Thursday, March 9, 2017
Youcat commented through CCC – Question n. 255 - Part II.
(Youcat answer - repeated) In diaconal ordination the candidate is appointed to a special service within the sacrament of Holy Orders. For he represents Christ as the one who came, “not to be served but to serve, and to give his life as a ransom for many” (Mt 20:28). In the liturgy of ordination we read: “As a minister of the Word, of the altar, and of charity, [the deacon] will make himself a servant to all.”
A deepening through CCC
(CCC 1570) Deacons share in Christ's mission and grace in a special way (Cf. Lumen gentium, 41; Apostolicam actuositatem, 16). The sacrament of Holy Orders marks them with an imprint (“character") which cannot be removed and which configures them to Christ, who made himself the "deacon" or servant of all (Cf. Mk 10:45; Lk 22:27; St. Polycarp, Ad Phil. 5, 2: SCh 10, 182). Among other tasks, it is the task of deacons to assist the bishop and priests in the celebration of the divine mysteries, above all the Eucharist, in the distribution of Holy Communion, in assisting at and blessing marriages, in the proclamation of the Gospel and preaching, in presiding over funerals, and in dedicating themselves to the various ministries of charity (Cf. Lumen gentium, 29; Sacrosanctum Concilium, 35 § 4; Ad gentes, 16).
Reflecting and meditating
(Youcat comment) The original model of the deacon is the martyr St. Stephen. When the Apostles in the original Church of Jerusalem saw that they were overwhelmed by their many charitable duties, they appointed seven men “to serve tables”, whom they then ordained. The first mentioned is Stephen: “full of grace and power”, he accomplished much for the new faith and for the poor in the Christian community. Over the centuries the diaconate became merely a degree of Holy Orders on the way to the presbyterate, but today it is once again an independent vocation for both celibates and married men. On the one hand, this is supposed to reemphasize service as a characteristic of the Church; on the other hand, it helps the priests, as in the early Church, by establishing an order of ministers who take on particular pastoral and social duties of the Church. Diaconal ordination, too, makes a lifelong, irrevocable mark on the ordained man.
(CCC 1579) All the ordained ministers of the Latin Church, with the exception of permanent deacons, are normally chosen from among men of faith who live a celibate life and who intend to remain celibate "for the sake of the kingdom of heaven" (Mt 19:12). Called to consecrate themselves with undivided heart to the Lord and to "the affairs of the Lord" (1 Cor 7:32), they give themselves entirely to God and to men. Celibacy is a sign of this new life to the service of which the Church's minister is consecrated; accepted with a joyous heart celibacy radiantly proclaims the Reign of God (Cf. PO 16).