In The Time Is Now: A Call to Uncommon Courage, Joan Chittister (Convergent Books, 2019) writes, “The prophet is the person who says no to everything that is not of God. No to the abuse of women. No to the rejection of the stranger. . .” (15). She goes on to explore in depth what it means to be a modern-day prophet and asserts that we are all called on to be prophets. Yes we must help those in need, but we must also address the causes of suffering, from the suffering brought by hunger and violence to that brought by the destruction of our air, land, and oceans. Reading Chittister’s book and attending an Advent retreat at a nearby Franciscan Spiritual Center prompted this poem:
Trying to Follow the Star
I wish to be a prophet of everything
And so am a prophet of nothing,
Wanting to right all wrongs
And caught in the snare of wanting.
What, and where, is the star
I am to follow?
I have been drawn by alluring lights
All my life,
Many casting beauty and meaning,
But then I have wandered,
Mistaking others’ stars for mine.
And in a world, a life, of surface glow with faded centers,
The brilliance of the true seems dimmed, eclipsed,
But if I turn my eyes away
And into the pure darkness
Of the soft, benevolent night,
I will see the miraculous constellations
Holding peace, joy, and God
And bathing us in starlight.