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Further Up and Further In: a few words to a new convert

On Holy Saturday we were blessed to witness the reception of five catechumens into Holy Orthodoxy. Something like these words went through my mind.

Elder Sophrony of thrice-blessed memory once said “It takes twenty years to become Orthodox.” When my wife and I reached the twentieth anniversary of our reception into the Church, we told each other, tongue-in-cheek, “We’ve made it!”

We were joking.

First, if you have been Orthodox for only a few minutes, and the Holy Chrism is still fragrant on your body, you are fully Orthodox right now, as fully Orthodox as the Elder himself, entitled beyond any merits of your own to partake of Christ’s very Body and Blood.

Second, Orthodoxy is bottomless. After twenty years and more, we are only beginning to know the inexhaustible riches of Christ’s Holy Church. But from the very beginning, the Church has been there, feeding us, guiding us, forgiving us our countless sins, and leading us onward toward the union with God that will be our salvation.

It’s a journey, one that fulfills us from the very beginning, one that never grows old.