looking for space

by Andrea Elizabeth

I have been reminded by a couple of people this week that the Church has never really enjoyed a blissful earthly existence. Our greatest Saints are those who had their tongues cut out  by the Church and who died in exile. They never rejected the Church, however, even in the midst of personal persecution. These stories are common knowledge, but I think the common perception, at least in my case, is that these Saints endured in order to fix problems and to define the faith once and for all in the Seven Ecumenical Councils so that we can rest in their accomplishments. I think some of Orthodox propaganda perpetuates that myth, “Come and see the Church that Jesus built.” Yes the faith has been preserved and revealed in the Orthodox Church through their struggles, but when one enters, one does not find that all is accomplished. One still has to battle for one’s salvation and sadly, become disillusioned with the leaders. Even if one or two of them are Saints, that’s not impossible, one may have an idealistic view of what a Saint is. Some Saints are that because of one extraordinary act. The rest of their acts may have been less than ideal. I sometimes have the notion that Saints sinned when they were young, but that they got over it. Maybe some of them keep sinning. But I don’t feel qualified to declare new Saints anymore. The opposite outlook sees corruption everywhere. I think this is just as deluded. I don’t know how much should be put up with, but right now, I just need to back off of my expectations and let them go. Trying to justify them  isn’t working for me either. I just need some space to deal with reality.