He who learns must suffer, and, even in our sleep, pain that we cannot forget falls drop by drop upon the heart, and in our own despair, against our will, comes wisdom to us by the awful grace of God. - Aeschylus

Monday, May 23, 2016

Munera Sanctifica: Prophet

The life of a Christian is to be a holy offering, a public service offered to God to show our love for His super-abundant gifts to us.  This service has three parts for each of us as we imitate the three services by which Jesus Christ fulfilled the roles of the people of God, the service of a priest, a prophet, and a king.

Priest - Prophet - King

In the Latin tradition, this is often referred to as the triple munera: the sanctifying, teaching, and governing offices of the Church.  Though these roles are performed in a special way by the bishops who are the successors of the Apostles chosen by Christ to serve His Church in a spirit of love as He served them in a spirit of love, we all have a call to participate in those roles.

As I'm sure many Christians have, I have been trying to understand how I am called to be a prophet in the world.  I don't get the impression that the best way I can do that is to stand on a street corner or at the university's fountain and tell people about the Bible.  So how should I live out the call to speak truth and call people back to the God who loves them?

Being named after the Prophet Samuel (first of the major prophets and also the last of the Judges), I decided to examine his life and see if his example would give me some guidance.  One of the first things I noticed is that he made a lot of mistakes, just as I have.  This of course did not stop him from serving the Lord with all his heart.  He persevered and warned the Israelites who wanted a temporal king that this was not the best thing for them, that they needed the heavenly King.

Nonetheless, he was obedient and anointed a king for them, a king who would turn out to provide ample proof that Samuel's warning to them about kings had been true all along.  And he was obedient again, anointing David, the man who was a gentle and strong shepherd, a man after God's own heart, as the next king of the twelve tribes of Israel.  So too I seek to anoint with love all those God calls me to meet.

And through my writing and my speaking and my actions, I strive to call all people back to the God of love as the prophets have done.  Like Samuel, I strive to make all parts of my life a holy offering to the one who offered all of His life out of love for me.  I am dedicated to serve Him at all times and in all things, listening intently for His voice once I have learned to recognize it.  Here I am, Lord.  Speak, for Your servant is listening for Your voice.

Samuel the Prophet, ora pro nobis!

Lord, please help me by Your grace to seek You first in all circumstances and to listen intently for Your call, always coming to meet You with a humble heart which is open to doing Your will, ever calling Your people to return to the God who frees us from the oppression of sin by Your most just statutes, and faithfully anointing all those whose hearts You have seen and known in Your wisdom to be hearts after Your own Sacred Heart.

Note:  The above is an icon of the prophet Samuel, for whom I was named.  I recently purchased this icon from the Paracletos monastery.


  1. One of my favorite verses from Revelation is about prophecy. I can't remember the exact reference, but after mentioning the prophets, the angel states, "The testimony of Jesus is the Spirit of prophecy." In other words, prophecy is not a Show designed to make one marvel at the mere fulfillment of the prognostications; rather, it is testimony to the truth, and to Him who is Truth.