Practice What You Teach


My family and I were blessed this past weekend to attend the Ordination to the Transitional Diaconate in our Diocese. A young man, whose journey to the priesthood we have been privileged to witness and be part of, was being ordained along with three other men. The Ordination Mass was just heavenly. There was so much richness to the various parts of the ceremony, from the candidates lying prostrate while the choir and congregation intoned the Litany of the Saints, to the laying on of hands by the Bishop, and the vesting of the new Deacons in stole and dalmatic.One aspect of the ceremony which struck me most profoundly was when each Deacon-candidate knelt before the Bishop and was handed the Book of the Gospels, with the exhortation to “Believe what you read, teach what you believe, and practice what you teach.” While Deacons and Priests have a special anointing, by virtue of the Sacrament of Holy Orders, to live out this exhortation – it occurred to me sitting in the pew, that we too, as Baptized Catholics, have a responsibility to live out these words in the world and in our domestic churches.This realization was made all the more vivid by the fact that just a few short hours earlier, my children had reminded me that I needed to “practice what I teach.” You see, our family’s pre-Ordination morning preparations were slightly less-than-heavenly. They included a rushed breakfast, several wardrobe changes, tangled hair, a missing card, tears, and a fair amount of yelling on my part about how it would be totally unacceptable to walk in late to the Ordination Mass. The “huss-fuss”, as my daughter likes to refer to these type of situations, culminated with my exasperated son saying “Why don’t you practice what you preach!”. My daughter, not


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