Saturday, March 20, 2010

Deacon Dad

I am spending my early morning with my little boys today. It is fun and energetic. It is also very nice because of the busy week I had at work and at the parish. I have been thinking a lot this week about fatherhood and diaconate. They are mutually reinforcing, not mutually exclusive. In other words, being a Dad makes me a better deacon and being a deacon makes me a better Dad. It is one of the surest signs of grace in my life, flowing from the sacraments of matrimony and holy orders. Don't get me wrong, my life is busy sometimes to the point of near exhaustion, like the past two weeks. It is a good kind of being tired, a kind that fills me with gratitude and awe.

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.

My oldest son and I at his confirmation in 2008

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."

Meum cum sim pulvis et cinis


  1. Scott - this is beautiful. Prayers for you and your family, for you and your ministry. We are blessed as church to have you in our midst, speaking from the wider church since I am far from you and we have never met! Yet we worship in faith and hope together, thanks be to God.

  2. Fran- Thank you. I cannot tell you how much I value your friendship even though, as with Greg, we have never met. Your support means so very much to me. The same is true of you, a minister of the Gospel, who teaches, preaches, serves with such a passion. Indeed, we serve the same One.