Tomorrow is the first anniversary of my being ordained a Deacon in the Catholic Church. I’m the second generation of Deacons (that’s my father behind me, who was ordained many years ago).
After five years of formation, I was blessed to have the indelible mark of Holy Orders imparted on my soul.
Has this made being a Christian, a God-fearing man, a husband and father, a member and servant of our community any easier?
No, quite the opposite.
Clerics have it the worst. Constant affronts to our sensibilities, constant temptation to abandon service, constant temptation to concupiscence, and constant temptation to renounce it all: to hell with it.
Had I known then what I know now, would I have continued in formation?
Absolutely. I am pressed to do whatever is necessary to ensure my salvation, and the only way I really know how to do that is to serve others, however that comes about.
The important thought here is continuing in formation. Over the past year I’ve read numerous books, gravitating towards zombie fiction but including some commentaries on Aquinas for good measure.
We hear often that “we never stop learning”, but this isn’t really true. Laziness, complacency, and busyness all contribute to getting stuck in the place one is most comfortable. At the beginning of this year, I decided to set the fleece before the Lord and applied to graduate school, at only one school in the country (a conservative Catholic college), just to see if I would be accepted and given a scholarship, without which there is no way I could afford the very expensive tuition.
I’m happy to report that I just finished my first week of graduate school. I’m enrolled at the University of Dallas’ School of Ministry with the intent to obtain a Master’s of Theology in a few years.
My first classes are a study seminar, Liturgy and Sacraments, and Church History. The reading I’ve done so far is fascinating (early Christianity, Sacrosanctum Concilium), but challenging. It’s been more than a decade since I went to college, and the five years of formation consisted of one weekend a month, and were abridged classes.
What do I hope to achieve with an MTS? I have no idea. At the moment I’m focusing on personal edification and an enhanced understanding of Mother Church, which will both hopefully translate into more powerful homilies, better service to others, and most of all, better service to my family.
The state of the diaconate in the Church seems to me to be “unknown” at the moment. Upon its reinstatement after Vatican II, the intention was to ordain younger men with children who were pillars of the community, in order to administer a limited number of sacraments to their peers (or at least it seems to me that was the intention).
However, it’s played out in a much different fashion. In my class of thirty-three, I was the absolute youngest. There was only one other couple that had very young children; everyone else either had teenagers or grandkids.
I’m very interested in discovering more and deepening my understanding of the diaconate during these next few years, and hopefully come to some sort of conclusion about what it is us deacons are supposed to do, and where we stand in the grand scheme of things.