Thursday, 26 January 2012

Deacon? (4) Discernment

Those who are truly called to the Diaconate will emerge, for the most part, from among these Christians who find themselves persistently and undeniably distracted and whispered to in all aspects of their lives. They are out there somewhere, as testified to by the numbers ordained over the last forty years, but I firmly believe there is more than the strengthening and numerical building up of the order of deacons at stake here.

Few would make the mistake of regarding most Christians at this stage of their faith journey as being future deacons, but the almost automatic acceptance of what is in fact the other half of that same wrong assumption is, I believe, a far greater, very real and far more frequently made mistake. It is that many, if not the majority of those who are not so called will allow any diffuse or intermittent sense of enthusiasm and potential involvement to slip away to nothing as though it had never been. A belief that they will “allow” this to happen is likely to carry an automatic implication that it is entirely their own decision; their own lack of commitment; their own wishful thinking; their own wish to appear willing without having to actually get involved. If any thought of blame came into it, it would be seen as entirely their fault.
But where is the real appreciation of three facts that are too frequently overlooked by nearly all of us? – that each of us has a gift of some kind that is not only of use but is needed within Christ’s Church; that most of us have yet to realize what our own gifts are; and that many people, however gifted, will appear to “allow” their potential to fade from sight when they feel wanted or needed only in areas with no connection with their own gifts.
I believe there is more going on within the Church, in its local communities, and within individual hearts and minds than we are prepared to recognize, let alone seriously consider; and any degree of collective agreement and acceptance leading to tentative steps toward compliance with the guidance and promptings of the Holy Spirit will be impossible without an appreciation of those pre-existing facts. Recognition and subsequent serious consideration are worthwhile only when the truth has been at least partly captured from amid the myriad distractions and fears, and rescued from our frequently all-but insurmountable resistance to change.

Discernment is such a frighteningly powerful word.
Without the reality behind its meaning we cannot move a single step in the certain knowledge of its being in the right direction. In the mouths of all it is proclaimed as essential, and rightly so.  In the mouths of some it is declared as having been used and acted upon, but such mouths are frequently those of individuals self-proclaiming their own giftedness (real or not) in this area, and frequently also in the fields of prophecy and healing.
In spite of my own constant feeling that discernment by large groups of holy, gifted and knowledgeable people within the Church is hampered by their own awareness of the enormity of what they represent – not just Christ’s Church in the present, but the whole of its past, and its entire future as seen from today’s viewpoint – I do have faith in the process and in their ability to discern where the Spirit of Christ is trying to lead the Church and all who are bound within it.

I long for The Synod on The New Evangelization for the Transmission of the Christian Faith, set for October this year, to shed the weight of its felt responsibility, and thus to dwell entirely within the reality of its only true and actual responsibility: the discernment, the recognition, the serious consideration and acceptance of – and ultimately compliance with – today’s leading of the Holy Spirit for the world as it is today.
Is not each of these apparent stages in the process merely a necessity born of our human limitations? Surely, for those who truly do have this gift and who are in a living relationship with God, these stages should not be regarded as absolute necessities for discernment, which should be straightforward, and readily and fruitfully exercised through an immersion in its divine simplicity? – an immersion that involves being able to listen and hear in ways unpolluted by either external or internal influences of a purely ‘human’ nature.

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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