Fathers & Sons in the Body of Christ

I’ll never forget Corpus Christi 2015.

The Feast of Corpus Christi (currently designated in the Roman Missal as the Solemnity of the Most Holy Body and Blood of Christ) is traditionally celebrated today, the Thursday after Trinity Sunday. However, in our calendar in the United States, we will celebrate it this coming Sunday.

I love this feast day because of what it celebrates and focuses us on: The Body and Blood of Christ, the joy of the institution and presence of the Eucharist, and our call to be members of Christ’s Body, and to take Him into the world in our own lives and actions.

A Diaconate Apirant – A “Yes” from our Diocese

As such, it’s particularly meaningful to me that today is the day that I received a long-awaited letter from Father Christopher House, the Director of the Office of the Diaconate in our diocese, informing me that I have been selected to be a member of the diaconate class of 2020 in our diocese, with my formation to begin formally this coming fall. Today, Corpus Christi 2015, I begin a new journey.

It’s notable and important to mention something that’s been weighing on my heart and heavy on my mind the last several months since I applied for consideration for this:

The Chalice

When I submitted my application packet for the diaconate formation program to the diocese, I immediately started to feel a draw back to really focus and reflect on the chalice whenever the priest would elevate it at Mass. For years, knowing that my dad wasn’t Catholic, I would silently pray to myself at the elevation, “God, if it be your Will, please call my dad into communion via your precious blood.”

Three years ago at the Easter Vigil, I was blessed with the honor to stand with him and sponsor him as he entered into full Communion in the Church and received the Holy Eucharist for the first time.

I’ve been thinking a lot about that prayer that I said for years, and how the deacon assists the priest at Mass by helping to prepare the chalice, and then later at the final doxology of the Eucharistic Prayer, by elevating the chalice as the priest raises the paten with the Eucharistic bread.

I’ve been thinking a lot about the meaning of the deacon assisting in this way, and then about the primary ministry of the deacon being service out in the world, on the streets, where we need more and more to make Christ present… the connections between the deacon and the chalice, between service and sacrifice, between each of us and the role and service we’re called to within Christ’s Body.

Fathers & Sons

And then, as I continue to reflect on that silent prayer to Christ present in the chalice, and my own father’s journey, I find it funny that I found out about my admission while flying home on a work trip… in the Admirals Club at Dallas-Fort Worth Airport, asking my oldest son to read the letter to me over the phone.

He couldn’t stand to wait, and neither could I. He got it honestly, I suppose. It was a special moment for him and for me. I’ll admit – I teared up a bit.

deac_letter

Fathers and sons, men and women, ordained and lay. Music directors and diaconate aspirants. We all have our place in the Body of Christ – we’re all called in various ways, and when He gives us the grace to answer that call and act upon it, wonderful things begin to happen.

Pray for vocations.

A Jarful of Prayers

Tonight I walked into Kool Beanz Cafe, the coffee shop a few blocks from home, for an end-of-day coffee. Victoria, the owner, pointed out a jar on the cabinets behind the front counter. Lemon drops. I smiled as she explained that someone had brought them in a few days ago, asked whether I still frequented there, and then left them for me to find.

So I explained the lemon drop story to her…

Step by step with God

Nice Day for a Ride, by Big Dave Diode (Flickr), Creative Commons license, some rights reserved.
Nice Day for a Ride, by Big Dave Diode (Flickr), Creative Commons license, some rights reserved.

I smiled this morning when I read Jon Acuff’s post, Stop trying to make “perfect decisions. I immediately thought of how I’ve been living the discernment of my perceived call to the diaconate for the last several months: step by step.

I realized early on that there wouldn’t be a golden epiphany, no bright flash from the sky with a booming voice saying, “Michael. Do this!”

Instead, there’s a decision on my part each day to spend time in prayerful conversation with God, to carefully listen and try to feel His response, and then to take a few steps each day in the direction I feel I’m being led. That might continue to lead in the direction I’m now going, or someday it might turn me right or left down some entirely different path.

Now it’s simply, “Step by step with God”.

Jon talks about being brave, and not getting stuck – no “stuck dreams”. He writes, “You can’t wait until you feel brave enough to make a decision. You can’t wait until you have a perfect plan to make a decision. You just have to make one.”

Just one decision, just one step at a time. Sometimes one decision then 3 or 4 steps. The destination might end up different a few months or years down the trail, the trail might get dark and narrow, but you still walk it one step at a time.

Ad Jesum per Mariam

In the last week, I have received a calling to a new responsibility that honors and humbles me greatly.

Koinonia_LambOur local Catholic parishes have been fostering a retreat-based community of faith called Koinonia for nearly 10 years. I’ve been a part of it since the very first “Trinity Koinonia” retreat weekend in September of 2005, Suzanne and her mom joined me a few retreats later in the series, and my parents and siblings joined a bit later.

The Koinonia retreats and the community that has formed around them have been very important in the faith life of my extended family, but more importantly in the broader community. Hundreds of my fellow parishioners and parishioners of our sister parishes have now taken part in Koinonia and become a part of the community, and I have formed new, deep, friendships as a result of the community.

Feast of the Holy Family of Jesus, Mary, and Joseph

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Brothers and sisters:
Put on, as God’s chosen ones, holy and beloved,
heartfelt compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness, and patience,
bearing with one another and forgiving one another,
if one has a grievance against another;
as the Lord has forgiven you, so must you also do.
And over all these put on love,
that is, the bond of perfection.
And let the peace of Christ control your hearts,
the peace into which you were also called in one body.
And be thankful.
Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly,
as in all wisdom you teach and admonish one another,
singing psalms, hymns, and spiritual songs
with gratitude in your hearts to God.
And whatever you do, in word or in deed,
do everything in the name of the Lord Jesus,
giving thanks to God the Father through him.

– Col 3:12-17