I covered four specific components during the retreat. First we took a look at our spiritual health. Where do we currently find ourselves in the journey of faith? We specifically examined our relationship with God as well as with one another. A walk through the ten commandments in the context of renewing our baptismal promises was part of the process. Are we sincerely striving to live out what we profess each week when praying the Creed?
In the second session we focused on the gift of salvation. How has the sacramental life of the Church enhanced our personal spiritual journey? I conducted a quick review of the seven sacraments in light of some of the admonitions and teachings of the Catechism of the Catholic Church. Is the call to holiness received in our Baptism still ringing loud and clear in our lives? Are we walking in the power of the Holy Spirit with those special graces received in the sacraments of Confirmation, Matrimony, and Holy Orders? Are we nourished for mission through the Sacrament of the Holy Eucharist? Have we experienced spiritual healing through the Sacraments of Reconciliation and the Anointing of the Sick?
In the third session we focused on humble service. How do we live out our vocations of service in both Holy Matrimony and Holy Orders? In this process I walked through 15 statements attributed to Mother (St.) Theresa of Calcutta in regard to humility. She certainly provided an excellent example of how to live in humble service.
Finally, we closed out the retreat by focusing on spirituality and leadership. All of us have a certain level of influence on the people around us. Are we influencing them in a positive or negative way? It is of extreme importance for members of the diaconate to be providing compassionate and merciful outreach to the people of God. Our example must be one of holiness. The Gospel is proclaimed through our actions in addition to being proclaimed during the Sacred Liturgy.
In addition to spending time in prayer and reflection during the course of the weekend, it was also good to enjoy the fellowship with one another. I am impressed at the amount of ministry being accomplished by the deacon community. Although many people only see what happens when the deacon is participating at Mass, there is a whole lot of service being done behind the scenes at church and out in the community. Peoples lives are being touched in a variety of ways through the ministry of the deacon all across the state. Give God the glory!
Finally, a big thank you goes to the wives of deacons. Many people have no idea of the sacrifices you make during the course of formation as well as once the deacon is ordained and enters into ministry. Your love and support empowers the deacon to be successful. For all of the ways you nurture and share in his ministry--Thank You!