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The Time Is Now: A Call to Uncommon Courage

What does the prophetic tradition, the prophetic dimension of the spiritual life, have to do with us?

First and foremost, the prophets care about everything average people like you and I care about. Indeed, with all their hearts and at the price of all their security, the prophets care about clericalism and condemn it. They care about static secularism and set out to reinvigorate the soul of the temple itself. They care about poverty and decry it, about violence and condemn it, about religion and set out to purify it of its arrogance, its false faith, and the emptiness of its rules and rituals.

They are more committed to the Word of God than they are to acceptance by those who claim to be the guardians of the Word of God but betray its meaning.

They are more committed to commitment than they are to social approval.

They are more given to faith in God than they are to fidelity to the system.

They are more full of hope in the future than they are afraid of pain in the present.

They are more committed to the Word of God than they are to fear of those who speak for the institution but claim to speak for God.

They are more committed to new questions than they are to old answers.

They are people of their times who prefer to stand, if necessary, alone with God.

They believe beyond institutional theology in the God who created us all, led us all, lives in all of us, not just some of us, not just our kind, not just us.

They live very much in the present for the sake of a future they know may never be their own. And they call us to do the same. They call us to make for our mantra again: “If not for us, then because of us.” They call us to cry out, as the great prophets before us, so that tomorrow the Word of God for all our good may finally, finally be heard.

The prophetic tradition is clear: We are not here simply to succeed today. The prophet will persist as long as it takes to make the present what God intends it to be as well as to prepare the future to maintain it. We are here to seed the present with godliness so that others may someday reap the best of what we sowed.

God needs you, too.
As does the country, the world.

—from The Time Is Now: A Call to Uncommon Courage by Joan Chittister