Mary’s Magnificat highlights the revolutionary changes that Christianity brings into the world and outlines the path deacons should follow, Archbishop Salvatore Cordileone said Aug. 15 during Mass for the ordination of nine men to the permanent diaconate.
“Those whom God exalts are the lowly: ‘He has cast down the mighty from their thrones and has lifted up the lowly.’ Is this not the outstanding mark of the office of deacon, a public servant bound by promises to the church and to the bishop who puts the needs of others before himself?”
The ordination Mass, held outdoors at St. Pius Church in Redwood City on the Solemnity of the Assumption, welcomed Robert W. Andrews, David C. Bernstein, Richard O. Dizon, José G. Hernandez, John M. Hurst, Daniel V. Kaatz, Emilo V. Lucero, Jr., Albert S. Nimri, and Raymond L. Smith to the ranks of permanent deacons in the Archdiocese of San Francisco after five years of discernment and formation.
Archbishop Cordileone told the deacons they were called to live out in their vocations “the path of God’s revolution,” as it is seen in the life of Mary and her lyrical “Magnificat.” Her words in the Gospel of Luke show the radical nature of Christian faith by highlighting three revolutions in moral, social and economic life.
The archbishop explained that God “has scattered the proud” to show that humility is the only way to faith and salvation. Diminishing the powerful and exalting the weak “bespeaks a social revolution, where all are treated with equal dignity. One’s dignity does not depend on one’s social status or prestige or how much wealth one has or how much power one can yield,” he said.
Finally, satisfying the hungry and dismissing the rich reveals a new form of economic life. Non-Christian societies focus on stockpiling as much wealth as possible, but “a Christian society is (one) where no one dares to have too much while others have too little, where everyone must get only to give away,” the archbishop said.
What the candidates have gained through their formation — learning, spiritual formation, understanding of the church — is theirs only for the sake of being passed on to others, he said. Their vocation is to “enrich lives who have not yet been given so much of the true treasures of life, the treasures that satisfy the deepest yearnings of the human soul, and endure into eternity.”
Archbishop Cordileone said that going forward the deacons’ priorities are their families, their job and their ministry in the church. In order to guard against ““complacency, selfishness and self-glorification” in their vocation, he encouraged them to withdraw into “the intimacy of prayer,” like Christ often did.
“Life can often feel like a rat race and church life and church ministry is no escape from that,” he said, adding that the deacons will need the peace that a consistent prayer life gives in order to persevere in their vocation to the church.
“Keep always before your eyes, dear brothers, our one goal: eternal life in God’s kingdom. All must be subordinated to and directed by this one goal. This is why God’s revolution is so different from this world’s, and why he sometimes turns our lives upside down. It’s to get us back on the path toward the only goal that matters,” he said….
The above comes from an Aug. 17 story in Catholic San Francisco.