The Calling of a Deacon
By David Fleck
Director, Office of the Diaconate
Jesus Christ has always been, always is and always will be consistent in who he is, what he does and what he says. The voice of Christ calls as clearly and intimately to individuals today as it did to the apostles who were first at his side. Throughout history, Christ has called forth people to be of service to his Church in the world and to be witnesses of the truth of salvation found only in him.
There is one call universal to all: the call to holiness. The voice of Jesus Christ calls. His voice is found in the holy scriptures, in the sacred teachings of his Church and it is found most intimately in the sacred stirrings of the human heart. This is a great mystery and one not to be taken lightly. Christ invites us to a fullness of life which, prior to his incarnation, was unimaginable.
For all Christians, this new life begins with baptism. Through baptism we as Christians are given every gift necessary to lead a life worthy of the invitation. We are not worthy, and yet he calls. In and through our baptism, Christ extends a further invitation to each of us. He calls everyone to a unique state in life. Some are called to holy matrimony, others to be his witness as a single person, a consecrated religious brother or sister, or a priest. And some are called to be his witness as a deacon. This additional calling, which sprouts from the fountain of one’s baptism, is also unmerited and is as unique and personal as the individual being called.
Those that Christ calls to the diaconate often encounter two main influences as they ponder the possibility of becoming a deacon. The first is more concrete, in that they are very often approached by someone who says, “Have you ever thought about becoming a deacon?” There is often this external invitation voiced to them by another (a fellow parishioner or a pastor for example). Secondly, there begins to grow within them, an inexplicable stirring of their heart toward a life of service in the Church, modeled after Christ, who came, “to serve, not to be served”.
For one who feels they may be called to be a deacon, pray! Spend time in silent prayer, especially in the presence of the Blessed Sacrament, and ask God to direct you in this matter. Talk it over with your family, especially with your spouse if you are married. Speak to your pastor about it, and seek out the assistance of those in the Office of the Diaconate who are there to help people discern a potential calling.
Christ is certainly calling each one of us to a life of holiness and joy rooted in him and the service given to those around us. For those who are hearing his voice to be of service as a deacon, let the words of Christ himself sustain you, “Be not afraid!” “It is I who have chosen you.”