The prophet is despised
- There are no conditions. This is not the time, it’s not the right time for prophecy. People oppressed by the immediate need, by the effort to get by, by the busy selling and buying and not having enough, is not in the right mood to make room for the prophecy. The confused moment for too many news and the crowd of opinions, for the shouted points of view and the inconclusive discussions is not the right time for an incisive and simple word like prophecy. People distracted by many things, incapable of many nonsense, interested in many banalities would be hit by a peremptory word like prophecy.
And this man too, this carpenter, this very common man, of whom we know all the kinship, is certainly not suitable for being a prophet. His seems rather a claim than a mission received from God, his words sound like the fruit of a wisdom that sounds new and disconcerting. Where does this wisdom come from?
Not even Jesus seemed suitable to be a prophet.
Even so – it’s to be thought – the Church, this Church is not the suitable Church for prophecy. Too weighed down by its history, burdened by many ballast, how can it have something interesting, even prophetic to say? This Church discredited by the scandals inflated and generalized by the insistence and the emphasis of the media as it might pretend to be heard if it dabbles in the prophecy?
To be reasonable there is never a suitable time for prophecy: therefore true prophets have always had a gram life.
To be realistic there has never been a Church suitable for prophecy: therefore in the Church there has always been a certain embarrassment in relations with the world and its word has always sounded anachronistic for the wise of this world.
“Whom shall I send?” “Here I am!” However, the prophets don’t speak when they are ready, but when they are commanded; the prophets don’t wait for the right moment, the prophets don’t wait to expose themselves, to be irreproachable and exemplary. Prophets speak because they receive the command to speak: the word they receive is alive, effective, cutting. They speak because they obey, they speak because they are sent, they speak because they fear they are insipid, rather than being criticized.
The mission exposes them in hostile and indifferent contexts, puts them in contact with people like the fellow citizens of Jesus, like the rebellious sons of Israel, a people hard of hearing that doesn’t understand with the heart or convert. Yet the prophets must speak, they must make themselves a sign of God’s concern for this people, for this city, entering their daily life, so little suited to prophecy, to announce a so hopeless and hoped for a kingdom, such a little sought after.
The prophet’s mission is often exposed to failure, as it was for Jesus, hunted or snubbed by his city, as it was for many who in the name of their testimony were surrounded by contempt, derision, indifference, just by of those to whom they wanted to offer hope.
Ezia Fiorentino.Today we remember a woman in whom we can recognize the gift of the prophecy of a word received that was performed with the commitment of a life: the intuition of a form of consecrated life called to be a presence close to the ordinary life of the people to open their hearts to the extraordinary greatness of God’s gift; this intuition has become an institution, has persuaded others to let itself be marked by this prophetic task.
The prophecy that the Church saw fit to put on the lips of Ezia and the Missionaries who followed her was not a sermon to be pronounced with wisdom of speech or with ability to exhibit, but with a paradoxical kind of life: totally immersed in the world and totally immersed in God.
The prophecy that marked Ezia’s life and Missionaries’s life who followed her doesn’t assert themelf with seductive astuteness or with the activism of promotion, but with the sanctity of life, with freedom from current thought to bear witness to the originality of the thought of Christ, with the firmness of perseverance that attests to a power that comes only from God.
Maybe, two signs are particularly luminous in our time, for making visible the sanctity, the originality, the firmness of this form of prophecy; two signs that seem forgotten even by Christians, even by consecrated persons.
These two signs are joy and charity.
The joy is the fruit of that peace of dwelling in God’s rest and is manifested in the smile, in the joy with which to face the tribulations of age, health, the unfavorable context, the mortifications suffered. Behold, perhaps even Christians, even the consecrated have lost the evidence of joy.
And the charity that manifests itself in a perceptible communion, in a patient humility that looks with benevolence even those who suffer, in a sincere affection that indifference can’t get tired. Behold, perhaps even Christians, even the consecrated have neglected the practice of charity
These prophetic words Ezia ’s still asking us to announce: joy and charity.