The past few months have been a whirlwind of uncertainties that have accompanied this pandemic. Life has changed dramatically and will never be the same again. The phrase, ‘this is the new normal’ is often heard. So how can we listen to God’s voice during this time and how can the gift of prophecy help each of us in our every day lives.
‘Earnestly desire the spiritual gifts especially that you may prophesy’.
1 Cor 14:1
The Lord distributes special graces among the faithful, these gifts or charisms help build up and renew the Church. Pope St John Paul II wrote in Veri Sancti Spiritus, ‘I want to cry out: Be open and docile to the gifts of the Spirit! Accept with gratitude and obedience the charisms that the spirit never ceases to bestow’.
So what is a prophet? A prophet is one who speaks forth the mind and counsel of God. In the Old Testament, the two words for prophet were Roeh and Nabhi. Roeh means “to see” or “to perceive.” It is generally used to describe one who is a revealer of secrets, one who envisions. Nabi literally means “to bubble up.” It describes one who is stirred up in spirit.
Two kinds of prophecy include ones that are inspirational – saying what is known but doing so at the prompting of God under his anointing and the other one is revelational – saying what is unknown at the prompting of God under his anointing. The three aspects to the prophetic include information, interpretation, and application. The three components of a prophecy include; God’s knowledge, God’s heart, and God’s wisdom.
St Thomas Aquinas talks about word of knowledge, ‘now, accompanying this light that we have mentioned which illuminates the mind from within, there are at times in divine revelation other external or internal aids to knowledge; for instance, a spoken message, or something perceived internally through imagination due to God’s action, or also some things produced by God that are internally pictured in imagination. From these presentations, by the light internally impressed on the mind, man receives knowledge of divine things’.
So how can we listen to God’s prophetic prompting?
Listening is one of the easiest things you’ll ever do, and one of the hardest. In a sense, listening is easy — or hearing is easy. It doesn’t demand the initiative and energy required in speaking. That’s why “faith comes from hearing, and hearing through the word of Christ” (Romans 10:17). As Catholics, we need to take out our Bibles and pray with the word of God every day. Good listening goes hand in hand with the mind-set of Christ (Philippians 2:5). It flows from a humble heart that counts others more significant than ourselves (Philippians 2:3). It is patient and kind (1 Cor 13:4). Good listening asks open-ended questions that don’t require yes or no answers but rather peel a layer of the onion and get to the root. We should listen with the ears of God that we may speak the Word of God.
When listening to God’s voice, never let fear enter as fear is not from God. When you are living a sacramental life, going to Mass, praying, getting confession, and going to adoration, a huge peace comes into your heart and the Holy Spirit enables you to listen to God’s word and guides you in every situation.
God truly has a plan for your life, this time is a test in patience, preserving, and an opportunity to grow closer to God, to his love and mercy. Respond as you feel the Lord is leading you, ‘do not despise prophesying, but test everything; hold fast to that which is good’ (Thess 5:20-21).