DIMENSIONS IN THE FORMATION OF DEACONS
124. Each person in formation is called to a mature relationship with those in authority, a relationship that includes a spirit of trust, mutual respect, and obedience. Accountability in formation is an invitation to a deeper conversion. A spirit of service to others is finally an imitation of Christ himself, who came to do not his own will but the will of his Father (Jn 5:30). Formation personnel, especially the spiritual direc tor, should give instructions on the meaning of authentic obedience and help each participant to appreciate and practice it in his life. 125. The role of the spiritual director, who must always be a priest, 25 is crit ical to the initial formation process, particularly in assisting the partic ipant to discern and affirm the signs of his vocation. 26 An individual’s spiritual director may be chosen directly by the participant, with the approval of the diocesan bishop, or from a list of spiritual directors sim ilarly approved. The distinction between internal and external forums must always be clearly maintained. A participant may also consult (or be requested to do so) with an advisor whom he may select with the approval of the director of formation. The advisor, however, does not substitute for the unique role of the spiritual director in initial forma tion and discernment. 27 126. Participants should also be able to lead and engage others in prayer. This ministry of prayer with others is one of the most common activ ities of deacons as they visit homes, hospitals, prisons, engage in mar riage preparation, and so on.
127. Intellectual formation offers the participant “substantial nourishment” for the pastoral, human, and spiritual dimensions of his life. Intellec tual formation is a “precious instrument” for effective discernment and ministry. 28 An increasingly educated society and the new roles of
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