Calling All Heralds
By Deacon Neil Crispo, M.E.V.
Posted: Saturday, October 11, 2008
On the day of ordination, these words pierce and penetrate the heart of every deacon as the bishop presents him with the book of the gospel.
Receive the book of the gospel whose herald you have become.
Believe what you read. Teach what you believe. Practice what you teach.
Upon ordination the deacon is specifically constituted a sacred minister and member of the hierarchy of the church, configured to Christ the servant. As herald he is an official messenger who announces the “good news” of Jesus Christ through word, sacrament and charity.
Pope John Paul II begins his great encyclical Evangelium Vitae with: “The Gospel of life is at the heart of Jesus’ message... it is to be preached with dauntless fidelity as “good news” to the people of every age and culture.” (#1) The Holy Father makes it clear throughout this teaching that there is only one Gospel—“the Gospel of God’s love for man, the Gospel of the dignity of the person and the Gospel of life are a single and indivisible Gospel.” (#2) The Gospel of Jesus Christ is the Gospel of life! Every deacon, therefore, is called to believe, teach and practice the Gospel of life.
Indeed in this day of moral relativism, when there is no clear definition of right and wrong, when what was once a crime is now defended by the law as a “right” and when what should be the safest place the mother’s womb—is the deadliest place for a little human, more than ever there is an enormous need for such heralds. In fact, with the tentacles of the culture of death extending into every aspect of society (and alarmingly even infiltrating the church) what is required is a whole army of heralds!
As bleak as it all looks, we will not give in to despair. The Holy Spirit, leading the Church Militant, has been preparing an army of Permanent Deacons for over 40 years! Primed and standing by, we are a force of holy heralds— experienced husbands and fathers who have been called into service (diakonia) by the Supreme Commander. We have been formed, equipped, ordained and are waiting to be lead into battle! A regiment is already poised in dioceses across the country with a vast supply of fresh troops in training. Pope John Paul gives us the mission: we must build a new culture of life. These are our orders: a general mobilization of consciences and a united ethical effort to activate a great campaign in support of life. (#95 EV) Pope Benedict gives us the starting point for the mission: God is Love.
I invite all Permanent Deacons to mobilize as heralds of the Gospel of Life in this great Campaign for Life! Believe what you read, teach what you believe, and practice what you teach.