Son of man, stand up! I wish to speak with you. As he spoke to me, the Spirit entered into me and set me on my feet, and I heard the one who was speaking say to me: Son of man, I am sending you to the Israelites, rebels who have rebelled against me; they and their fathers have revolted against me to this very day. Hard of face and obstinate of heart are they to whom I am sending you. But you shall say to them: Thus says the Lord GOD! And whether they heed or resist–for they are a rebellious house–they shall know that a prophet has been among them (Ezekiel 2:1-5).
There are different kinds of spiritual gifts but the same Spirit; there are different forms of service but the same Lord; there are different workings but the same God who produces all of them in everyone. To each individual the manifestation of the Spirit is given for some benefit. To one is given through the Spirit the expression of wisdom; to another the expression of knowledge according to the same Spirit; to another faith by the same Spirit; to another gifts of healing by the one Spirit; to another mighty deeds; to another prophecy; to another discernment of spirits; to another varieties of tongues; to another interpretation of tongues. But one and the same Spirit produces all of these, distributing them individually to each person as he wishes (1 Corinthians 12:4-11).
We tend to think of a “prophet” as someone who forecasts the future. Of course, some Old Testament prophets did know the future. But being prophetic is a much broader call to proclaim the good news of what God has done and what he is prepared to do. When you look at it this way, you can see that we as Catholic men are all called to be prophetic as well.
Does this sound strange to you? Don’t worry. You have, dwelling in your heart, the same Holy Spirit who empowered Ezekiel, Isaiah, Elijah, John the Baptist, and all the others. The Holy Spirit desires to pour out his gifts on you (1 Corinthians 12:11), so you can become a prophetic voice in your home, church, and community!
A word of caution, however: A prophet speaks God’s word, and that word comes from the Holy Spirit, not just from his own thoughts and imaginings. So how do we prepare our hearts and minds for the Lord to speak his words through us? First of all, every day we need to ask the Lord to fill us afresh with his Spirit so he can speak God’s words through us. Then we need to open ourselves to the Holy Spirit more and more each day through prayer, Scripture reading and the Sacraments. As we do this, we’ll begin to hear him speaking to our hearts and minds. We will feel him prompting us to speak to this or that person, and we will get a sense of what we should say—and what we should not say!
How can we tell if something is coming from the Holy Spirit or from another source? If the sense you are getting leads you to love Jesus more, to be more compassionate and kind, or to be more courageous in evangelizing, it’s probably from the Spirit. If it leads to self-reliance, judgmentalism, fear, or frustration, it’s probably from another source. And even if the “good” senses are coming from your own mind, they won’t hurt you. Time and the fruit will tell where it really did come from.
God wants to form us. He wants to open our eyes. All he needs is our cooperation. He doesn’t want to make it hard for us to become prophetic. We just have to be bold and step out in faith, and then test the results. We really can light the way for others, telling them about the abundant life that God has in store for them. And we’ll actually be giving them a glimpse into the future!
“Lord Jesus, I accept your call to be prophetic. Pour out your Holy Spirit on me so that I can proclaim your saving love and your saving word to others. Come, Holy Spirit, and fill me with the mind of Christ.”
Maurice Blumberg was the founding Executive Director of the National Fellowship of Catholic Men (http://www.nfcmusa.org/ ), and is currently a Trustee. He is also the Director of Partner Relations for Partners in Evangelism , (http://www2.wau.org/partners/ ), a Ministry to the Military and Prisoners for The Word Among Us .
[Many thanks to The Word Among Us (http://www.wau.org/ ) for allowing us to adapt material from daily meditations in their monthly devotional magazine. Used with permission.]
Questions for Reflection/Discussion by Catholic Men
1. What do you think it means to be prophetic as a Catholic man?
2. Do you believe that even though you are not a “prophet”, you are still called to be a prophetic voice to others? Why or why not?
3. What are some steps you can take to prepare your heart and mind so that the Lord can speak his words through you?
4. The article asks this question: “How can we tell if something is coming from the Holy Spirit or from another source?” How would you answer this?
5. The article ends with these words: “God wants to form us. He wants to open our eyes. All he needs is our cooperation. He doesn’t want to make it hard for us to become prophetic. We just have to be bold and step out in faith, and then test the results. We really can light the way for others, telling them about the abundant life that God has in store for them. And we’ll actually be giving them a glimpse into the future!” If you are in a men’s group, take some time at the end of your meeting to pray for one another that each of you would be prophetic voices for the Lord in this broken world. Use the prayer at the end of the article as a starting point.