Tuesday, 31 January 2012

Deacon? (11) Inclination

Most of the points in this final group fall readily under the headings: - Inclination, Obedience, Marian devotion, and The Eucharist.
There are also a few sentences centred on marriage and celibacy in connection with the diaconate which I will include at the end. They do not belong with the above headings as I have no difficulty in this area; I simply know unflinchingly what I believe and value most and I know that my priorities will always be as they have been thus far.

First, however, in the interests of being as thorough and as honest as possible, I include the following few items. They raise doubts in me, but no feeling great enough to warrant my extending the length of this response by spending time on them, other than to say that being ‘orthodox both in belief and practice’ and being ‘watchful of doctrine’ are bound to be included here when one considers the headings that follow, and that being ordained ‘to radical or complete availability’ will necessarily be included with my thoughts on the weighing of marriage with ordination.

The candidate must be
orthodox both in belief and practice.
educated to a sense of belonging to the body of ordained ministers ...

The deacon is called
to celebrate the Principal Hours, namely, Morning and Evening Prayer. 
to recite as much of the Prayer of the Church as he can. (insofar as his circumstances allow)
                 to strive to assist daily at Mass.  (where possible)
                 to be watchful of doctrine. 

The deacon is ordained
to radical availability.
to devote himself to the Church by means of complete availability. 

The candidate must or should
be inclined toward the ministry.
have won the respect of the clergy and faithful by having lived a truly Christian life for a long time   
         and by showing that his nature and disposition are inclined towards the  ministry.
be accepting of the call of the Church.
              be willing to make a life-long commitment to serve the Church.  

To my mind, an inclination to the ministry could be taken in any one of three ways. 
    1.)  As a legitimate pointer towards a vocation.
    2.)  As indication of a wish to become part of the hierarchy for reasons other than a true vocation.
   3.) Where the inclination is to ministry rather than ‘the ministry’, it would suggest a real will to offer time and help where it may be needed. The precise form of the help would depend on the individual experience, talents, gifts and character of the person so inclined, and their involvement, if to be closely linked with members of a Church community rather than the broader community, would need the approval and at least partial involvement of the relevant ordained priest or deacon.

While not applicable to me, it should of course be hoped that among those with such an inclination there may be people whose willingness might be transformed into a vocation.
Being ‘willing to make a life-long commitment to serve the Church’ goes a long way beyond any simple inclination to ministry within its visible boundaries. It also comes close to involving a requirement of obedience.

About Me

Who I am should be, and should remain, of little consequence to you. Who you are is what matters; who you are meant to be is what should matter most to you. In coming closer to my own true self, I have gradually been filled with the near inexpressible: I have simply become "brim full", and my words to you are drawn from those uttered within myself, as part of an undeniable overflowing that brings a smile to my every dusk, and to my every new dawn.
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