Posted by: Shawn Ragan | June 27, 2009

The Countdown, again

My very first post on this blog was titled: “The Countdown.”  Then, I was six weeks away from leaving the pastorate in a Protestant church.  Six weeks away from a major change in our life.

How things have changed and transformed since that first post.  I cannot even begin to describe now vs. then.  My wife has come to faith in Christ, probably for the first time.  Our lives have radically changed.  Some of it has been harder, but all of it has been better.

Here we are again, approaching another major event.  When I first started to write this post a week ago, we were six weeks away again.  As of today, we are now five weeks away.  Five weeks away from another major event, an even greater countdown than the one I began this blog with.

Five weeks from today, August 1st, our family, my wife, my kids, and I, will be baptized and received into the “One Holy Apostolic and Catholic Church.”  In five weeks, through triple immersion, we will, Lord willing, be Chrismated and receive the Eucharist for the first time as Eastern Orthodox Christians – as communicants.

A few weeks ago, I prayed a prayer of St. Ephraim the Syrian (who will be my patron Saint), about approaching communion.  The prayer was a pre-communion prayer so I considered not saying it, but we are approaching that day, and we do ask that God prepare us for it.  This may be hard for some to understand, but it is in a way frightening to consider what is coming.  Five weeks from now, Lord willing…



  1. looking forward to seeing you and Tori. I will be in Boise on Friday through Tuesday, July 10-14. However, my mother will be with us from Sat eve through Tues, so that time is out. I’d love to visit with you on Friday or Saturday, daytime. Think we can do it?
    BTW, which prayer of Ephraim are you thinking of, that is a pre-communion prayer?

  2. Fr. Patrick,

    That Friday or Saturday will be fine. Let us know when you would like to meet, and we will be available. We look forward to seeing you as well.

    It is one of the “Spiritual Psalms” of St. Ephraim, #111 in “A Spiritual Psalter”

    111: To the Theotokos – A Confession of Her Perpetual Virginity and a Prayer to Partake Worthily of the Holy Mysteries.

    An excerpt: “I am a mire of filth and sin, a dwelling place of soul-corrupting passions. Yet I intend to approach the all-pure and terrifying Mysteries of thy Son and God, and therefore do I suffer fear, and trembling embraces me because of the unbearable multitude of my sins.

    “But if ever I am to remain without communion on the pretext of my unworthiness, then shall I fall into a great abyss of evil and bring upon myself great chastisement. I anguish over both the first alternative and the second.

    “To thee do I run; be kind to me, my all-pure Lady….Vouchsafe me to be made pure and enlightened by communion of the Mysteries, and show me how to spend the remainder of my life in repentance, purity and humility.”

    -St. Ephraim the Syrian

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