Saturday, December 26, 2009

Feast of Deacons

St Stephen, as well as the First of Martyrs, was the First Deacon; hence his feast is the Feast of Deacons.

O quam gloriosus est beatus Stepanus Martyr et Levita, qui ante Apostolos regna cælestia possidere meruit et ad Patris dexteram Filium videre!
(O how glorious is blessed Stephen the Martyr and Deacon, who ahead of the Apostles deserved to possesss the kingdom of heaven and to see the Son at the Father's right!)
Tu principatum tenes in choro Martyrum similis Angelo: qui pro te lapidantibus Deum deprecatus es, beate Stephane, intercede pro nobis ad Dominum.
(Thou holdest the first place in the choir of Martyrs like an Angel: thou who didst beseech God for those who stoned thee, blessed Stephen, intercede for us with the Lord.)
— Magnificat anthems from the Dominican Rite

May I take this opportunity belatedly to congratulate my friend Rev Br Paul Rowse, O.P., who was ordained deacon earlier this month?  He knows that my finances prevented me from attending his ordination (and that of his colleague, now Fr Vincent), just as I missed his solemn profession, despite being specially invited, mea culpa: I take this opportunity to declare I will make every effort to make his priestly ordination sometime next year...

I assume that these two newly ordained friars will have been very busy over Christmas, and may well to-day be enjoying a dies non (Dominican jargon for a day when the Prior dispenses the community from the choral office, on account of their tiredness; this usually happens thrice a year, after Christmas, after Easter and after St Dominic's Day).  "Sleep on, and take your rest!"  ;-)

In the meanwhile, I pray that he, like Stephen, may be full of the Holy Ghost and wisdom, full of grace and fortitude, endowed with the grace of preaching for the salvation of souls and the glory of God, holding fast to the mystery of faith.

He will be amused, no doubt, to recall that Scripture and the Liturgy compare deacons to angels, as servants of the Lord, ministering at the Holy Table, and His messengers, preaching the Word...

Since as a strange sort of volunteer I also hold a running brief for promoting the patrimony of those Anglicans coming into union with the Church, here is the BCP final Collect from "The Ordering of Deacons", changed to the singular:

ALMIGHTY God, giver of all good things, who of thy great goodness hast vouchsafed to accept and take this thy servant unto the Office of Deacon in thy Church; Make him, we beseech thee, O Lord, to be modest, humble, and constant in his Ministration, to have a ready will to observe all spiritual Discipline; that he, having always the testimony of a good conscience, and continuing ever stable and strong in thy Son Christ, may so well behave himself in this inferior Office, that he may be found worthy to be called unto the higher Ministries in thy Church; through the same thy Son our Saviour Jesus Christ, to whom be glory and honour, world without end. Amen.

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