One of My First Deacons

Reflection for the 7th Sunday of Easter, which falls on Mother’s Day by FAN Director of Campaigns, Jason Miller

This reflection was originally posted in our May 2nd newsletter

Ruth Biehler

Ruth Biehler, Grandmother of FAN’s Jason Miller would have been 94 on May 13th.

In Sunday’s first reading, (Acts 7:55-60) we hear of the martyrdom of Saint Stephen, one of the first deacons and the first martyr of the Church. A deacon’s first job is to proclaim the Good News, the Gospel. While we hear the Good News proclaimed from the pulpit at Church, there are other places we hear the Gospel proclaimed as well. As Sunday is also Mother’s Day, I have been thinking a lot about the people in my life who were the first ones to proclaim the Gospel to me. For many people, myself included, the first person we hear about the Gospel from is our mother. Our mothers are our first “deacons.” Mothers teach children how to pray and take them to Church, just as mine did. And like St. Stephen who made the ultimate sacrifice of martyrdom, our first “deacons,” our mothers, make untold sacrifices for us as well.

One of my other first “deacons,” my Grandmother, made numerous sacrifices for our family. The word deacon comes from Greek meaning “servant,” and she spent her entire life in the service of God and her family. Her mother died when she was just twelve, forcing her to quit school to go work on the family farm. For decades afterwards, my Grandmother would cook Sunday meals and clean for her father, and never complained about the extra work that she had to do for him, or for not being able to complete her education.

But perhaps the biggest sacrifice she made was when she married my Grandfather. He was not Catholic and so her local Catholic Church, where she had buried her mother just a little over a decade earlier, would not marry my Grandparents. Undeterred, my Grandmother went to the Catholic Church on the other side of town. They were allowed to get married there, but only in the Church rectory. Still, my Grandmother attended that Church for the rest of her life. My Grandparents renewed their vows on their 50th wedding anniversary at the Church (this time inside) and are buried in the town’s Catholic cemetery. There was nothing more important to my Grandmother than her family and her faith. She was willing to do anything for either, and also knew that she could not live without both. In being our family’s “deacon,” she was in complete service to both God and her family and by keeping both intact, proclaimed the Gospel in a way that was ahead of her time.

On this Mother’s Day let’s all take the time to thank those “deacons” in our lives who made sacrifices and proclaimed the Good News to us, whether they be here on earth or in heaven. I know that I am eternally grateful for mine.

Jason Miller
FAN Director of Campaigns and Development


Published in: on May 3, 2016 at 8:51 am  Leave a Comment  

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