St John's Q&A

Friday, December 09, 2005

The prayer of Jesus

Ordination to the diaconate!! I will be ordained a transitional deacon along with two other men by Cardinal McCarrick next Saturday, December 17, at the 5 pm Mass at St John Neumann Church in Gaithersburg, Md. Thanks be to God!

I will make promises of obedience and celibacy to Christ through His Church, and then be ordained through the Laying on of Hands (a Tradition that goes back to the Apostles!). This is the sacrament of Holy Orders (the three offices of Holy Orders are deacon, priest, bishop). A man who is ordained a deacon is ontologically changed...he is a deacon forever!
So, my recent retreat really helped me to spiritually and personally prepare for this incredible gift of ordination. I want to present some of the powerful ways the Lord spoke to me during the five day of silence at the hermitage.

Day # 2: My retreat director gave me a couple of passages from Scripture on which to meditate. One of them was John 17: 9-11, 16-19. This is Jesus's prayer to the Father for His priests: "consecrate them in the Truth". Consecrate means to "set aside for" or "dedicate". As one of His future priests, Jesus prayed that I would be consecrated to Truth (Himself- Jesus says I am the Way, the Truth, and the Life). Jesus prayed for me!!

That thought hit me hard because we usually pray to Jesus- He is the recipient of our prayers. Actually, though, our prayers never stop at Christ. He always takes them to the Father. He is our greatest intercessor; He is the sole mediator between God and man. But, still, to think of the Son of God on his knees praying to the Father for my sake and the sake of all priests kind of blew me away.

Am I consecrated to Christ? Well, yes, because of my Baptism. But, no because I haven't set aside and dedicated everything in my life for Him. Am I ready to be consecrated to Him? This will officially take place on Dec. 17...that's what this is all about. I say with an ethusiastic 'YES' that I wish to be consecrated to Christ. I am ready to give Him all that I am. At one point in the ordination rite I will prostrate myself and lay down my life for Christ. The Lord is asking that it not just be a symbolic gesture. He wants me to dedicate myself totally to Him.

Christ consecrated himself to the Father for me and all of us - that we might be consecrated. In a special way, though, He prayed that those He calls to Holy Orders would be especially dedicated to Him who is Truth. I truly felt the power of His prayer during these five days with Him "in the desert". He will consecrate me to the Father next Saturday night. Last week, He prepared me even more to make this a full, internal reality.


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