Monk’s Corner


Sunday Meditations from Greeley, CO

From Deacon Joseph Meilinger

Your local ersatz monk.

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1554    “The divinely instituted ecclesiastical ministry is exercised in different degrees by those who even in ancient times have been called bishops, priests, and deacons.” 1 Catholic doctrine expressed in the Liturgy, the Magisterium, and the constant practice of the Church, recognizes that there are two degrees of ministerial participation in the priesthood of Christ: the episcopacy and the presbyterate. The diaconate is intended to help and serve them. For this reason the term sacerdos in current usage denotes bishops and priests but not deacons. Yet Catholic doctrine teaches that the degrees of priestly participation (episcopate and presbyterate) and the degrees of service (diaconate) are all three conferred by a sacramental act called “ordination,” that is, by the sacrament of Holy Orders:

Let everyone revere the deacons as Jesus Christ, the bishops as the

image of the Father, and the presbyters as the senate of God and the

assembly of the apostles. For without them one cannot speak of the

Church. 2

1 Lumen Gentium 28

2 St. Ignatius of Antioch, Ad Trall, 3, 1:SCh 10, 96

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Random Thought 1: Last week we celebrated the feast of St. Lawrence, the Deacon martyr of Rome, the patron saint of the deacons of the Archdiocese of Denver. One of the most illustrious saints of the early Church and the most heavely written about by the early Fathers.

        He was one of the seven deacons that served the Roman Church, a position of great honor and trust, as they were charged with the care of the goods of the Church and the distribution of the alms among the poor.

        In 258 A.D. Emperor Valerian arrested Pope Sixtus II and put him to death; four days later Lawrence followed him to martyrdom. Tradition says, as Pope Sixtus II was led to execution, his deacon Lawrence followed him weeping and said to him, “father, where are you going without your deacon?” The pope answered, “i do not leave you, my son. You will follow me in three days.”

            The prefect of Rome then demanded of Lawrence all the riches of the Church be brought to him since Jesus had said render unto Caesar that which is Caesar’s. Lawrence said he would and the prefect gave him three days to gather it. On the third day Lawrence brought the blind, lame, maimed, the lepers, orphans, widows and maidens. He went to the prefect and invited him to come and see the the treasure of the Church.

        When the prefect saw this crowd of misery he went into a fit of rage and shouted, “You mock me.” He was immediately condemned to death on the gridiron over fire.

        As he died Lawrence prayed aloud a prayer for the conversion of Rome, that the faith of Christ might spread then from Rome to the world. Witnesses said his prayer was so powerful that God began to grant his request at the very moment he prayed it. Several Roman senators who were present at his death were so moved by his heroic fortitude and piety that they became Christians on the spot. His death, historians say, was the death of idolatry in Rome, which declined from that time on. A great following of that deacon grew among the people of Rome and Christians everywhere. Constantine built the first chapel where he is buried, which is the site of the church of St. Laurence-outside-the-walls, the fifth basilica of the city of Rome.

St. Lawrence pray for us and all your deacon brothers.

— Butler’s Lives of the Saints