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The Faith of a Deacon

Area Leadership Message

DE-FEO-Massimo
By Elder Massimo De Feo, Italy Area Seventy

I still remember with emotion when, at age 12, I was called by my branch president into his office on a Sunday morning and he told me the Lord desired that I be ordained a deacon.  I remember the profound emotion I experienced at the thought of receiving the priesthood, being an official representative of the Lord, authorized to act in His name. It was such a profound emotion that I felt the Lord was truly talking to me through my branch president.  I remember believing I heard the voice of the Lord gently saying: “This is the will of the Lord, it is He who is talking to you...” It was such a profound emotion that it changed my heart forever. 

During that interview, the president explained that the most important thing for me was going to be passing the sacrament on Sundays, or else helping the Lord with the most sacred ordinance.  I felt a great responsibility, which the Lord himself was entrusting me with.  Then, when the branch president laid his hands on my head to ordain me a deacon, I felt a great joy and the authority to act in the most important thing for the Lord and for me.

I still remember how every Sunday morning, while walking to church, I prayed to be called on to pass the sacrament and to thus be able to fulfill what the Lord himself had asked me, which was to help Him in the most important thing for Him and for me.  Then whenever I heard my name called with others to pass the sacrament, I would think: “The Lord has answered my prayer once again this Sunday.”  It mattered little if there were only two or three deacons—always the same ones—being called on every Sunday.  It didn’t matter to me at all.  For me it had nothing to do with numbers or human logic, for me it was always a matter of the Spirit.  I knew it was the Lord calling me, and to me every time that was an answer to the prayer I offered while walking to church.  I firmly believed that He needed me, without realizing that instead it was I who needed Him really. 

By pondering these memories, I learned three principles on spiritual self-reliance.

The first one is that when we participate in the sacrament actively—whether we take it or pass it—and do it with sincerity of heart and with full intent, we can feel a real power in our lives which touches our hearts and opens our minds and allows us to grow spiritually.  This peculiar power is connected to the ordinances of the gospel, as the Savior taught: “Therefore, in the ordinances thereof, the power of godliness is manifest.”(1)

“Therefore, in the ordinances thereof, the power of godliness is manifest.”(1)

Each time we participate in the ordinances of the gospel, like the sacrament or those of the temple, we can feel the power of godliness in our lives, a real power which renews our spirits, changes our hearts, strengthens our faith and helps us become spiritually self-reliant.  President Uchtdorf said: “Living according to the basic gospel principles will bring power, strength, and spiritual self-reliance into the lives of all Latter-day Saints.”(2)

“Living according to the basic gospel principles will bring power, strength, and spiritual self-reliance into the lives of all Latter-day Saints.”(2)

The basic gospel principles are closely linked to the ordinances, and every time we take part in them, we receive more power and we become more spiritually self-reliant.

The second principle I learned is that service for the Lord, like the one I offered as a young deacon, strengthens us every time we respond to His call.  In other words, the more we give to the Lord, the more strength and power we receive from Him, or in other words the more we serve, the more we become spiritually self-reliant.

Lastly I learned that faith in Jesus Christ truly is the first principle of power. He said: “Draw near unto me and I will draw near unto you.” (3)   

“Draw near unto me and I will draw near unto you.” (3)

The faith of a young deacon who prayed while walking to church that he could do the most important thing that the Lord had asked him to do has grown enormously since then. The more I have drawn nearer to Him, the more He has drawn nearer to me, helping me to always be spiritually self-reliant.  For this I will be grateful to the Lord forever.

  1. Doctrine & Covenants 84:20.
  2. Dieter F. Uchtdorf, “Christlike Attributes—the Wind beneath Our Wings,” Liahona, November 2005”
  3. Doctrine & Covenants 88:63