- Paperback: 96 pages
- Publisher: Paulist Press (September 1, 2015)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 0809149176
- ISBN-13: 978-0809149179
- Product Dimensions: 5.3 x 0.3 x 7.9 inches
- Shipping Weight: 4.8 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
- Average Customer Review: 12 customer reviews
- Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #108,917 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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The Heart of the Diaconate Paperback – September 1, 2015
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About the Author
James Keating, PhD, is the director of theological formation in the Institute of Priestly Formation at Creighton University in Omaha, Nebraska. He earned his doctorate in Roman Catholic theology from Duquesne University in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. Dr. Keating has done more than four hundred workshops on moral theology and spirituality nationally and regularly conducts retreats.
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This book is a lot like Keating’s previous book, The Deacon’s Retreat, in that it focuses on the interior life of the Deacon and how important this interiority is to his outward ministry. The difference, however, is what makes the book a must-have, namely that it has a preferential focus on the formation of aspiring Deacons and those who are in formation. While it doesn’t ignore the currently ordained Deacons by any means, there is special attention given to those who are experiencing the first whispers of the call to ordination.
Keating’s pen strokes mold the aspirant as a spiritual director would into the deeper echelons of discernment:
“To discern a diaconal vocation is to distinguish between the attraction to ‘help out’ around the parish and the weighty invitation from Christ: ‘Will you allow me to live my servant mysteries over again in your own flesh?’ Does one want to be a man who is living Christ’s own servant mysteries? This is the central question of discernment.”
Dr. Keating wastes no words by warning the aspirant that the journey he is embarking upon will not be easy. He asks, “Can a man who wants to aspire to Holy Orders withstand the fire of receiving God’s love and live to tell about it?” Certainly whoever picks up these pages and reads them with an open spirit to God’s call will be confronted with the realities and sacrifices that such a call requires.
What particularly caught my attention was his desire to see diaconal vocations come from younger generations. Under Canon Law, men are eligible to receive the sacrament of diaconal ordination after the age of 35. Keating’s hope is that at this age, God will not only call young Deacons, but that dioceses would be able to form them well. When speaking about spousal attendance for aspiring Deacons he argues that “Encouraging but not mandating spousal attendance leaves more room for younger couples to come forward and thereby enliven the diaconate in the diocese with not simply the wisdom of age but the vibrancy of youth.”
If you or someone you know has felt the call to become a Permanent Deacon but are unsure as to how to go about discerning, this book should be the first that they read. It will guide him deeper into the Heart of the Diaconate, as printed on the cover of the book and in the depths of the soul of he who reads it.