Here’s a talk I gave at Notre Dame (Clarendon Hills, IL) Parish’s Forming Minds and Hearts night on Monday, April 26. I spoke about the prophets of the Old Testament, and used Abraham Heschel’s book The Prophets (aptly named). If you’ve never heard of this book or don’t have it yet, click here to check it out.
In the first chapter, titled “What Manner of Man is the Prophet?” Heschel lists and explains several characteristics of the prophets in the Old Testament. Most of us aren’t called to be prophets in the strictest sense, as prophecy is a specific charism given by the Holy Spirit (see Romans 12:6-8, 1 Cor. 14:31, Catechism 2004) but we can work to develop “prophetic instincts” or qualities in our own day to day lives, so that these lives might be a more complete, and more convincing, witness of the new life.
In this talk I discuss the prophet’s sensitivity to evil; the importance of trivialities; luminous and explosive; one octave too high; and austerity and compassion.
The full list of qualities/characteristics is: sensitivity to evil, the importance of trivialities, luminous and explosive, the highest good, one octave too high, an iconoclast, austerity and compassion, sweeping allegations, few are guilty and all are responsible, the blast from heaven, the coalition of callousness and authority, loneliness and misery, the people’s tolerance, an assayer/messenger/witness, the primary content of experience, and the prophet’s response.
NB – the talk was followed by adoration; my talk begins at the 4:50 mark, and ends at 40:05.
Come Holy Spirit, and speak what is true. That I might learn to speak what is true.