Sacrum Diaconatus Ordinem 25-28: Spiritual Life

Paul VI and others were concerned about the spiritual life of deacons. First, these new permanent deacons would have to be people providing a “surpassing” example for others.

25. Let the deacons, as those who serve the mysteries of Christ and of the Church, abstain from all vice and endeavor to be always pleasing to God “ready for every good work”[Cf. 2 Tim. 2:21] for the salvation of men. By reason, therefore, of the order received they must surpass by far all the others in the practice of liturgical life, in the love for prayer, in the divine service, in obedience, in charity, in chastity.

Don’t look for Rome to do all the work. Bishops’ conferences were entrusted with establishing more detailed norms for their deacons. A bishop is best-suited (amongst the hierarchy) to tend to the spiritual sustenance of his deacons.

26. It will be the task of the episcopal conference to establish more efficacious norms to nourish the spiritual life of the deacons, both celibate and married. Let the local Ordinaries, however, see to it that all the deacons: devote themselves assiduously to reading and meditating on the word of God; frequently and if possible every day, participate actively in the sacrifice of the Mass, receive the sacrament of the Most Holy Eucharist and devoutly visit the Sacrament; purify their souls frequently with the sacrament of Penance and, for the purpose of receiving it worthily, examine their conscience each day; venerate and love the Virgin Mary, the Mother of God with fervent devotion.

So deacons, do you hold to this list? Was it promoted and emphasized in your formation?

27. It is a supremely fitting thing that permanent deacons recite every day at least part of the Divine Office, to be determined by the episcopal conference.

What does the USCCB require for the Liturgy of the Hours? What about for retreat:

28. Diocesan deacons must, at least every third year, attend spiritual exercises in a religious house or pious institution designated by the Ordinary.

Any comments, thoughts, observations, especially fro the deacons in the reading audience?

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Todd and his family live in Ames, Iowa. He serves a Catholic parish of both Iowa State students and town residents.
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2 Responses to Sacrum Diaconatus Ordinem 25-28: Spiritual Life

  1. Liam says:

    I think a subtle key that many would not notice is the role given to the *bishop* as opposed to the *pastor*. Way too many Catholics, perhaps because of the development of the transitional diaconate, think of deacons as inherently junior priests, visualizing a verticle line up from deacons to priest/pastor to bishop. Whereas the more traditional understanding would be to visualize something more like a triangle with the bishop at the apex and priests and deacons at each other lower corner.

    For a few centuries in the first millennium, deacons actually administered the Roman church in functional terms, with archdeacons carrying more weight than archpriests. So much so that Popes tended to be drawn directly from the ranks of deacons, especially the archdeacons.

  2. In Baltimore, deacons are expected to prayer Morning and Evening Prayer.

    As to the other parts of the spiritual lives of deacons, I must say that things like daily Mass, regular confession, etc. were not stressed in our formation as a group, though I imagine some of the individual spiritual directors recommended such things.

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