Sunday, December 13, 2009

A Formation Year Ends

Yesterday, my classmates and I finished our third year of diaconate formation in the Archdiocese of Atlanta. We had only a short time to reflect since we still had a full day of classes, three papers to turn in and a final exam in Moral Theology.

But during that short time, we were amazed by many things. First, how quickly the time has flown by. It seems like yesterday when we met each other as aspirants; concerned if we would fit in or even if they would let us stay. Second, our attitudes had changed quite a bit. It is no longer perceived as a competition on who can make the best grades but a journey; and one we want to travel together. It is no longer about our personal success, but of our collective success. Each and every one of us will do all we can to help our classmates succeed; all the while knowing that it is still a personal journey with God. We learned that it is not a question of whether you could meet some particular criteria that the Church desired in a Deacon. No, it is a discernment process on each of our parts to ask the question: Is God calling me to this ministry? The Church's role is to validate that call.

We have lost a few dear men in the last three years. Each of them are wonderful men but found that serving as a deacon is not what God was calling them to do. It was not an easy decision for these men because it is not black and white. It is something that comes from the heart. The remaining 13 men in the class are still on that same journey of determining whether this is what God wants us to do; and we still have two years to go.

But it is nice to reflect for a moment on the process. For soon enough, we will be back in class, too busy to stop and think about this journey.

And pray for us so that we are able to rest during this break and to continue to have the strength and wisdom to discern what God put us on this earth to accomplish.

1 comment:

  1. Hi Mark, It's Nancy even though post always says Sam for some reason...So nice to see your group picture and read about this journey the past 3 yrs. Such a long and intense course of study, I had no idea before you started this how much time and study, not to mention prayer and soul-searching, goes into deciding if becoming a deacon is what God wants for you. Similar to my own journey in that I ask that question all the time, is this what You want me to be doing right now in my life. At mass yesterday, Fr. Larkin talked in such a moving way about the light of Christ, focusing on that in our every day journey and shining that light on whoever crosses your path. You have such a unique chance to touch so many in your journey and I'm so proud of you.

    Sometimes I feel that my own efforts are so small in comparison to other types of ministry or service, but I know God sees into our hearts and knows how hard I try in my own way to spread His light to my kids, grands, friends etc. and just as I have through my whole life, trust that He is always with me and will see us through this difficult time. It helps to see efforts paying off, like Sam writing in an essay that she feels that light inside and believes she wants to share it through music/teaching/whatever she decides.. and Josh getting a 4.0 in his classes last semester, and the boys happy and reaching up for a cuddle from Bamba or singing ABC song with me :) Treasured times mixed in with the stress but I know God has a plan for each of us.
    Thanks for sharing on this blog, I enjoy reading it. Just know my prayers are with you and so proud of you, no matter where your journey takes you. love to all, Nancy