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REFLECTION ON A DEACON’S LITURGICAL MINISTRY
When the deacon comes to serve, he must empty himself from all selfish concerns. He must see himself as servant of the liturgy and never its master. He must minister to the priest and to the altar with the humility of him whose very body and blood were offered on the altar of the cross.
When he comes to proclaim the Gospel, the deacon must empty himself of all his worldly wisdom that he might be filled only with the wisdom of God. He must decrease so that the Word of God might take root in him and those who hear his voice may hear not him, but Christ Jesus who lives in him. His acclamation of ‘the Gospel of the Lord’ must ring authentic and true.
When he proclaims intercessions or invites the people to prayer, the faithful must recognize in him the trustworthy and compassionate man to whom they may go with any of their needs. The poor must know him as their friend. Orphans must see him as their father, and all who are alone, afraid or confused must see in him a refuge in the model of Christ Jesus. All must have such trust in his prudence and charity that his wise guidance is spontaneously welcomed.
Finally, all who receive the Precious Body and Blood from his hands must receive as from one who knows the meaning of sacrifice, of being poured out for God’s people, and of striving for holiness of life. The deacon too must take up the cup of salvation as one whose very life is a hymn of praise to the Lord. For the cup he bears is his salvation and a model of the life to which he is called as a deacon.
What the new Roman Missal and the Church ask of the deacon is to become more like Christ. To participate in his paschal death and resurrection: by how he lives and how he prays, by what he does and who he has become.
This is the mystery of diaconal ministry at the altar. It is the mystery of the Church and the mystery of all who are called to the Supper of the Lamb!
The Deacon and the Liturgy:
A Search for Identity Msgr. James Moroney
Former Director of Liturgy Office, USCCB
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