Saturday, August 20, 2011

From Benedict XVI: Great words for those in formation for ordination

My friend and brother deacon, Greg Kandra, has a wonderful posting today on a sermon delivered by Pope Benedict XVI to a group of seminarians.  As Greg points out, it is a wonderful exhortation for deacon candidates as well, and I am forwarding a copy of it to all of our deacon candidates for this diocese.  Read the entire homily here, but here is a wonderful excerpt.

Dear friends, you are preparing yourselves to become apostles with Christ and like Christ, and to accompany your fellow men and women along their journey as companions and servants.
How should you behave during these years of preparation? First of all, they should be years of interior silence, of unceasing prayer, of constant study and of gradual insertion into the pastoral activity and structures of the Church. A Church which is community and institution, family and mission, the creation of Christ through his Holy Spirit, as well as the result of those of us who shape it through our holiness and our sins. God, who does not hesitate to make of the poor and of sinners his friends and instruments for the redemption of the human race, willed it so. The holiness of the Church is above all the objective holiness of the very person of Christ, of his Gospel and his sacraments, the holiness of that power from on high which enlivens and impels it. We have to be saints so as not to create a contradiction between the sign that we are and the reality that we wish to signify.
Meditate well upon this mystery of the Church, living the years of your formation in deep joy, humbly, clear-mindedly and with radical fidelity to the Gospel, in an affectionate relation to the time spent and the people among whom you live. No one chooses the place or the people to whom he is sent, and every time has its own challenges; but in every age God gives the right grace to face and overcome those challenges with love and realism.

Tuesday, August 9, 2011

Happy Feast Day to My Hero!

My wife and I have just moved again; the original house we rented turned out to have certain, shall we say, issues.  We have now settled into a wonderful new place and I'm back online!

And what a great time to return to the blog!  August 10th is the feast day of the greatest deacon who ever lived, Deacon Lawrence of Rome!  OK, so that's one person's opinion, but consider:

1) Lawrence, when instructed to gather up the treasures of the Church to present to the magistrate, did just that -- he gathered the poor of Rome and presented them as the treasure of the Church!

2) Notice that Lawrence was correctly assumed to be responsible for the temporal goods of the Church -- a longstanding tradition of the Church.

3) Lawrence displays a particularly diaconal sense of humor when he tells his executioner to turn him over because he's done on that side!  Not to mention the wit mentioned above about playing on the term "treasures of the Church."  His rapier wit is seen quite often in his deacon-successors around the world, who frequently take great joy in "tweaking" people and getting them to think and to laugh!  Deacon Larry of Rome would fit in easily with any community of deacons (and wives of deacons) with whom I'm familiar!

4) John Paul II recognized all of this in Lawrence.  During the Jubilee Day for Deacons in 2000, an urn containing the relics of Lawrence was brought to the audience hall from the Basilica of St. Lawrence.  When the pope began his address to us, he gestured to the urn and said, "You were unable to go to Lawrence, dear Deacons, so I had Lawrence brought to you!"

So, dear sainted brother Lawrence, we celebrate your feast with great joy!  Thanks for the inspiration!