Yesterday when my friend John M (#2), a former Catholic, came to cut my grass he struck a conversation with me and said with apparent joy and pride: "I have received all the sacraments except one and I asked which one: He said "Holy Orders. I have also received Extreme Unction, or the Last Rites."
This month of June is very significant to me because this month 45 years ago (June 18) I received the Sacrament of Matrimony, and 9 years ago (June 28) the Sacrament of Holy Orders (the Diaconate). Therefore the only Sacrament I have not yet received is the Sacrament of the Anointing of the Sick, which John correctly referred to with the old name "Extreme Unction or the Last Rites."
Looking back at those 45 years of married life, I can only thank God with all my heart for having given me my beloved wife, Maria, to journey with together and become "co-creators" with God in bringing into this world new life: one son and three daughters who are our treasure and opportunities for us to share the love of God and His goodness with. The oft-repeated warning and cliche "Married life is not like a bed of roses" makes me recall what Fr. Teston, the officiating priest at our wedding, assured us: "The Church will always be praying for you and assures you that God will give you all the graces, strength and help for you to fulfill the responsibilities of your new state of life." True enough, during all those 45 years, Maria and I have together been blessed with all that . . . in our mission and struggles to bring up our children in the knowledge, love and fear of the Lord. Our mutual love has been enhanced by the knowledge that we are able to weather all difficulties and trials that came interspersed with the joys of being together for many years and being one in doing God's will all that time.
I take this opportunity to thank my wife for sharing our life together and wish and pray that God will provide us more years together. "Happy Anniversary, my dear wife!!!"
The 9 years of being a deacon of the Church, and the 5 years of formation and preparation for it have been times of grace and joy. It is a distinct and humbling privilege to be called to this special kind of service to the Church and the People of God. The diaconate, however, is not about self. It is about selflessness, about service, for "deacon" means "servant" or one who serves. I can only hope that some people have been truly and humbly served in some meaningful ways by my being a servant, of God, of the Church, and of others.
I take this opportunity and forum to greet my 15 classmates who were ordained deacons that happy day of June 28, 2008 "Happy Anniversary, Brothers!! May God bless you and the people you serve."
Our Lord Jesus instituted the seven Sacraments. These are all occasions for us to receive grace in our lives. These are all occasions to celebrate and be thankful to God for.
The grace and love of God -- Father, Son and Holy Spirit -- be with us always !! #