Harold Burke-Sivers – the “Dynamic Deacon”
2018 SUMMIT SPEAKER: BREAKING THE SPIRITUAL GLASS CEILING
Deacon Harold Burke-Sivers – known as the “Dynamic Deacon” – is one of the world’s most sought-after Catholic speakers today. An accomplished preacher and evangelist, Deacon BurkeSivers, 51, travels across the world speaking at conferences, workshops, parish retreats and other events to help people who desire a deeper relationship with Jesus Christ. He is also a published author and radio cohost whose areas of expertise include marriage and family life, men’s spirituality, prolife issues, the sacraments, evangelization and prayer. At the 2018 Legatus Summit in January, Deacon Burke-Sivers will deliver a speech entitled, “Rich in Mercy: Finding Healing in God’s Mercy.” He spoke with Legatus magazine staff writer Brian Fraga.
How did you get started in your apostolic work?
I never intended to do any of this. I had a career in campus law enforcement when I started studying for the diaconate. The only thing I had been speaking about was job-related, like violence risk, threat assessment, emergency response to terrorism, that kind of thing. What God did was take the speaking ability I had developed in my professional career, and combine it with my theological training. Then once I was ordained, God put me on a path towards eventually leaving my full-time job, which I did five years ago, to speak and to write full-time.
What keeps you motivated to write and speak all over the country?
What fuels me is first of all, knowing that I’m doing God’s will. Also, the love and support of my wife because I couldn’t do any of this without her love and her blessing. And of course, my monastic experience — which fostered a love for prayer, a love for Adoration, a love for the Mass, a love for devotions like the rosary — is something I draw from all the time.
What are the biggest threats facing marriage and family today?
The biggest challenge to marriage and family life is actually keeping God at the heart and center of the marriage. What often happens over time with couples is that life starts becoming about the business of the marriage, the bills, the mortgage, raising the kids, not to mention career building. There is just so much going on that couples don’t have time to work on their relationship. They forget about Christ as the heart and center of what their relationship is all about.
I think trying to really help couples see Christ in the busy-ness, in the everyday-ness of married life, is really critical. If you build strong families, you’re going to build strong children and you’re going have a strong society as a result.
Why is men’s spirituality so important?
Men are the heads of the families, and why are they the heads? Because they’re the chief servants of their wives and children, like Christ, who said, “I did not come to be served but to serve. The greatest among you is the least, is the servant of all.” The model for us as men is Christ crucified. We need to get back to that ethos as men.
What will your talk focus on at the 2018 Legatus Summit?
When it comes to Catholic business professionals and leaders of all sorts, often they will reach a plateau in their lives. They reach a certain level and can’t get past that blockage. Why is that blockage there? Often, it’s not anything to do with the business world at all; it’s internal. It’s things that we’re dealing with from our past that have influenced us as leaders. What I’m going to do is talk, very personally from my own story, about how you can overcome that blockage. To me, it all hinges upon God’s incredible mercy and I’m going to talk about that.
What have been your impressions of Legatus in speaking to chapters across the country?
I think Legatus is a phenomenal organization. The Scriptures say money is not the root of all evil, it’s the love of money. So to have a Catholic organization that brings together business professionals and CEOs and says, “You know that you can do what God is calling you to do in the business world without divorcing your faith from that.” It’s about integrating your faith into your professional life at that level, where they can influence culture, influence their employees and influence society.