Prophets are a pain. They bother us incessantly with the same somber warnings of doom. We don’t like prophets because we fear they will take away all the fun and pleasure of life.
If you think that sin is fun, you would be right. But, because what we see is not all there is, because time flies and eternity await, because the way of all flesh is death and corruption, this world and the flesh must be submitted to other and higher, eternal considerations.
The role of the prophet is to stand before others who have forgotten they are more than flesh and bone, more than appetites and wants, and to confront them with their own deeds and words which deny, and war against, the soul and eternal life. Against God.
Prophets in fact do us a favor: They give us the means to judge and condemn ourselves now and turn our lives back to God before we face His divine and final eternal judgment. Prophets, it turns out, are all about love and second chances. By forcing us to hear and consider matters we find disagreeable, by confronting us with the unsavory truth of our repulsive sinfulness, they do us a favor of eternal proportions.
All priests to some degree as preachers and teachers share in the office of prophet, a charism or munus of the high priesthood through, with, and in, Christ the Priest, Prophet, and King. They teach, sanctify, and govern, anointed as sacerdos, to bring Christ by means of truth and grace, to mankind. Priests, to be faithful to their priesthood must serve as prophets, often bringing the truth to bear on those who have lost their way.
Pope Francis has called for parrhesia, truth telling, and speaking out to one and all about our concerns. Prophets also speak up to Popes and bishops as did St. Catherine of Siena. She called on the Pope to return to Rome and to lead the universal Church from her center in the Eternal City of the Vatican, from the seat of the Pope and Bishop of Rome at the Lateran Basilica.
Today the Pope is not separated physically from the Apostolic See. Through his episcopal and Vatican appointments, his documents, his words and actions, however, he is distanced spiritually from the charism of Peter and the office of Pope, “saying and doing things a Pope should never say or do,” according to Fr. Gerald Murray, author, speaker, and canon lawyer.
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