I know I have been very quiet whilst the propedeutic year has been taking place. We are almost done! We have two months to go before our retreat and then our evaluation will take place early May. The reports and references will then be sent to the Bishop who will in turn call forward those who are to be admitted to Diaconal formation.
It has turned out to be a year of great insight and indeed the propedeutic weekends have proved to be quite intense. My journey to date has been one of many emotions and much soul searching, which I suppose is the reason for the year. In the middle of it all our 6th child Sadhbh Maria Frances arrived (11th Nov '09) so the house has been hectic! Many folk have asked me the question "How are you gonna do it all?" some with sympathetic expression and others witha deep sense of curiosity. I simply explain that whenever one decides to go forward to do something new it is always at the busiest time no matter where in ones life path that choice is made. Had I considered this 10 years ago I would have been busy. If I was to consider this in 10 years time, I would be busy.
I deeply believe that busy-ness is a gift and has nothing to do with our choices and should not interfere with our decision making because when one decides to do something good for God and for the Church, that individual and those dependent on him / her will be given the Grace to go forward. I have already seen, in a very tangible way, the Grace of God at work over the past number of months in my family. So I repeat, considering a move to a new venture in life has nothing to do with busy-ness and everything got to do with Grace. That is why the discerning must be built on the bedrock of persistent pondering prayer.
The course directors from both the Archdiocese of Dublin and from my own Diocese of Kildare and Leighlin are very dedicated and always available to us which is great. They have worked together to give us a great insight into some of the facets in a life of service. I admire them for their committment since both of them have very big National & Diocesan portfolio's to commit to outside of this propedeutic programme.
The other 9 lads are great. All from different backgrounds and ages and experience which I personally find enriching. When I say 9 others I should point out that the 7 K & L lads are aspiring together with the 3 lads from Dublin. We meet up once a month in 'Emmaus' retreat centre in Swords, Co. Dublin for a thematic weekend where varied speakers delve into a topic again from different perspectives. Of course we gather to pray too and this is central to our days.
Only last weekend we were given our first assignment. To write a 2000 word essay on 'The Role of the Deacon in the Catholic Church'. Having trained in the discipline of Science and Maths and having engaged with them for almost 18 years at the black/white boards, I am excellent with precision like 1 + 1 = 2 or the expansion of sin(180 + A) I could push it to finding the roots of the complex equation z3 = 3+4i etc.
But an essay to me is like standing at the bank of a flowing river not being able to see the source or the summit and seeing the water flow as a torrent of identical molecules. Together, I suppose they make sense, but not seeing them all together leaves one in awe and a little perplexed as to who the whole things works together.
So after almost a year what have I to report? To be honest not a lot that I can share since the journey is a deep, spiritual and personal one. All I can say is that things are progressing and if you come across this post, I would ask you to please pray for us as we discern what it is God wants of us.
Múlier, ecce fílius tuus, Totus Tuus!