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Joyful Witness to Christ

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  1. Joyful Witness to Christ

  2. Terminology • JOY! • "Infallible sign of God's Presence" – Teilhard • Gift of the Holy Spirit (Galatians)

  3. Terminology • Witness? • Observer • Describer • Bystander • Passive • Greek: "Witness" is MARTYR • One who gives whole of life • One who is actively engaged • One who surrenders totally to will of God for the good of others

  4. Therefore, • We are called to be joy-filled martyrs! • Like St. Lawrence of Rome

  5. The Deacon's Charge • Receive the Gospel of Christ, whose Herald you have become. Believe what you read, teach what you believe, and practice what you teach.

  6. As always, look to Christ

  7. Christ and the Deacon "The basic spiritual attitude of the deacon must make it clear that the Christian path is not an ascent or a triumphal march in glory, but a path that looks downward, following Jesus Christ, who descended from heaven." Cardinal Walter Kasper

  8. But then why are we joyful? KENOSIS   THEOSIS

  9. Kenosis andTheosis

  10. Philippians 2:5-8(Kenosis) Who, being in the form of God, Did not count equality with God Something to be grasped. But he emptied himself, Taking the form of a slave, Becoming as human beings are; And being in every way like a human being, He was humbler yet, Even to accepting death, death on a cross.

  11. Philippians 2:9-11(Theosis) Therefore God also highly exalted him And gave him the name That is above every name, So that at the name of Jesus Every knee should bend, In heaven and on earth and under the earth And every tongue should confess That Jesus Christ is Lord, To the glory of God the Father.

  12. "Faith and Reason" (1998) • The prime commitment of theology is seen to be the understanding of God's kenosis, a grand and mysterious truth for the human mind, which finds it inconceivable that suffering and death can express a love which gives itself and seeks nothing in return.

  13. Out of His infinite love, God desired to draw near to man and walk with him. He also wanted to free him from the snares of the "father of lies" and to open the way to intimacy with Himself. . . . Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, "The Ecclesial Vocation of the Theologian," 1990. "Draw near" – sense of Kenosis "Intimacy with God" – sense of Theosis I'm going to need more coffee. . .

  14. Who is God in light of the kenosis? Kenosis is not a process of de-divination but rather as an attribute of God's love disclosed in the compassionate existence of Jesus. . . . God is absolute letting-be, self giving, self-spending. Kenosis is understood as the way God relates to the world; creation is a work of love, of self-giving. Lucien Richard, OMI Christ: The Self-Emptying of God (Mahwah: Paulist Press, 1997) Kenosis: Essence of Divinity

  15. Hans Urs von Balthasar Love Alone (New York: Herder & Herder, 1969) It is precisely in the kenosis of Christ (and nowhere else) that the inner majesty of God's love appears, of God who 'is love' (1 John 4:8) and a 'trinity.' Kenosis: Essence of Divinity

  16. J. B. Metz Poverty of Spirit (New York: Paulist Press, 1968, 1998) God 'became human' and took on our flesh. We say this all too casually. Satan wants to make Jesus strong, for what the devil really fears is the powerlessness of God in the humanity that Jesus has assumed. Satan fears the Trojan horse of an open human heart. Kenosis: Essence of Divinity

  17. But. . . WHY? Theosis • Out of divine Love, God wants us to be one with God • Theosis – movement toward communion with the divine – is the reason for kenosis • 2 Peter 1:4: Through Christ, we "become partakers of the divine nature." • "Divinization"

  18. "Divinization"? Sounds Dangerous! • St. Ephrem, deacon and doctor of the Church: "The Deity imprinted itself on humanity, so that humanity might also be cut into the seal of the Deity" • St. Athanasius of Alexandria, deacon and bishop: "God became human so we might become God."

  19. More recently. . . . • JPII: "The Spirit enables us to share in the Divine nature. . ." (1998 General Audience), citing Thomas Aquinas: • "The Only-begotten Son of God, wanting us to be partakers of his divinity, assumed our human nature so that, having become man, he might make men gods."

  20. Lex Orandi, Lex Credendi • West: "By the mystery of this water and wine, may we come to share in the divinity of Christ who humbled himself to share in our humanity." • East: "You have united, O Lord, your divinity with our humanity and our humanity with your divinity; Your life with our mortality and our mortality with Your life. You have assumed what is ours and you have given us what is yours for the life and salvation of our souls. To you be glory forever."

  21. Impact on All Disciples • Through Baptism: "By sharing our human nature, weakened through Adam's sin, you enabled us to share in your divinity, and to receive the gift of life." (Maronite)

  22. Impact on Deacons? • "Deacons are icons of Christ the Servant" (Congregation for Catholic Education, Basic Norms for the Formation of Permanent Deacons, 1998), #11.

  23. How do we give "joyful witness" with our lives?Through kenosis. . . . • At least 47 times in the Hebrew Scriptures that tie the care of those most in need to the covenant • Also, "Suffering Servant" songs in Isaiah; from earliest Christianity, Christ seen as the "Suffering Servant"

  24. Deacon as Sign of Christ,the Suffering Servant • Song #1: the Servant is described as God's agent to bring justice, but not by force. Quiet and confident leadership. • Song #2: the Servant as prophet, called before birth to lead the people. Again, not by force; leadership by example; unsuccessful in human terms

  25. Deacon as Sign of Christ,the Suffering Servant • Song #3: The servant is beaten and abused, but perseveres; described as both teacher and learner. • Song #4: The servant bears the pain and suffering of others, and is described as one who intercedes with God. Servant fails in his own lifetime, but is vindicated by God after his death.

  26. Deacon as Sign of Christ,the Suffering Servant • John 13: • More than simple menial service; hypodeigma • John substitutes this account at the same point the synoptics describe the Eucharist • Christ and kenosis: pours himself out completely for others • Tells the LEADERS that they must do the same, or that they cannot have fellowship with him.

  27. The Word We Herald • Christ not only proclaimed the Good News, Christ is the Good News • Christ bears the Good News not merely in his teaching and in his deeds, but in his very Person. • Back to EVANGELIZATION

  28. EvangeliiNuntiandi • Pope Paul VI: On Evangelization in the Modern World (EvangeliiNuntiandi) (1975)

  29. "On Evangelization in the Modern World" • Promulgated 8 December 1975: • 10th Anniversary of the Closing of Vatican II • 1975 was a Holy Year dedicated solely to the topic of Catholic Evangelization • Was the Apostolic Exhortation developing themes from the 1974 Synod of Bishops, again dedicated solely to Catholic Evangelization • First church document to focus exclusively on evangelization.

  30. Paul VI: "We wish to confirm once more that the task of evangelizing all people constitutes the essential mission of the Church."

  31. Paul VI: Evangelization must be renewed so that: "The world of our time, which is searching, sometimes with anguish, sometimes with hope, be enabled to hear the good news not from evangelizers who are dejected, discouraged, impatient or anxious but from ministers of the gospel whose lives glow with fervor, who have first received the joy of Christ and who are willing to risk their lives so that the kingdom may be proclaimed and the church established in the midst of the world."

  32. "Preaching the Gospel": the primumofficiumof the ordained • Vatican II on BISHOPS: • Among the principal duties of bishops the preaching of the Gospel occupies an eminent place. For bishops are preachers of the faith, who lead new disciples to Christ (LG 25) • (remember LG 24: "Diakonia")

  33. Priests. . . . • It is the first task (primumofficium) of priests as co-workers of the bishops to preach the Gospel of God to all (PO 4).

  34. And, deacons. . . . • Later, in 1998, the Holy See will extend this teaching to include deacons: • "The principal function [munuspraecipuum] of the deacon, therefore, is to collaborate with the bishop and the priests in the exercise of a ministry which is not of their own wisdom but of the word of God, calling all to conversion and holiness" (#23)

  35. The US bishops put it this way (2005): The deacon exhorts, consecrates, and guides the People of God in living faithfully the communion and mission they share in Christ, especially in making the Gospel visible in their daily lives through their concern for justice, peace, and respect for life. (National Directory, #65)

  36. Deacon as "Apostles of Evangelization" (JPII) • Dear deacons, be active apostles of the new evangelization. Lead everyone to Christ! Through your efforts, may his kingdom also spread in your family, in your workplace, in the parish, in the Diocese, in the whole world!

  37. Receive the Gospel of Christ, whose Herald you have become. Believe. . . Teach. . . Practice. . .