Section 21 gives a brief rubric, then the lengthy consecration prayer. I call your attention to the style and structure of the prayer. A short petition is followed by seven statements of faith, recently latched onto by some conservative Catholics as “inappropriate” expressions telling God what to do. Keep in mind the liturgy is not intended as a presider-to-God communication line, but also the formation of those present in the way of holiness.
Following this, we have two sentences recounting the beginning of the diaconate order–a short history lesson, as it were.
The last section of the prayer puts forth six petitions: a dedication of the candidate, an epicletic invocation of the Spirit, and four other prayers for virtue, giving good example, purity of conscience, and the imitation of Christ.
Why take my word for it? Read it over and offer your own comments:
21. The candidate kneels before the bishop. With his hands extended over the candidate, he sings the prayer of consecration or says it aloud:
Almighty God, be present with us by your power.
You are the source of all honor, you assign to each his rank, you give to each his ministry.
You remain unchanged, but you watch over all creation and make it new through your Son, Jesus Christ, our Lord: he is your Word, your power, and your wisdom.
You foresee all things in your eternal providence and make due provision for every age.
You make the Church, Christ’s body, grow to its full stature as a new and greater temple.
You enrich it with every kind of grace and perfect it with a diversity of members to serve the whole body in a wonderful pattern of unity.
You established a threefold ministry of worship and service for the glory of your name.
As ministers of your tabernacle you chose the sons of Levi and gave them your blessing as their everlasting inheritance.
In the first days of your Church under the inspiration of the Holy Spirit the apostles of your Son appointed seven men of good repute to assist them in the daily ministry, so that they themselves might be more free for prayer and preaching.
By prayer and the laying on of the hands the apostles entrusted to those chosen men the ministry of serving at tables.
Lord, look with favor on this servant of yours, whom we now dedicate to the office of deacon, to minister at your holy altar.
Lord, send forth upon him the Holy Spirit, that he may be strengthened by the gift of your sevenfold grace to carry out faithfully the work of the ministry.
May he excel in every virtue: in love that is sincere, in concern for the sick and the poor, in unassuming authority, in self-discipline, and in holiness of life.
May his conduct exemplify your commandments and lead your people to imitate his purity of life.
May he remain strong and steadfast in Christ, giving to the world the witness of a pure conscience.
May he in this life imitate your Son, who came, not to be served but to serve, and one day reign with him in heaven.
We ask this through our Lord Jesus Christ, your Son, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever.
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