Although at first the functions of an Acolyte appear to be the same as those normally deputed to those who assist the Priest at Mass or Communicate the sick or infirm, the spiritual dimension is ordered towards eventually offering the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass as an instrument of Christ. The Priest no longer speaks in his own person during the words of Consecration but rather that of the one true High Priest. Thus, this step towards Holy Orders should reflect the fact that Christ is the true Savior, while the Acolyte is merely a minister to His human instrument. The Blessed Sacrament is the Son of God present to us, so that we may partake of His Body, Blood, Soul, and Divinity. As an Acolyte, I am called to imitate Him more perfectly, particularly in the way He continually offers His entire self to the Holy Trinity in perfect worship. All of the faithful are called to participate in this offering, but the Acolyte should help guide others into doing so more perfectly by deepening their knowledge and love of the Mass.
While reflecting on this rite, I was particularly struck by the fact that the Bishop called each of us by name to become an Acolyte. Much of formation focuses on how we seminarians can help to discern God's will and become better men, better Christians, and finally better priests. Yet this doesn't happen on our own, but rather in a community with the guidance of the Church. Looking around at the others in my class as we prepared to begin Mass, I was struck by the joy that we shared with each other and our guests that day. Certainly, this was a festive occasion but, with the many challenges to living a life in imitation of Christ right now, one might expect more trepidation or anxiety about taking another step towards permanently giving our lives to God and His Church. We know that there have been and will be great sacrifices involved, ones which we can't fully fathom yet, but we also know that the intimacy in prayer with the Blessed Lord is enough to make us thrive in the face of such adversity.
To any that are discerning, I would tell them that my three years in formation so far has been an amazing adventure, one I could not have had anywhere else. We are being formed in a time when we will have to be serious about living our faith, for we have seen what happens when we do not conform ourselves to the teachings of Our Lord and stray far from the profound depths of prayer. Yet, this crisis is itself an occasion for great renewal in the Church, for the Lord is calling brave and courageous men to be His instruments of redemption, as He has done in past ages. Thus, I would say that we should not be afraid to offer ourselves to the Lord and His Church, for this is the way in which we may follow Christ more fully.