The Deacon's Bench

The Deacon's Bench


“They have been found worthy…”

posted by jmcgee
20091029-11.jpg
A newly ordained deacon at the North American College in Rome is sharing his reflections on his vocation, and the experience of receiving Holy Orders. He begins by mentioning his pre-ordination retreat. 

Snip:

I brought a copy of the ordination rite with me on the retreat, and each day for one hour I would consider a different aspect of it. One of the expressions that I hear often, and which I myself have used over and over again, is that no one feels “worthy” to receive ordination at the hands of the Church–that the gift the Church sees fit to bestow on her sons is somehow too much. In many ways, standing before the prospect of ordination makes one feel a bit like King Belshazzar reading the writing on the wall: “you have been weighed in the balances and found wanting” (Dan 5:27). This “unworthiness” is a real experience of many men, perhaps even all, at ordination.

So my experience of praying over the ordination rite during the retreat was all the more surprising. At the beginning of the ordination rite itself, which comes after the Gospel, is a dialogue between the ordaining bishop and the rector of the seminary. Between the two of these men, the will of the Church is expressed.

This is what is said:

Rector: Most Reverend Father, holy Mother Church asks you to ordain these men, our brothers, to the responsibility of the diaconate.

Bishop: Do you know them to be worthy?

Rector: After inquiry among the Christian people and upon the recommendation of those responsible, I testify that they have been found worthy.

Bishop: Relying on the help of the Lord God and our Savior Jesus Christ, we choose these, our brothers, for the Order of the Diaconate.

You will note that the ordination candidate has nothing to do with this dialogue. This is a dialogue among the Church herself: the one with the power to ordain is conferring with the one delegated the responsibility to prepare, evaluate, and discern the vocations of the candidates to determine publicly whether or not the candidate has truly been chosen by God. It is an incredible moment!

Look at the words: “they have been found worthy.” I realized on my retreat that, even though I may feel subjectively unworthy of so high an honor, the Church will declare me worthy, and so I resolved at that moment to stop trying to express my unworthiness and start trying to understand and to receive the Church’s judgment.

Read the rest. It’s rich food for thought.

 


Advertisement
Comments read comments(1)
post a comment
white tiger

posted November 12, 2010 at 10:49 pm


Does “worthy” include “qualified”?
One wonders how many of those “ordained” meet the NT requirements:
I Tim.3.8-12:” Grave, not double tongued, not given to much wine, not greedy of filthy lucre, holding the mystery of the faith in a pure conscience; tried and proved; the husbands of one wife; ruling their children and their own houses well.”
That disqualifies all the single guys, the ones with rotten kids, the ones with rebellious wives, the drunks, the untested…the Hans Kung, Thomas Merton, and mystic types; doesn’t it?



report abuse
 

Post a Comment

By submitting these comments, I agree to the beliefnet.com terms of service, rules of conduct and privacy policy (the "agreements"). I understand and agree that any content I post is licensed to beliefnet.com and may be used by beliefnet.com in accordance with the agreements.



Previous Posts

This blog is no longer active
This blog is no longer being actively updated. Please feel free to browse the archives or: Read our most popular inspiration blog See our most popular inspirational video Take our most popular quiz

posted 10:42:40pm Dec. 12, 2010 | read full post »

One day more
A reminder: "The Deacon's Bench" is closed! Please enjoy the archives!

posted 11:26:20pm Dec. 11, 2010 | read full post »

Meet Montana's married priest
Earlier this week, I posted an item about Montana getting its first married priest. Now a local TV station has hopped on the bandwagon. Take a look, below.

posted 10:29:55pm Dec. 11, 2010 | read full post »

Big day in the Big Easy: 10 new deacons
Deacon Mike Talbot has the scoop: 10 men today were ordained as Permanent Deacons for the Archdiocese of New Orleans. This group of men was formally selected on the day the evacuation of New Orleans began as Hurricane Katrina approached. The immediate aftermath of the storm for this class would be

posted 6:55:42pm Dec. 11, 2010 | read full post »

Gaudete! And let's break out a carol or two...
"Gesu Bambino," anyone? This is one of my favorites, and nobody does it better than these gals: Kathleen Battle and Frederica von Staade. Enjoy.

posted 1:04:10pm Dec. 11, 2010 | read full post »




Report as Inappropriate

You are reporting this content because it violates the Terms of Service.

All reported content is logged for investigation.