You may not think about it. You may not pray about it. You may not even know about it. But like it or not, if you’ve been baptised, God is calling you to be a prophet!
“A prophet? Who me?” That’s right, a prophet. And yes, you!
Now just because you probably don’t predict the future, don’t let that throw you. Because predicting the future is not the normal gift of prophecy.
When you were baptized, the holy Trinity called you, and gave you the grace to be priest, prophet, and king. That prophetic calling given to you means that you were, and will continue to be, until you take your last breath, an instrument of communicating the Almighty’s will. You are called to speak for God. And not in a timid, sheepish way, but in a courageous, confident way like the great biblical prophets: “Thus says the Lord!”
But speaking with bold confidence must be tempered with deep humility. For all gifts, including the baptismal gift of prophecy are not of our own making, but come from our gracious God.
And it is essential to remember that the words of God’s truth, as essential as they are for us to speak, are empty unless they are accompanied by sacrificial, selfless acts of love. For as the saying rings true: “Actions speak louder than words.”
For as Jesus said, “By their fruits you will know them. Not everyone who says to me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ will enter the kingdom of heaven, but only the one who does the will of my Father in heaven.”
As true prophets, we are always called, to the very best of our ability, to both speak and act as Jesus would. To be imitators of Christ Jesus.
But how can we know how to imitate Jesus? Pray with the Gospel every day! It is there that we have the life, teachings, lived example, miracles, suffering, death, and resurrection of God who loved and loves us enough to take on our flesh and human nature so as to show us the way, the truth and the life!
And as you reflect on the Lord Jesus, reflect on the concerns of your personal life, and the concerns of our suffering brothers and sisters, and that of our wounded earth-home. Ask yourself “WWJD” – that is, “What Would Jesus Do?” And what would Jesus not do?
Who would Jesus abort? Who would Jesus let go hungry? Who would Jesus euthanize? Who would Jesus bomb? Who would Jesus shoot? Who would Jesus execute? Who would Jesus turn away at our border? Whose suffering would Jesus ignore? And who would Jesus not encourage to care for our critically wounded planet which future generations will need to live on?
And then prayerfully ask yourself what Jesus is inspiring you to do to make a difference, to advance his kingdom on earth. And then put one foot in front of the other … and do it!
In a letter to St. Francis Xavier before his departure to India in 1541, St. Ignatius of Loyola famously used the Latin phrase “Ite, inflammate omnia”, meaning, “Go, set the world on fire!”
And St. Francis did exactly that. He set the world on fire! And in our own sphere we too can set the world on fire. On fire for love of God, for love of neighbor– especially the poor and vulnerable – and on fire for our earth-home (see: https://www.xavier.edu/mission-identity/xaviers-mission/who-is-francis-xavier).
God is calling you to higher heights. Don’t be daunted by the long journey. Think of the Chinese proverb: “A journey of a thousand miles starts with one step.”
So don’t be timid, don’t be afraid. God doesn’t call us to be prophets without giving us his prophetic grace. Take one step further. And take another step further, and every once in a while, look back at how far you have come. And then take another prophetic step forward.
And that’s what a prophet is called to do.
Tony Magliano is an internationally syndicated Catholic social justice and peace columnist. He is available to speak at diocesan or parish gatherings. Tony can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.