Diaconal Musings…

The next training program for the Permanent Diaconate in the Diocese of Scranton should be starting up soon, and this has left me in a contemplative mood.

I’d talked about this to my family, and although everyone is supportive, I think we all — myself especially — are nervous about what kind of changes and demands this will make upon us. Not just the demands of living a dual vocation, but the demands of training for it as well. One Deacon told me that the preparation and classes seemed more demanding on his time and priorities that his actual service.

I’ve been reading a lot on topics related to formation and the Diaconate. I especially enjoyed the latest issue of America Magazine published by the Jesuits.

There remain some fears and questions about the unknown that I can’t answer right now. These things sit in my view as obstacles, really. And so, I have placed them in God’s hands with a sigh of resignation. In prayer, I said, “Look — if this is what you ask of me, if this is part of some vast eternal plan — YOU’RE going to have to resolve these problems. I just can’t, they’re out of my hands.”

Sitting there silently, I suppose I got an answer. It was my own voice, my own thoughts welling up with surprising wisdom. Has that ever happened to you? My voice said, ” ‘I am Holy, so you must be holy’. I’ll remove those obstacles in my own way, but YOU have to ASK me to do it. You have to pray more frequently. I do not want this for you if you do not want to be holy.”

Hmmm. In the Byzantine Rite somewhere in the liturgy (forgvive me I can’t recall) the Deacon chants “Holy things to the Holy.” In Revelation, the angels are recorded as chanting “Holy, Holy, Holy Lord…” before the throne of God. I read somewhere that Hebrew has no adjectives, and the 3 times repetition of Holy here meant “really really holy”. I think that it’s not enough that I try to pray for guidance and things. It’s not enough that I try to have the discipline to say the Liturgy of the hours. As Yoda said, “Do, or Do Not. There is no try.”

If I want to answer this call, I have to prove that I want to embrace it wholeheartedly, and order my thoughts and actions accordingly. ¬†Another wise Deacon told me, “Ordination to the permanent diaconate is a kind of recognition of the vocation that was already in practice.”

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