturgy in which the once-for-all sacrifice of Christ is made present, so that time in the liturgy is not the same kind of time as in the world. Heaven and Earth are joined and the Church is Heaven on Earth in which God walks around.

One of the beauties of a proper Western Rite with the full intention of learning how to pray, how to identify and overcome the passions, seeking true repentance and the gift of tears (the true, rare, and difficult to attain charismata), and continually pursuing theosis, is that the faithful will constantly be adding these little pieties to their devotion. It has been said, in fact, that reverence is taking pains. The tradition is to add to these things continually throughout one’s life, not disdaining any pious custom that is truly in the fullness of Orthodox tradition. In fact, it’s not uncommon for world-travellers among the Orthodox to have a smattering of Greek, Russian, African, French and Western Orthodox, and other pious customs in their devotions. As yet, I know of no book that gives comprehensive and reverent attention to all of these pieties as such, for learning the fullness of the Faith in liturgical and private devotional life. And it is perhaps much easier to read than to truly learn such things properly from a book. They are most often learned from the old, ethnic people who keep them. Look for the pious old women that stand throughout prayer, cover their heads, and bow frequently, and you will learn much. Of course, these are rare in Orthodox mega-churches, where these things are falsely stereotyped as Russian or peasant attitudes by spiteful ethnophobes who could learn a thing or too about piety from pious Russian peasants, especially in a land that is only Orthodox because these parents and holy ancestors of ours in the faith, whom may we honor, remember, venerate, and imitate forever, brought us this true food in our hunger. But that’s another good reason to get wider experience, if one doesn’t know what I’m talking about, not really, not personally.

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January 19, 2008 - Posted by | -- Phyletism, Western Rite Pieties | , , , , , , , , , , , ,

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