Dimensions of Formation
There are four dimensions of Deacon Formation:
- Human Formation is the foundation of the other three.
- Spiritual Formation informs the other three.
- Intellectual Formation enables the understanding of the other three;
- Pastoral Formation expresses the other three in practice.
The spiritual formation dimension of the Deacon Formation Program is rooted in the understanding that all people are made in the image and likeness of God. As Genesis 1:26 proclaims, God has spoken at creation, “Let us make man in our image, after our likeness.” Deacon’s spiritual formation is also rooted in the knowledge that God has formed all people. Again as Genesis 2:7-8 boldly proclaims, “The Lord God formed man out of dust from the ground and breathed into his nostrils the breadth of life.” The spiritual life is a life drawing closer to God by always growing in awareness of God’s creative intimacy.
This understanding is the foundational principle of the spiritual formation aspects in the Deacon Formation Program. The National Directory for the Formation, Ministry, and Life of Permanent Deacons in the United States (Washington, DC: USCCB) expresses this very eloquently: “The spiritual life is, therefore, dynamic and never static.
The first goal of spiritual formation is the establishment and nourishment of attitude, habits, and practices that will set the foundation for a lifetime of ongoing spiritual discipline.”
- A well-developed faith and an established relationship to Jesus Christ
- An established devotion to Mary, the Mother of God
- A regular routine of daily personal and communal prayer, demonstrated in recitation of the Liturgy of the Hours, regular attendance at Eucharist, regular reception of the Sacrament of Reconciliation, reflection time on Sacred Scripture, and personal reflection time
- An understanding of “the spirituality of the deacon” rooted in active service
- An established pattern of on-going spiritual renewal demonstrated by attendance at annual retreats, regular days of recollection and other forms of spiritual renewal
- An established pattern of prayer surrounding the Church’s liturgical calendar as evidenced by regular reflection on the readings of the liturgical year