MARC MARON ‘The social media generation’
davidjjackson said: You haven't posted anything recently? Just thought I'd check and see how your recovery is going?
Thanks so much for your caring! I really appreciate it. Yes, I haven’t posted anything because life is so busy these days. I have really started to enjoy my work again, studying, and church. I don’t spend a lot of time on line much anymore … Things are very good. Hope you are well, also … God Bless . spyridon
I am feeling like I am back in the game. I can finally pray, through the support and prayers of others …. Interestingly enough, throughout the last month or so, even while I was drinking, I have been trying to understand the Divine Liturgy in Korean so I won’t have to rely on an English text during liturgy. I have made it up to the Third Antiphon.
Today, I came upon something most interesting in my translation work. At the end of the Second Antiphon the choir chants:
Only-begotten Son and Word of God, who, being immortal, accepted for our salvation, to take flesh from the holy Mother of God ….
And it continues on ….
The line, “to take flesh from the holy Mother of God” in Korean reads, “성모님에게서 욕신을 취하시고”.
성모님에게서 = from the Mother of God
육신을 = flesh
취하시고 = to take
Now, the interesting part is this: the verb “to take” used here in the Korean is “취하다” - to select, choose, pick, take. But! .. if you look in the dictionary, “취하다” also means “be[get] drunk, (formal) be[get] intoxicated, (formal) become inebriated (informal) get tipsy”.
In fact, “to be[get] drunk..” is the first definition!!
I couldn’t help but stop dead in my tracks when I discovered this, sit back, take a deep sigh, look again, and find that the second definition is the one I’m looking for.
Of course! God “takes on” flesh, “chooses” flesh and becomes consumed by flesh, he completely gives himself to humanity, albeit unchanged, but absolutely and totally, humbles himself and becomes flesh. (I am not making any theological arguments here, rather, I am pointing out what this little serendipitous translation moment means for me, personally)
In a sort of corrupt opposite manner, when I decide to take a drink, I am consumed by it. I am not a “recreational drinker”. I give myself totally to it because of my addiction, my weakness. I am still me, unchanged, but absolutely and totally, I become the alcohol.
I’m not saying God becomes “drunk” with flesh. But he “takes” flesh, “chooses” it …
These two definitions come from two different Chinese characters:
取 - to select, choose, take, adopt, assume
醉 - to be[get] drunk, intoxicated, enraptured
Now, my limited knowledge in Korean and my basically non-existent knowledge of Chinese means I am missing some key etymological factors here. Nevertheless, I will now, forever, during liturgy, during the Second Antiphon, be reminded of what choice I have to make:
Shall I “choose”, “assume”, the life of Christ or, shall I just get drunk.
It is a choice we all have to make, I think. Are we going to choose Christ, be consumed by him, let him be our entire life, or are we going to “get drunk” with our attachments and addictions? If we choose the latter, I think it means, we will be, indeed, drunk.
Proverbs 23:29-35 Who hath woe? who hath sorrow? who hath contentions? who hath babbling? who hath wounds without cause? who hath redness of eyes? They that tarry long at the wine; they that go to seek mixed wine. Look not thou upon the wine when it is red, when it giveth his colour in the cup, when it moveth itself aright. At the last it biteth like a serpent, and stingeth like an adder. Thine eyes shall behold strange women, and thine heart shall utter perverse things. Yea, thou shalt be as he that lieth down in the midst of the sea, or as he that lieth upon the top of a mast. They have stricken me, shalt thou say, and I was not sick; they have beaten me, and I felt it not: when shall I awake? I will seek it yet again.
davidjjackson said: how were you and your Priest able to resolve to the issue with the wine and A A?
Ah .. thanks for the question. I prayed over this a lot. Before my sponsor brought this issue up, I did not question it. I knew, in my heart, that the Eucharist is the body and blood of Christ … It is not a “symbol”. Before becoming a Catechumen in the Orthodox Church, I struggled with this issue before. I even refused the wine at a Lutheran church several years ago when I was attempting AA. But, when I first went to the Orthodox Church and witnessed a liturgy and experienced the Great Entrance and watched all the people partake in the Eucharist, I knew right then and there that I was NOT going take communion until I was baptized and prepared to do so. So, I have spent the last year and a half in my catechesis praying and contemplating this matter. As an alcoholic, I must consider this issue seriously. During my studies with the St. Stephen’s Program, I read Alexander Schmemann’s The Eucharist which really opened my eyes even more to the reality of Holy Communion. Also, I studied in depth the Last Supper accounts of the Synoptics, Paul’s letter to the Corinthians, and Jesus’ long explanation of the Bread of Life and the Vine in John’s Gospel. Plus, I researched the development of the Great Entrance and the interpretation of this as it relates to the sacrament. This year, while I struggled through the first 7 steps of AA (with a full relapse), I knew, without a doubt, that there is no way I could NOT partake in Holy Communion. It is what I was working for this whole time …. it is the sacrament of sacraments …. it is the furthest possible thing from “a drink” …. I discussed this with Fr. Daniel (he was the priest who baptized me) in the Spring and he agreed. So, my mind was made up. Then, right before my baptism, my sponsor (who is studying to be a Presbyterian pastor) says I should not take the communion with the wine, that I should substitute grape juice or something like this. I explained to him my thoughts that there was no question that I would partake in the Eucharist because it is not simply a bit of wine and bread .. that it is the body and blood of our Savior, not symbolically, but truthfully and that the Orthodox Church holds this to be true. He contested with me and, for about a day, I did start to worry …. but, then, through prayer, I realized that I had Faith in Christ and in his Church, that when I go to receive the sacrament of sacraments, that in no way, would my Lord lead me into temptation.
So, this means I must, I absolutely have to, at all times, prepare myself, through fasting and confession and repentance, to receive Holy Communion. If I am in the slightest way not prepared, I should not take it and talk with my Spiritual Father until I am fully prepared. I take this very seriously and I thank God for my alcoholism for this fact. When I go up to the cup … I must be spiritually prepared for this. And, I am happy to say, that I have received the sacrament twice since my baptism (at my baptism and on Sunday’s liturgy) and I am still happily sober!!
Again, sorry for the long reply on this, but I was going to write a post on this anyway. Thanks for the question and interest!
This is the week of my baptism. It is difficult for me to write anything of substance about how I feel or the thoughts rolling through my head. I had a discussion this morning after liturgy with His Eminence, Metropolitan Ambrose, about the baptism. I told him that I wanted everything to be perfect. I mean, because of my relapse during the summer, I messed some relationships up. I’m still dealing with the shame and guilt of it all. He assured me that I have nothing to be ashamed of. Forgiveness has been given by those in the position to give it, he assured me of this. He told me to look forward. That on Saturday, after the baptism, I will be “like a dove”, “white like snow”, and will begin a new life in Christ. I’ve always felt like I was a Christian … but, things are getting really real …. I know .. what a lame way to say that … I just can’t put into words what is I am going through. Ever since starting this blog .. it has been difficult to explain all of this. I’m not sure even why I try to .. it feels right, though.
I am completing the fourth step now and on Friday night I will have my first confession with His Eminence in preparation for the baptism. This will be my fifth step. I’m discussing this with my sponsor and he is in support of this. So, this week, I will finalize my inventory, get it squared away and then …. confess it … it’s all quit nerve racking!
The one thing my sponsor brought up this evening after a meeting was the issue of the wine in the Eucharist. He said, I could not take it. I debated the issue saying that this is not a “drink” .. that this, being the Eucharist, the body and blood of Christ .. the very life blood of the Church, the sacrament of sacraments .. that, there is no question. But, to honor my sponsor, I will discuss this with Fr. Ambrose and see what he has to say about it. In my opinion, I am not afraid … I have faith that when eating the body and blood of Christ … I will not be tempted to “have another”.
So, this is my ramble on this Sunday night, my last Sunday as a Catechumen, six days before the baptism. There are a lot of thoughts running through my head but, my fingers are not fast enough to capture them….
Pray for me, a sinner
My baptism name will be Spyridon … ;)
It is with great joy that I announce my baptism. It will be on September 21st, 2013. For over a year now, I have been a part of the Orthodox Church in Korea as a catechumen. During this year a lot has happened in the way of my faith being strengthened, relationships coming and going, and, if you…