To use words from an old John Mellencamp song: "This is my life, it's what I've chosen to do/There are no free rides, no one said it'd be easy." Clarifying a bit, I am quite certain I could not do what I do if I was not called to do it. The fact that grace builds on nature means that, by definition, it is not cheap. God always solicits and often requires our cooperation. After all, being a deacon is nothing other than agreeing to cooperate with what God is accomplishing in the world through Christ and by the power of the Holy Spirit. The deacon is one who, hearing the call, says, "Here I am. Choose me." In other words, it is of the essence of the diaconate to walk where angels fear to tread.
I have mentioned before that I am slowly reading through the book Ascend: The Catholic Faith for a New Generation. This lovely book was written by two deacons and is really a gift to the church. Among the many things I do as a deacon faith formation is at the top of the list. As a parent, along with my wife, I am the first teacher of my children in the way of faith in Christ, a sacred trust I cannot delegate to anyone else. So, handing on the faith to a new generation is a daily concern of mine. I like very much what Ascend has to say about deacons: "The deacon has three ministries of service. By the ministry of the Word, the deacon preaches, teaches and proclaims the Gospel at liturgy. By the ministry of the Altar, the deacon has certainn duties during liturgy. By the ministry of Love, the deacon has a responsibility to serve the outcast, to help the Christian community serve the outcast, and to welcome the outcast into the Christian community." Especially in light of Glenn Beck's recent and, frankly, silly comment, I like this: "The deacon is ordained for social justice."