Faith getting weaker.

edited January 2010 in Faith Issues
About a year ago it seemed like coptic orthodoxy for me was the way to go, the only way to go, and my faith in this churchwas literally unshakeable. Ive noticed that my faith is getting weaker, and its starting to worry me. Whats bothering me is some teachings of the orthodox church..

The first is the most important, and that is, the Body and Blood of our Lord in the communion. This was NEVER an issue for me, and using scripture I can argue very well that Jesus REALLY DID MEAN that the bread and wine became his body and blood. On the other hand, you can argue that he wasnt being literal. Some of the greatest christians and christian scholars arent orthodox, those who have PH.D in hebrew languages and greek dont believe Jesus meant his real body and blood. But like I said, I myself can agrue that he DID really mean it. Whats really bothering me is how its treated in church, abouna accidently may drops a crumb every once in a while, a child may spit out some of the blood one in a while, 98.5% of the people taking communion take it unworthily, 98.5% take communion like its just a Hobby, a LOT of the priests ive seen, seem really bored themselves during liturgy like there repeating words in vein. Paul himself says whoever takes communion unworthily will be guilty of the body and blood of christ.. So, according to Paul, LITERALLY almost every coptic orthodox person will be condemned.

The second thing is our liturgies, our liturgies I believe are BEAUTIFUL, but almost all the hymns are in a language that NO ONE BUT SOME OF THE DEACONS UNDERSTAND. According to Paul, we are NOT suppose to speak in a language that the congregation is ignorant of, yet we coptics do so because we really like the coptic language. It almost seems as if we care more about preserving an ancient language that praising God. Almost the entire congregation is half asleep the entire time or just day dreaming, what is suppose to be the "congregation response" is actually just "deacons responding". The altar, which is as HOLY as the HOLY of HOLIES in the old testament because its the place where God dwells and in the old testament ONLY Moses could enter the Holy of Holies, we have little kids walking in and out of the holiest place in the church, playing games in the altar, laughing in the altar.

The Coptic Church is Beautiful, but these things are disgusting, I can be honest in saying I have never in my life attended ONE LITURGY in which i felt the entire congregation, or even half, was worshipping. Whereas you look at the protestants and you rarely find one person sitting down, but everyone jumping in gladness. I dissagree with alot of protestant teachings, and would never convert, but, it looks like the population of heaven will be more protestant than orthodox


  • Hello Meena_Ameen,

    Allow me to start by saying... God be with you. If you did not care to discover the truth, you would not have posted and this would not have been a bothersome topic for you, but it is important for you, and for that, may God bless you.

    I would like to take your points one by one so that we may learn and grow with one another, brothers in Christ seeking Truth and our salvation. We know that the Bible is not subject to one man's personal interpretation. The commentary that has been provided to us on the Scriptures and its truth has been given to us by men who are guided by the Holy Spirit. They need not be men who are scholars in Hebrew and Greek; their education comes from God, their enlightenment by the Holy Spirit. Indeed, let us look at the disciples themselves, who were not scholars and men who had PhD.'s, but rather, fishermen. Even a superficial reading of one of the Catholic epistles will show their understanding of proper theology and what it is that truly makes a Christian.

    Do not let what you perceive to be disrespectful actions of a few people reflect on the entire Church. The proper role of the deacon who stands with the bishop or priest during communion is to be incredibly conscious of the Body of Christ, aware of each "crumb,"  as you say, to ensure that not even a bit of the Body is dropped. To say that people partake of the Mysteries unworthily is a matter of judgment, and we must shield ourselves from such things. Firstly, we must recall that the Church is a hospital where we should recognize ourselves as people who are sick. If a person had to be completely perfect to partake of the Mysteries, no one would ever take communion. Christ did not intend that to happen. We must recognize our unworthiness, but not to the point of preventing ourselves from taking the Mysteries, unless it is deemed as such by our fathers of confession. Yes, some people do not recognize the reason why they are taking the Body and Blood of Christ, but do not let this shake your faith. It is at times as these that we are to pray for the souls of our brothers and sisters in Christ, that they may become enlightened in the truth, and also, that we ourselves may become strengthened in our faith. Again, in terms of your saying that some priests "seem bored"... this is not a matter for us but for God. I cannot read a man's heart, so I can not say if someone is "bored" or "interested" in something like this.

    St. John Climacus writes in step 18 in the Ladder of Divine Ascent that the "tyrant and evil doer (being Satan) said to him (St. John): 'My subjects laugh when they see corpses. When they stand at prayer, they are completely stony, hard and darkened. When they see the holy altar they feel nothing; when they partake of the Gift, it is as if they had eaten ordinary bread." We find in these lines not only the things which we view as being characteristic of those around us but also ourselves. These characteristics are attributed to those who are subject to Satan. Pray that God may help strengthen all of us in our battle against the wiles of the enemy that we may learn to pray fervently, to respect the altar and the Church with all of our hearts, to truly believe in the Mysteries of the Church, even though we may not rationally understand them.

    As far as the language of the liturgical services... yes, there is a language barrier that may prevent people from understanding what it is that they are participating in. As such, there has been a push in some parishes to have the liturgical services said in the language that is most understandable to the congregation. Even with this in place, people still may appear to be "asleep" or "day dreaming" as you say. This is not to say that it is not effective to have the liturgical services done in a language that is understandable to the congregation; the Church may do all it can to make its teachings accessible to the congregation, but it is up to each individual to choose whether or not they wish to learn. There's an old adage that says "you can lead a horse to water, but you can't force it to drink."

    Again, as for who will be in Paradise, this is not up to us. There have been previous posts discussing this matter, and I encourage you to read them.

    Leave the things that are out of your control up to God, and take those things which have been given to you from God and put them safely into your heart. You have received a blessing; protect that as well as you can.

    God be with us all,
  • childoforthodoxy 

    I thank God that He guided you to write this post. God bless you 
  • I couldn't have said it better myself  :)

    God bless you all!

  • Out of all the posts on tasbeha, I'd say this is probably the best question and answer I have read yet.. Nice work childoforthodoxy!

  • Thank you so much childoforthodoxy for your response, it was exactly what I needed to hear, God Bless you!
  • Hi Meena,

    You make valid points.

    I'm in no way judging you; but this is just my feeling: if you are in doubt that this is the True Body and True Blood of Christ, then you should tell this to your FoC before taking it.

    This is a contentious issue between us and many protestant churches who say the same as you: "that where in the Bible does it say that the apostles should do the same as Christ in giving communion"?

    The protestants say/argue that Christ said "Do this in remembrance of me"; and it doesn't mean that by doing it, we are actually eating the Body and Blood of Christ.

    Jesus did not say “think about this in remembrance of me” to those who want to be saved by their sentiments, or “understand this in remembrance of me,” - in the hope of saving someone by their intelligence. The words "Do this in remembrance of Me" is reenact this in remembrance of Me.

    Christ insists that to be raised and have eternal life, condition is placed on eating His Life Giving Body and Blood.

    You say you love your Church, but you forget that the only good thing about your "Coptic Church" is that it is Orthodox: so, they've done all the thinking for you. It is an apostolic church. OK, st Mark wasn't an apostle, but being an "evangelist" - I think it is safe to say we got the right teachings from the best person for the job. Especially, considering that the Holy Communion, the last supper took place IN St. Mark's House!!

    Given the fact that Christ says many times that He who eats My Body and drinks My Blood will have eternal life, I would suggest that He clearly meant the apostles to reenact this in remembrance of Him. i.e. that when they do it, they are also giving to others the True Body and Blood of Christ.

    Now, for the question of "language" - Coptic Language - it was discussed in this forum endlessly. Why don't you attend an English speaking mass and leave the Coptic mass to those who speak Coptic?

    If you find yourself day dreaming during the mass, i would suggest an early morning english mass that is brief and has no coptic so you can benefit from just praying and participating in the Holy Liturgy.

    Hope that helps
  • Dear Meena_Ameen,  :)

    i have a terrible feeling that im prob the kind of person u c getting distracted in the Liturgy.  I tend to day dream or sometimes think about other things or even chat a little.  i kno it is wrong but it i find it difficult to stay focused 4 the whole service. anyway, just thought i'd let u kno that some of the daydreamed+distracted (like me) really love Christ so very much+for a few minutes each Liturgy our hearts r really with Him. i didnt realise that looking distracted can affect my brothers+sister so much.. im sorry.

    also, i thot i'd write a message about the Eucharist too.. (i kno please forgive the irony..) one of the things i like about Orthodox Christianity is that everything that is at the heart of it, is passed down from the apostles and the holy church fathers.  So i googled 'Eucharist and Early church fathers' and found lots of their words.. unfortunately i found so much i hav 5 pages worth of beautiful writings by them! but i'll just write some of the ealiest ones+mayb a few of my favourites  :P

    St Justin Martyr, born 100-114 AD and died 162-168 AD.
    "This food we call the Eucharist, of which no one is allowed to partake except one who believes that the things we teach are true, and has received the washing for forgiveness of sins and for rebirth, and who lives as Christ handed down to us. For we do not receive these things as common bread or common drink; but as Jesus Christ our Savior being incarnate by God's Word took flesh and blood for our salvation, so also we have been taught that the food consecrated by the Word of prayer which comes from him, from which our flesh and blood are nourished by transformation, is the flesh and blood of that incarnate Jesus."
    "First Apology", Ch. 66, inter AD 148-155.

    St Irenaeus of Lyons, (c. 130-202 AD). He was a disciple of Polycarp of Smyrna, who himself was a disciple of the Apostle John the Theologian.
    "So then, if the mixed cup and the manufactured bread receive the Word of God and become the Eucharist, that is to say, the Blood and Body of Christ, which fortify and build up the substance of our flesh, how can these people claim that the flesh is incapable of receiving God's gift of eternal life, when it is nourished by Christ's Blood and Body and is His member? As the blessed apostle says in his letter to the Ephesians, 'For we are members of His Body, of His flesh and of His bones' (Eph. 5:30). He is not talking about some kind of 'spiritual' and 'invisible' man, 'for a spirit does not have flesh and bones' (Lk. 24:39). No, he is talking of the organism possessed by a real human being, composed of flesh and nerves and bones. It is this which is nourished by the cup which is His Blood, and is fortified by the bread which is His Body. The stem of the vine takes root in the earth and eventually bears fruit, and 'the grain of wheat falls into the earth' (Jn. 12:24), dissolves, rises again, multiplied by the all-containing Spirit of God, and finally after skilled processing, is put to human use. These two then receive the Word of God and become the Eucharist, which is the Body and Blood of Christ"
    "Five Books on the Unmasking and Refutation of the Falsely Named Gnosis". Book 5:2, 2-3, circa 180 AD

    “For just as the bread which comes from the earth, having received the invocation of God, is no longer ordinary bread, but the Eucharist, consisting of two realities, earthly and heavenly, so our bodies, having received the Eucharist, are no longer corruptible, because they have the hope of the resurrection."
    -"Five Books on the Unmasking and Refutation of the Falsely named Gnosis". Book 4:18 4-5, circa 180 AD

    St Ignatius of Antioch, (probably died AD 107) was the 3rd bishop of Antioch, after the Apostle Peter and Euodios.
    “Be careful to observe [only] one Eucharist; for there is only one Flesh of our Lord Jesus Christ and one cup of union with His Blood, one altar of sacrifice, as [there is] one bishop with the presbyters and my fellow servants the deacons.”
    "breaking one bread that is the medicine of immortality and the antidote against dying that offers life for all in Jesus Christ"
    -Epistle to the Philadelphians

    St Cyril of Jerusalem, (315-386 AD).
    "`I have received of the Lord that which I also delivered unto you, that the Lord Jesus, the same night in which He was betrayed, took bread, etc. [1 Cor. 11:23]'. This teaching of the Blessed Paul is alone sufficient to give you a full assurance concerning those Divine Mysteries, which when ye are vouchsafed, ye are of (the same body) [Eph 3:6] and blood with Christ. For he has just distinctly said, (That our Lord Jesus Christ the same night in which He was betrayed, took bread, and when He had given thanks He brake it, and said, Take, eat, this is My Body: and having taken the cup and given thanks, He said, Take, drink, this is My Blood.) [1 Cor. 2:23-25] Since then He Himself has declared and said of the Bread, (This is My Body), who shall dare to doubt any longer? And since He has affirmed and said, (This is My Blood), who shall ever hesitate, saying, that it is not His blood?
    -"Catechetical Lectures [22 (Mystagogic 4), 1]

    "Therefore with fullest assurance let us partake as of the Body and Blood of Christ: for in the figure of Bread is given to thee His Body, and in the figure of Wine His Blood; that thou by partaking of the Body and Blood of Christ, mightest be made of the same body and the same blood with Him. For thus we come to bear Christ in us, because His Body and Blood are diffused through our members; thus it is that, according to the blessed Peter, (we become partaker of the divine nature.) [2 Peter 1:4]-"Catechetical Lectures [22 (Mystagogic 4), 3]

    "Contemplate therefore the Bread and Wine not as bare elements, for they are, according to the Lord's declaration, the Body and Blood of Christ; for though sense suggests this to thee, let faith stablish thee. Judge not the matter from taste, but from faith be fully assured without misgiving, that thou hast been vouchsafed the Body and Blood of Christ.
    -"Catechetical Lectures [22 (Mystagogic 4), 6]"

    St Ephraim the Syrian, (born 306 AD and died 373-379 AD)
    "Our Lord Jesus took in His hands what in the beginning was only bread; and He blessed it, and signed it, and made it holy in the name of the Father and in the name of the Spirit; and He broke it and in His gracious kindness He distributed it to all His disciples one by one. He called the bread His living Body, and did Himself fill it with Himself and the Spirit.,
    And extending His hand, He gave them the Bread which His right hand had made holy: 'Take, all of you eat of this; which My word has made holy. Do not now regard as bread that which I have given you; but take, eat this Bread, and do not scatter the crumbs; for what I have called My Body, that it is indeed. One particle from its crumbs is able to sanctify thousands and thousands, and is sufficient to afford life to those who eat of it. Take, eat, entertaining no doubt of faith, because this is My Body, and whoever eats it in belief eats in it Fire and Spirit. But if any doubter eat of it, for him it will be only bread. And whoever eats in belief the Bread made holy in My name, if he be pure, he will be preserved in his purity; and if he be a sinner, he will be forgiven.' But if anyone despise it or reject it or treat it with ignominy, it may be taken as certainty that he treats with ignominy the Son, who called it and actually made it to be His Body.",
    -"Homilies" 4,4 ca.. 350 AD,
    "After the disciples had eaten the new and holy Bread, and when they understood by faith that they had eaten of Christ's body, Christ went on to explain and to give them the whole Sacrament. He took and mixed a cup of wine. The He blessed it, and signed it, and made it holy, declaring that it was His own Blood, which was about to be poured out….Christ commanded them to drink, and He explained to them that the cup which they were drinking was His own Blood: 'This is truly My Blood, which is shed for all of you. Take, all of you, drink of this, because it is a new covenant in My Blood, As you have seen Me do, do you also in My memory. Whenever you are gathered together in My name in Churches everywhere, do what I have done, in memory of Me. Eat My Body, and drink My Blood, a covenant new and old.",
    -"Homilies" 4,6 ca. 350 AD

    i wish i cud writ them all!! but fear not - definitely not today.. :P so will just tell u there is some more by St. Gregory of Nyssa, St. John Chrysostom, St Augustine of Hippo, St. Athanasius of Alexandria, St Clement of Alexandria and St. Cyril of Alexandria (+prob many more)

    tc and God bless u!
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