Preparing the Way of the Lord–A Deacon’s Guide

As a part of our ministerial responsibilities, Deacons need to assist the faithful in preparing their hearts for the coming of Jesus in their lives; particularly during the Advent Season. The Evangelist, St. Matthew, sites St. John the Baptist when he tells us that we must “show evidence” of our repentance by the fruit we bear.  So, the need for Catholics to conduct themselves faithfully means that their mission is to go beyond faith and perform works that prepare for the Great Harvest.

But another couple of questions comes to mind as I reflect on the Advent Season. How do we as Deacons prepare ourselves for the Coming of Our Lord?  And do Deacons have different, more urgent responsibilities given the many talents received through ordination?  I would guess, the answer to the first will vary depending on where each of us are in our own spirituality.  The answer to the second is probably “yes”.

Deacons must be cognizant of where they are in their spiritual lives and balance their time with family, ministry and work. Personally, there are times in my own life when I get so wrapped up in my ministry and responsibilities at home that I miss out on opportunities to be present to God and allow Him to speak directly to me.  If I don’t give Him time with me in prayer, how do I know what he wants for me in my life and how do I know how to respond to His Call for me?

How many times, I have foregone an hour in Adoration or simply a time of silent reflection to get “things” done at work, church or home! Yet, I know that in order to call others to prayer and preparation, I need to be in a place that is able to light a spark within the hearts of the faithful. This spark that gets ignited should be the fruits we bear as Deacons and should call others to their own ministry. This can only be done effectively if the Deacon is a man of prayer AND dedicated to the Sacraments.

As a servant of the servants of Christ, Deacons are often aggressive in their ministries, including the ministry of service.  Let us be ready to answer the allegation from St. John the Baptist to the Scribes and Pharisees of his day. What good fruits are we able to show Our Lord that we are repentant sinners and are answering the call to what he is preparing for us when He comes in Glory?  Truly, part of the fruits we bear is the dedication we have to our diaconal obligations.  But I wonder sometimes, if some of the fruits are from the works and will of people we have challenged to prepare for the infant King of kings?

Summarily, the fruits we bear depend very much on the prayerful exchange we have with Our Lord and how we respond to His Voice as He calls us to ministry.  But it is also to the seeds we plant in the hearts of those who hear His Voice from our mouths.

Certainly, I welcome any feedback or comments from my brother Deacons.

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