Tuesday, February 26, 2013

More on Prayer from an Orthodox Perspective

Pravmir: The Holy Fathers on Prayer

Deacon = Servant [of Works of Charity]?

Internet Archive: November 2006 issue of the Pastoral Review: Deacons and the Servant Myth by Anthony Gooley

It is frequently argued that the distinctive character of deacons is that they are servants called to the charitable and social justice ministry of the Church. The belief that service is distinctive of deacons is the servant myth. It is based on a false reading of Acts 6 and it has consequences for the way in which the Church receives the ministry of deacons. Breaking down this myth is the first step in restoring an authentic diaconate in the life of the Church. Anthony Gooley is a deacon and Ministry Development Officer in the Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Brisbane, Australia.

A proper understanding of what the order of the diaconate is necessary to address the question of whether there can be "ordained" deaconesses or not.

If we take the Greek text, as it is reproduced in RSV, we are able to construct a better picture of what is really happening in Acts 6.1-7. The Greek speaking Christians are complaining that their widows are being neglected in the daily diakonia. In Acts the diakonia is the proclamation of the Gospel.3 They are neglected for two reasons, the Aramaic speaking Apostles predominantly concentrate their proclamation in the Temple and the widows, who cannot comprehend the language and for social reasons are mostly restricted to the home, are overlooked in this daily diakonia. The solution proposed by the Apostles and agreed to by the whole Church is to appoint seven from among the Greek speaking community to do that daily diakonia in the homes of the Greek widows or as the expression in the Greek has it, to minister tables.4 Both the Apostles and the Seven had been entrusted with the same diakonia which is to minister or proclaim the word. To underscore this interpretation we see that Stephen immediately commences to proclaim the Gospel to the point of giving witness with his life (Acts 6-7.50) and Philip commences his diakonia of the word in proclaiming the Gospel, catechising the Ethiopian and baptising (Acts 8). The laying on of hands becomes the concrete sign that the ministry entrusted to the Apostles is to be entrusted to the Seven. The one thing we do not see the Seven do is charitable works or distributing food or funds to the widows, in fact we do not see anyone in the New Testament with the title of diakonos engaged in a specifically charitable service activity. This should give us some clues as we address the servant myth.

Would we have needed the development of the mendicant orders and their emphasis on preaching if we have a living, energetic diaconate at the time?

International Theological Commission - From the Diakonia of Christ to the Diakonia of the Apostles (2002)

Unlocking Divine Action: Contemporary Science and Thomas Aquinas

DSPT: Book Launch: “Unlocking Divine Action: Contemporary Science and Thomas Aquinas” by Fr. Michael Dodds, OP - Tuesday, April 23, 7.30pm

CUA Press

The Nature of Scientific Explanation by Jude P. Dougherty

Fr. Ashley's last? book: Healing for Freedom: A Christian Perspective on Personhood and Psychotherapy by Benedict M. Ashley, OP