when sheep make shepherds
"Look around among your own number, brothers, for seven men acknowledged to be deeply spiritual." —Acts 6:3
"They presented these men to the apostles." —Acts 6:6
Did you notice that the leaders of the early Church placed the responsibility for finding deacons on the "community of the disciples"? (Acts 6:2) That's us! We are to be on the lookout for those who would make good leaders in the Church.
This was new for the early Christians. Jewish priests and Levites were born into their positions. The apostles were called and chosen by Jesus Himself. The early Church, however, called the lay people to raise up future leaders from "among [their] own number" (Acts 6:3).
Our priests and bishops today cannot possibly know each person who may have a call to religious life and other forms of leadership in the Church. They depend on each one of us to do our part in building up the Church. We can do this by:
- asking God to reveal to us those "deeply spiritual and prudent" men and women (Acts 6:3),
- pointing out to these people their gifts,
- encouraging (Heb 10:25) them and praying for them,
- discipling them to be more "spiritual" (Acts 6:3),
- presenting these people to Church leaders by offering to introduce them to vocation directors, paying for them to go on retreats, etc. and
- making disciples (Mt 28:19) by having as many children as God calls us to have and raising them in the faith.
The leaders of the Church are depending on you. "Look around" (Acts 6:3).
Prayer: Father, may I be for You a scout who is full of encouragement (Nm 13:2, 30ff).
Promise: Jesus "told them, 'It is I; do not be afraid.' " —Jn 6:20
Praise: St. Vincent advised priests to ask God "to fill you with charity...; with it you can accomplish what you desire."
Reference: (This teaching was submitted by a member of our editorial team.)
Rescript: †Reverend Joseph R. Binzer, Vicar General of the Archdiocese of Cincinnati, October 23, 2007
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