2] What do we mean by prophecy?
El Nuevo Diccionario de Espiritualidad [The New Dictionary on Spirituality] states: The constitutive element of the prophetic experience is the experience of being chosen, set apart, and sent forth by God. The prophets speak in the name of God and as a result of their calling become instruments within the framework of the plan of salvation history. The prophets feel compelled to fulfill this difficult mission. (Nuevo Diccionario de Espiritualidad, Ediciones San Pablo, Madrid, 1991, p. 1610).
The prophets are, first of all, charismatic, individuals who are aware of the fact of being sent forth by God. For this reason the prophets speak in the name of God and base their words on their own experience of the God who sent them forth. Prophets are individuals who are also committed to the social question: they have discovered the will of God and they want to fulfill God’s will. Therefore they denounce the evils of society, they proclaim the judgment of God and they endeavor to lead people to respond to the word by changing their lives.
If we examine the writings of the prophets, especially Amos, Isaiah, and Jeremiah … we see that they never spoke about God in abstract or impersonal concepts, rather, with the totality of their lives they communicated the passionate love and the great holiness of God.
In their time both monachism and the appearance of religious orders became elements of the Church’s prophetic response. Today we ought to remember that the most fruitful responses in the Church are those that are inspired by charity and marked by a holiness of life … these are signs of salvation. Let us reflect on the importance of Saint Vincent de Paul and Saint Louise de Marillac for the Church.
As I said before, we are going to try to engage in a reflective reading of some aspects of the Vincentian charism in light of the social doctrine of the Church. We will see how Vincent de Paul, his teaching and his life were centuries ahead of the Church’s magisterium.