The Same Feeling of Time Filled with Eternity and Joy

The Same Feeling of Time Filled with Eternity and Joy

The Same Feeling

Yesterday, on the train coming back from Wilmington, Delaware, I thought: “Here I am, fifty-two years old, a priest and a theologian for more than a quarter of a century—what does it all mean? How can I put together, how can I explain to myself what it all implies, clearly and distinctly; and is such a clarification needed?”

Twenty-five years ago, when my life such as it is now was just beginning, it seemed to me that, either today or maybe tomorrow, I would sit down, think a little, and sore it all out. I thought I just had to find some leisure. But after twenty-five years, when without any doubt the greater part of my life is over, there is less clarity than ever.

What is there to “explain”? The surprising combination in me of a deep and ever-growing revulsion at endless discussions and debates about religion, at superficial affirmations, pious emotionalism and certainly against pseudo-churchly interests, petty and trifling, and at the same time an ever-growing sense of reality. Just yesterday, I felt this reality while walking to church for the Liturgy, in the early morning, through the emptiness of winter trees; and then this precious hour in the empty church, before the Liturgy. Always the same feeling of time filled with eternity, with full and sacred joy. I have the feeling that church is needed so that this experience of reality would exist. Where the church ceases to be a symbol, a sacrament, it becomes a hor­rible caricature of itself.

Monday, January 29, 1973
The journals of Father Alexander Schmemann, 1973-1983
translated by Juliana Schmemann.

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