At the 2013 IRL National Meeting this year we were blessed to have the Divine Liturgy celebrated by Abbot Nicholas Zachariadis of Holy Resurrection Monastery in Saint Nazianz, Wisconsin, on Friday night. Graced with the choir from Fr. Thomas Loya’s parish, Annunciation of the Mother of God Byzantine Catholic Parish in Homer Glen, Illinois, it was truly a memorable and inspiring opening to the weekend.
Here is the link to the homily given by Abbot Nicholas courtesy of the Byzantine Forum in which he describes what the “Eastern” tradition can offer to the “Western” or “Latin” tradition, particularly in this time of crisis for Western Civilization when secularism and a do-it-yourself spirituality has infected society to such a large degree.
From my experience, the Eastern-Rite liturgy is dramatic; the words are clear, the sense of mystery is over-powering. The heart and mind can sense and see heavenly realities. Abbot Nicholas said, “Mystery for us is not just what we do in church! It’s how we see everything! Every Christian is part of the hidden life of the Sacred Trinity. Every Christian is a mystic. Being a mystic means being a liturgical being, nothing more. Everything we do is (or ought to be at least!) wrapped in the mystery of the direct experience of God.”
“Let’s think specifically about the Byzantine Liturgy. This liturgy is long, not because we think God begrudges us our time, but because in time we already begin to experience the first inkling of eternity. It is rich in ceremony, not because God wants to dictate our movements, but because our natural human yearning for beauty—whether in color, movement, the scent of incense or whatever—finds fulfillment in our experience of God in the Divine Services.”
Abbot Nicholas believes that the East and West united are essential to the success of the New Evangelization. He concludes, “What is it that we offer? A reminder, perhaps, that mystery, transcendence and the experience of God are not for a few Christians, but for all….Let’s unloose the bonds that hold us back, let’s get to know one another’s strengths, and just see what the Spirit can do!”
Visitors are welcome to Holy Resurrection Monastery. Please visit their website for information and directions.