Monday, 8 April 2013

77: The Prophetical dimension of Christianity

Let me state it straightaway (not my habit but this time I will derogate from it): all Christians are potentially Prophets. A gist of what prophecy is is given to us in the Old Testament. But the prophecy that Christ offers us is infinitely much more. 

Prophecy grows with us, and within us, until it reaches a first fullness: the Union with Jesus (remember: “I no longer live but Christ lives in me”). In this sense, you can have a rather detailed idea of Christian full prophecy in saint Theresa of Avila’s seventh Mansion (see her book: “The Interior Castle”), or the last third of the “Spiritual Canticle” of saint John of the Cross, or his work “The Living Flame of Love”. Indeed, they do describe the state of the human being when he/she reached the “Union of Love”.

What is prophecy?

First, when we say “prophecy” or “prophets”, we often think of people we find in the Old Testament, and we tend to believe (wrongly) that, with the coming of Christ, prophecy ended. We understand prophecy by just remembering Moses, Elijah, or Isaiah, or any of the prophets. We see them as privileged persons (we don’t have many prophets, when you think about it; for a long period of time – centuries – the number is proportionally small, we have to admit it): “privileged” because, at certain moment of their live (often not all the time), God decides (often for a mission) to talk to them, to give them orders, messages, or something to write (or a mime to perform). God’s decision to intervene in the life of a human being gives us the deep perception of a great closeness and knowledge of God: intimacy. This intimacy can lead as well to miracles (see Elijah, and Elisha,…).
The Prophets don’t always enjoy this experience though: God seems frightening, too high, too holy (see Isaiah 6, or often Moses, in the Sinai)! When you get closer to God “it burns”, you might even die. Indeed: just remember what God says to Moses: I’ll talk to you in the Mountain, but nobody has to touch the bottom of the mountain, otherwise they’ll die. They will hear me speaking to you, but they can’t get close. Often, in the Old Testament people thought that if they get too close to God, they will die. This is why simply, the people of God asked Him not to talk directly to them; they feared they might die if the see Him, if they get too close to Him (see the quote below).
We have to add that, thinking of the Old Testament, we often consider that “prophecy” is about telling “future events”.
Elijah and Elisha
Jesus, The Prophet

Is this all of it? Certainly not. This is an incomplete prophecy, and Jesus, the Real and Only Prophet, will make it complete. Jesus will not only incarnate real final Prophecy, but He’ll share it with everybody.
In John, chapter 1, people ask John the Baptist: “are you the Prophet Moses mentioned and that we are expecting? The Prophet-Messiah.” John says: no. Why? Because all the Prophecy is embodied in Jesus, and He is the One that Moses spoke about in Deuteronomy. ”The Lord your God will raise up for you a Prophet like me from among you, from your fellow Israelites. You must listen to him. For this is what you asked of the Lord your God at Horeb on the day of the assembly when you said, “Let us not hear the voice of the Lord our God nor see this great fire anymore, or we will die.” (Deut 18:15-16)

Jesus is The Word of God, he brings us “words” that are Spirit and Life. He is God Himself, nothing less. So when He speaks, God Himself speaks. In His human nature He has a constant dialogue with God the Father (or with His own divinity). You can see Him various times in the Gospel of John speaking to the Father.

He wants to introduce us into His intimacy with the Father, this is His Goal.
He wants us to receive His Words, to be transformed by them, and to allow Jesus Himself grow in us, and let us reach his own height. He wants us as well to have His Words alive in us, and in Him with Him to transmit them to others.

Prophecy is about being transformed and be united to the only Prophet and have a share of His Prophecy.
From day one, in our spiritual life, we are invited, by the power of the Holy Spirit, to hear Jesus talking to us, giving us our Daily Bread. We do not wait a further stage in spiritual life in order to be made capable of listening to Jesus, the Risen Lord, today. We are in the new era inaugurated by Jesus, a so powerful era. Jesus is amongst us and wants to talk to us.
When we receive His Body and Blood, his soul and his spirit, his whole person in the Host, we receive the whole being of The Prophet par excellence. We don’t receive less than Him.

So the intimacy that we see in the Old Testament, the intimate personal dialogue we witness with the Old Testament Prophets, we see them not only available in the New Covenant, but totally developed.
Indeed all Baptised are Prophets. Indeed all of them received the Spirit of Prophecy, the Holy Spirit.

The only thing is that we tend to forget about prophecy in the New Testament, while it should be the opposite: Jesus accomplishes Prophecy and makes it available to everybody. We tend to think that the Old Testament prophecy is not for everybody, and that what it offers is “too high” and exceptional. While it is different. Certainly Jesus clarified the fullness of Prophecy in what it consists, but again and again: He wants everybody to let is grow in him/her. Let us revive our perfect give of Prophecy, the ability to receive a daily word from Jesus, and put it into practise (that is Lectio divina) and receive the Body and Blood of THE Prophet and be transformed in Him.

You are a Prophet, remember it, and make your prophecy alive.

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