I’m reading Can Religious Life Be Prophetic? by Michael Crosby, OFM Cap. The book is unsettlingly inspiring. (That’s a good thing.)
It is unsettling because in raising the question — “Can religious life be prophetic?” — Crosby is also asking, “Can YOU be prophetic?” This is very unnerving. I don’t think that anyone truly sets out to be a prophet. It is a terribly unsafe choice of careers. Look at what all the biblical prophets suffered at the hands of their own people. Yet it is true that religious life by its nature has a prophetic dimension. Sisters and nuns, brothers and monks, are called to be a goad to the conscience of the Church and of the world. This is the “rugged prose” part of religious life. It’s a part that I find difficult to fully comprehend but which I know is part of the DNA of religious life. Most of the difficulty for me comes in the fact that the more I comprehend, the more I must change my own ways of thinking and my own lifestyle. It’s uncomfortable and very challenging at times.
Crosby’s book is also inspiring. I’m learning a lot about the prophets Isaiah, Jeremiah, and Ezekiel. I’m also learning about what this prophetic call within religious life looks like. I would like to be the kind of religious which he envisions. I’d like to become someone who has so imbibed the Word of God that I am able to put God first in all things. I want to be a voice for those who are voiceless. I want to place others’ needs ahead of my own. I see many of my sisters who have embodied this kind of lifestyle. I pray that I might be able to grab on to their shirt-tails for a while and deepen this lifestyle within myself.