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The Everyday Prayer

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Icon of the Holy Face
Church of Sant'Egidio, Rome

Reading of the Word of God

Praise to you, o Lord, King of eternal glory

The Spirit of the Lord is upon you.
The child you shall bear will be holy.

Praise to you, o Lord, King of eternal glory

1 Timothy 3, 8-13

Similarly, deacons must be respectable, not double-tongued, moderate in the amount of wine they drink and with no squalid greed for money.

They must hold to the mystery of the faith with a clear conscience.

They are first to be examined, and admitted to serve as deacons only if there is nothing against them.

Similarly, women must be respectable, not gossips, but sober and wholly reliable.

Deacons must be husbands of one wife and must be people who manage their children and households well.

Those of them who carry out their duties well as deacons will earn a high standing for themselves and an authoritative voice in matters concerning faith in Christ Jesus.


Praise to you, o Lord, King of eternal glory

Look down, O Lord, on your servants.
Be it unto us according to your word.

Praise to you, o Lord, King of eternal glory

Alongside the office of "bishop", Paul mentions that of the deacon. It is a very important ministry in the life of the first Christian communities. The Acts of the Apostles report their election and the task that was entrusted to them for the care of harmony in the life of brothers and sisters. Paul requires that they be tested prior to being chosen, because the entrusted task demands responsibility, since their service is closely tied to the life of the community. The Apostles instituted them to solve the serious crisis of the first apostolic community regarding the issue of the Hellenistic widows who were neglected in comparison to these of Jerusalem. (Acts 6:1-7). Only after being certain of their conduct can they be chosen for this service. And once chosen and ordained they should keep "the mystery of faith with a clear conscience," because they help the poor, preach and baptize. Nothing harms the faith so much as pride and the protagonism which belies with deeds the truth of being "servants" which is written into the very term "deacon." They show the bishop and all the believers that the life of the disciple should always be "diaconal," that is, a service to the Gospel, to the community and to the poor. Paul also mentions women here, perhaps the wives of the deacons or those who held some office in the community, "deaconesses," of which he speaks a bit later (5:9-16) and among which is named Phoebe, "deacon of the church at Cenchrea" (Rom 16:1). These women, since they carry out a significant activity in the community, should be "serious, not slanderers, but temperate, faithful in all things." As for the bishops, also for the deacons, it is asked that they have been married only once. Paul holds the diaconate in great honour, and writes to Timothy that "serving well" makes one achieve "good standing", obviously not in the worldly sense of a social position which is acquired, but in that of the gospel law which entrusts the "servant" —the "deacon," — with primacy in the Church.

Memory of the Mother of the Lord