“Whoever serves me must follow me, and where I am, there also will my servant be.” // John 12:26
“Why can’t Daddy sit with us during Mass like everybody else’s dad?” I asked my mom who tried to calm my frustration and quiet down my voice. Sitting in the pew each Sunday growing up felt like something was missing—no, someone. My dad was with us at Mass so he wasn’t actually missing. But he was up serving at the altar and that meant he was not with us. It would take me many years to learn the real beauty of my father’s role as a deacon, servant of Christ and His Church. And that, in fact, he was with us.
As a deacon, each of his thirty years of service has been—whether willfully or not so willfully, at times—an experience of growing in loving service. When I spent time with my dad in his more humble ministry tasks—whether it was picking up the papers left behind after Mass, ungluing the gum off the bottom of pews, preparing the liturgical books and the altar, or patiently practicing the Gospel reading in English with him—I, too, was learning what it means to serve.
The diaconate is an active preparation of learning. As he lays prostrate before the consecration by the bishop during the liturgy of the Sacrament of Holy Orders, the soon-to-be deacon manifests in his body the posture of heart that is required for this service. He lays cruciform: arms outstretched, open-handed, head touching the ground. He must learn to be as Christ on the Cross, like He Who was Servant of all.
It is no wonder then that Saint Lawrence, whom we celebrate this day, was not only a deacon but also a martyr. I can imagine that for Lawrence, each moment of his life was a school of servanthood. From the baptisms, to feeding the hungry, from instructing the faithful, to assisting at the Eucharistic table, he was being prepared to make the ultimate sacrifice of his life as he learned to serve.
Let us pray this day, sister, for the deacons who serve the Church and may we learn from them to live in humble, loving service.
May we follow You, Lord, and learn to love and serve You, all of our days. Saint Lawrence, pray for us. Amen.May we learn to live in humble, loving service. // Rocio Hermes Click To Tweet