I was ordained to the diaconate on March 25, 2017 here at All Saints in Charlottesville. Like many major events in our lives, it is hard to remember all the details of the day. I do remember prostrating, administering the chalice for the first time, and listening to Fr. Glenn tell me that he did not care about my personal qualities. That part in his homily took me by surprise, to be sure, but then I realized how correct he was. On that day, I was completely changed despite any excellence or deficiency of my personality. Even more, the change that occurred cannot be taken away. I will always be a deacon, even now that I am a priest, and will continue to be my whole life, whether I feel it, like it, or want it.
This is hard for some to understand--in fact, Holy Order is hard for people to understand. If you want to learn more or if you need an eloquent reminder, read Fr. Glenn's homily at my diaconate ordination. Let me just give you a teaser:
You have come before us in a plain white alb. You will soon be vested in a deacon’s stole and a dalmatic. You will sing the Gospel. And you will bring the precious blood of Jesus to the Church gathered around this altar. You come, as it were, with nothing and you are given everything. We all come emptied handed and yet the God of the Universe is pleased to rest in the palm of our hands. You, soon-to-be Father Sean McDermott — you have come before us in a plain white alb. You are the very image of an empty, white canvas. And upon your emptiness, God the Father will paint the living Icon of our Savior Jesus Christ. This is your high esteem, this is your life project, your true vocation — to empty yourself so that you may be to us all the living Image of our Savior Jesus Christ.
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