A long piece by Christopher Gattis in Church Life Journal attempts to answer that question and explore how she fits in to her husband’s vocation.
The marriage of the deacon “forms the basis” of his “unique gift within the Church.” By the sacramental nature of marriage, the wife of the deacon necessarily cooperates in this donation by her participation in effecting this basis. She ministers, or serves, in this domestic church, as well as—according to the witness of this uniquely characterized marriage—the local Church:
A married deacon, with his wife and family, gives witness to the sanctity of marriage. The more they grow in mutual love, conforming their lives to the Church’s teaching on marriage and sexuality, the more they give to the Christian community a model of Christ-like love, compassion, and self-sacrifice. The married deacon must always remember that through his sacramental participation in both vocational sacraments, first in Matrimony and again in Holy Orders, he is challenged to be faithful to both. With integrity he must live out both sacraments in harmony and balance. . . . A deacon and his wife, both as a spiritual man and woman and as a couple, have much to share with the bishop and his priests about the Sacrament of Matrimony. A diaconal family also brings a unique presence and understanding of the domestic family. “By facing in a spirit of faith the challenges of married life and the demands of daily living, [the married deacon and his family] strengthen the family life not only of the Church community but of the whole of society.”
There’s much more here to absorb, and the intended audience is clearly academic. (The footnotes are extensive!) I’ve only scratched the surface myself—but I’m looking forward to seeing what else he has to say. Read it all here.
Photo: from Deacon Greg Kandra