Anne Lastman A Reflection “Peter,” The Holy Father, Pope Francis, without breaking the line of…
What started out as a discussion amongst friends slowly progressed into hot words over the topic of what is a prophet. Some amongst the friends thought that a prophet is someone like the prophets of the Old Testament but now that we are in New Testament times there is no more need for prophets because Jesus has spoken all that there is to be said. Then there are those who think that prophets and prophecy are for the “thin brained” (whatever that means)!!!! It turned into an interesting discussion to say the least. My understanding is that a prophet is someone called by God to be His spokesman.
A prophet would probably never choose such a career because it’s both thankless and not very financial. A prophet’s life is one who always speaks about what is wrong in “the day” and how God sees the society. Indeed A prophet sees with the eyes of God and speaks about all the “woes! To thee”
As I pondered more and more about this “career” called prophet, I thought about the prophets of old and those of our day. Do we have any? And if so who are they? Do we recognise them as prophets or as some “troublemakers” or “idiots” who just don’t know when to stay silent? Or even some doom and gloom merchants. I think probably all of the above, but the real prophets of the “day” remain very clearly visible yet almost invisible. Visible because they are very loudly speaking contra societal mores yet invisible because no one really sees them as prophets. Maybe that’s a good thing because the life expectancy of the prophets of the Old period wasn’t that good.
Does our society actually speak about prophets and prophecy? Except maybe those on the loony fringe?
I remember recently speaking with someone who definitely is a prophet of doom, the world is surely about to collapse in a heap, and when this starts I tend to wander (glazed eyed look) because if the world is going to collapse into a heap then there is not much we can do about it but collapse, and we with it. But I did though, start thinking about prophets of our days and our times and the things that they spoke/speak , propheies about is happening and tried to warn us against, and looking back into our recent history we can see that there were voices of warning but we did not listen and hence we are where we are.
Actually it was talk about the “London riots” which set us off on this stimulating and highly (lol) “intellectual debate” What were the riots about? The damage? The pain? The result? The reasons for riots? And of course over lattes and sometimes a cointreau or three various thoughts and ideas exchanged
The Most oft mentioned prophet of our era appeared to be the Dalai Lama, followed by Ghandi, followed by Mother Teresa (surprise, surprise) followed by John Lennon of all people! (I think his song imagine had something to do with it) followed by Bob Geldof…..I listened stunned. I couldn’t believe that we are such good friends (sharing our cointreaus) and thought worlds apart. Maybe it was the cointreau that did dull my brain but I could not believe or could not see where their answers and ideas were coming from.
Well after cointreau no 3 with shredded strawberry bits over ice (no I am not a drinker..Just a cointreau lover) my tongue loosened and I think I let it rip.
“What about Pius XII who guided the church through the war years and protected and helped Jewish people through various and hidden way, and today is whilst there are some who still say he did not “do enough” he is rated amongst Scholars and Hebrew knowledgeable as “Righteous amongst the nations” a title of honour given to those gentiles who helped Jews during the holocaust. He spoke out against the Nazi Regime. And after the war continued to guide the church through the turmoil which follows any war and the destabilisation effect which a war has.
What about Paul VI who wrote the magnificent paper Humane Vitae (1968) as a response to the cultural changes of the fifties and sixties, the drug culture, the loose sex and throw away bra culture, the feminist revolution, and the introduction of the “pill” which would serve to change forever our understanding and honour of sexuality, feminity and masculinity.
This Modern Prophet Paul VI stood against all even those within the church and said NO to contraception because it is NO to God and to life and would eventually lead to loss of respect between men and women and the use of each other’s bodies as objects rather than what God had intended them to be.
The words Paul VI spoke, so prophetic, we have the fruit today just in one biblical generation, 40 years, visible for all to see, listen to this from 40 years ago “It is also to be feared that the man growing used to the employment of anti conceptive practices, may finally lose respect for the woman and no longer caring for her physical and psychological equilibrium , may come to the point of considering her as a mere instrument of selfish enjoyment , and no longer his respected and beloved companion.” (HV17)
This document was spoken and delivered by a prophet of our day and like the prophets of old we also didn’t listen or change and looking around society we see abuse of sexuality, abortion in holocaust dimensions, homosexuality not only practices by demanded as a right to be legal and defined as marriage. Sexual abuse and exploitation of children pandemic, demand for abortion and its implementation, leading to demand to euthanasia. Where the rights of a bush rat more important than a child in the womb or a disabled human……..All this why? Because I think we refused to listen to a prophet speaking the words we needed to hear, and when God speaks through His prophets and as long as the prophets do their job well and still the people do not respond then God acts, and generally that is done in a way which leaves humanity to slowly disintegrate until it is ready to call out for help and to Listen. We are not quite there yet.
Blessed John Paul II another great prophet one who is/was of our own time. Many of us have spoken and heard him speak to young and old about Hope, Love, faith, and Holiness. Especially Holiness of the Body.
As he looked back over the past 50 years he saw the change in how the body was/is perceived and wrote the magnificent works like Love and Responsibility Veritatis Splendour, Theology of the Body, Dives Misericordia, Ecclesia Eucharestia, Fids et Ratio, redemptoris Hominis, Pastores Dabo Vobus, Dominus Iesus, Familiaris Consortio, Letter to Families, Letter to Women, Muglieris Dignitatum, and list continues a mile long. And the greatest thing amongst all of his works is His recognition and expression and speaking about the human being and the holiness of the human person when understood well. So holy is the human body understood well that God Himself in Jesus took it also.
This modern “Prophet” saw that the malaise of humanity was its spiritual loss, spiritual apathy resulting in abandonment of all its understanding about holiness, humane behaviour, humanity, love, holy sexuality, respect, honour. The very things which make us different from the beastly creation. With what seemed like rapid fire speed “things” had changed and in the change a new and fraudulent type of humanity emerged. He spoke and wrote against the imposter.
John Paul II travelled, spoke, gave formerly unknown and unparalleled audiences, teachings, and hope especially to the young, whom he saw as the hope of the church, society and future. This was a Prophet in our time and in our day. And I was privileged to be at several of his audiences. God always sends us the people needed for the times we live in.
Paul VI…to try and stem the sexual revolution emerging from the acceptance of contraception.
John XXIII a prophet to Bring the Church as a whole into the NOW time so that Gods gifts could be understood with a Spirit speaking the language of Now, however, sabotaging the Holy Spirit’s work which would have come as a result of Vat II has cost the saboteurs and the church and the flock dearly.
The documents of Vatican II understood in their proper intent are magnificent and will one day be fully discovered, perhaps by the generation that God is preparing to bring out of the modern “Egypt”.
John Paul II a magnificent prophet who wrote more on the holiness of the body than all the other Popes throughout history, in order to try and restore the human being as it was “in the beginning”
Because in the beginning it was not as it is now. “in the beginning it was not so” He spoke of being able to return the young to that place of the beginning. His hope for the new exodus out of the new “Egypt” was the young, and the new charisms emerging which would support and encourage the family. .His gift of Prophecy was for a return to holiness, to family, to respect and love of body as God had intended in the beginning.
And then Benedict XVI…a newer prophet but the prophet most needed for these times. A prophet to steer the Church through the miasma of suffering due to sins committed by those who held a place of honour, trust and respect.
This prophet who speaks with humility and great apology , and stand there humbly with his hand tied just like Jesus in front of Pilate , for the sins of his brothers, has the courage to call again for trust, where perhaps trust is hard to give. Slowly, with words, actions, meetings, hard decisions, he is speaking again the words which are needed to be spoken and could not be spoken because of the sins of the church.
By the sins of some members of the church, satan, the father of lies attempted to silence the voice of the church on matters of faith and morals, Benedict XVI emerges and asks forgiveness for sins committed. Slowly this prophet, again with the young (over a million in Madrid) is saying forgive us “our trespasses” but I believe in you. You pick up the cross and carry it onwards. I trust in you. We have prophets of the type of Jeremiah, Isaiah, Ezekiel, Amos, Hosea, Zechariah.
They just have a modern name, and we have to listen to them otherwise like the prophet Jeremiah who was known as the prophet of “woe” we may just also hear the same “Woe”