The Role of Prophets

Two Israelite prophets, Moses and Isaiah, the Virgin Mary as prophetess, and Jesus of Nazareth as prophet.

I listened to a podcast recently about what happens to culture who do not listen to intuitives, seers, visionaries, and prophets. There is chaos, decay, degradation. In the West, we have marginalized those who see visions, hear voices, and dream dreams. We relegate them to psych wards or to fringe spiritual groups. For such would-be prophets, there is no community context in which to share the insights they are receiving. And so they are forced to wander, pimp out their gifts, or go insane.

I am one such sensitive who hears inner voices, sees visions, and finds that her dreams really do come true. I do not have the luxury of denying the spiritual realm. I am steeped in it, whether I like it or not. And I am one of those who has ended up in a psych ward, who has been drugged, who has been given a DSM-5 label. I’m not saying that every mentally ill person is an intuitive, but there sure are a lot of intuitives in the psych wards–that I can tell you from experience.

The voices have been louder lately. These are not the kind that land me in the hospital, though. I feel deep peace, groundedness, and safety, despite the horrors that they speak of.

The Catholic tradition is built on prophecy. There is no denying that. My tradition interprets the Hebrew prophets as pointing to Jesus Christ. I’m not going to argue on that particular point here, but that is part of my tradition. And Jesus himself was a prophet and saw himself as such. Unfortunately, prophecy has fallen to the fringe groups of Catholicism, and the mainstream church looks askance at people like me. I lack a context in which to share the things I hear.

So what is the role of a prophet?

Modern-day teachers will tell you that the role of the prophet is to be a critical voice in a wayward culture, to point out injustice, and to call people back to wholeness. Fundamentalists will say that a prophet is a mouthpiece for God, a useful tool in the hands of the Almighty.

From my experience of hearing, seeing, and experiencing the spiritual realm, I would call a prophet a bridge between the worlds who points the way back to harmony with the web of life and the order of the universe. The role of a community in relation to the prophet is to provide context, to give the prophet a sounding board and counsel that provides discernment. Without this context, an intuitive may hear voices and not know who is speaking to them, see visions and not know what they mean, have dreams that beg interpretation and have no vocabulary to do so.

When I started hearing voices again, I was highly cautious. I’m still cautious. I have gone mad listening to spirits who have meant me harm. But these voices are different. I am left feeling at peace, neutral, unperturbed, even if they speak of horrors. It is only when I look at the news and think about what exactly these voices are telling me that I begin to feel fear, not because I think they’re wrong, but because what they’re saying to me is uncannily accurate.

They speak to me of a coming war, “war the likes of which has never been seen.” They speak to me of famine, of land laid waste, of earth that won’t produce. They speak to me of sickness that has no cure, of mass death. The location is the European theater, the perpetrator is Russia and her allies. As I meditated on what they were saying to me, I felt led to look at the news. NPR reported that Vladimir Putin warned of nuclear war if NATO put troops on the ground in Ukraine. And then I realized that it is nuclear war that these voices speak of, that the land will be laid waste by atomic bombs, that “the walking dead” are those poisoned by radiation, for which there is no cure.

I felt my stomach drop. I hear the voices saying to me, “Time is running out.” What is their solution?

Speak peace. Uproot the violence from your own heart. Be reconciled to your friends and family, and forgive your enemies. Return to the Divine, to the Sacred, to the Great Mystery that is love and only love. And pray the rosary.

Why the rosary?

It is the story of life triumphing over death, of good prevailing over evil. The rosary speaks hope in a dark time, peace in a violent world, love in a climate of hatred. Where bullets spray, speak a spray of roses. As the world clamors for your attention, attend to the rose garden. Where leaders are crowned by corruption and greed, pray a crown of roses for the Lady who said:

“My soul magnifies the Lord,
and my spirit rejoices in God my savior.
For he has looked with favor
on his lowly handmaiden.
From this day, all generations will call me blessed.
The Almighty has done great things for me,
and holy is his name.
He has mercy on those who fear him
in every generation.
He has shown the strength of his arm.
He has scattered the proud in their conceit.
He has cast down the mighty from their thrones
and has lifted up the lowly.
He has filled the hungry with good things,
and the rich he has sent away empty.
He has come to the help of his servant Israel,
for he has remembered his promise of mercy,
the promise he made to our fathers,
to Abraham and his children forever.”

It is not only horror that I hear, but hope. A land renewed. A fruitful Earth. Peace among the nations, ruled by righteous leaders. I recite Mary’s Magnificat every night because I have to hold on to the hope she has, that love will come out victorious over violence, greed, and injustice.

If there is any role for a prophet, it is this: to speak of love. These voices warn of calamity to come out of love. There is no other reason. I am not afraid. I do not share what I hear to instill fear, but instead to create sobriety. These are dark times, and we need to take a sober look at ourselves. They say to me, “There is disaster in the earth because of your sins. Your violence is what brings war. Your greed is what destroys the earth.” The solution is metanoia, a shift in consciousness, changing our minds.

The whole point of The Power of One is that one transformed person can transform the world. You can be such a person. Plug in to divine love and see what happens. Be merciful to others. Make peace. Seek the goodness that you can’t buy. Speak roses instead of malice. And hope in the Great Love that permeates the cosmos, the Life of all life whose victory over death and evil is certain and true. Let Love transfigure you so that you can be the light of the world.