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'Being Mystics and Prophets means awareness of the spirit within to help the other discover the Spirit at work in them.'




Fr. Michael Amaladoss SJ

I had the privilege of being part of a community recollection in Church Park where they had invited the famous Indian theologian Fr. Amaladoss SJ to give a reflection on Religious life. After giving a brief history of the origin of religious life as a response to social realities within a given society he introduced two scriptural symbols of the mystic and the prophet. He had the Samaritan woman at the well as the symbol of mysticism and the Good Samaritan symbolizing the Prophet!

According to Amaladoss a mystic is

Fr Amaladoss used the woman at the well as
a symbol of mysticism

someone who inquires into what is happening and pierces the mystery for the truth of God to unravel itself! Someone who has the capacity to go beyond appearances and to what mysticism involves! Not endless silence, but the capacity to engage in dialogue, conversation till the Truth of oneself and God are bared. Even the so called sin becomes part of the search. Prayer is not an avalanche of words, no matter how modern or sophisticated our use of them, but an encounter that leads to awareness of who we are and who God is, and enabling us not to react to situations/reality but to respond to the insight the reality presents. In this sense prayer cannot be routine exercise, but a continuous search for insights into the God reality hidden within the apparent chaos we experience in the daily socio-political, economic and relational realities. I was reminded of our own recent conversations into understanding contemplative presence and contemplative dialogue at the SCLI zoom meeting.

The Good Samaritan — prophetic in enabling
 the other to discover the God in you


And who is a prophet? We may have been brought up to think of the good Samaritan as someone who is a service-minded person, providing for the needs of the wounded. But according to Fr. Amaladoss, the good Samaritan is prophetic in the sense he relates to the other as his brother, the neighbor enabling the other to discover the God in you. The intended value behind this person is love, fellowship, vision of community and service, not his ego.

For Nano, ‘need calls loudly in the
winding lanes’


So what does the call to religious life as Mystic and prophet mean? I believe the challenge lies here but it also gives me deeper insight in to “The more she moved among the poor, the more she was drawn to prayer”. What Amaladoss said made perfect sense in the life of Nano. She started at the right end and we seem to do it from the wrong end. She allowed herself to be disturbed by what was going on in her society, sought insight, formed a group of people around her, and their engagement in mission gave them their identity. But what happens to us? We begin with our identity; community and mission get to be at the service of our identity rather than the other way around.  Refounding a charism and being mystics and prophets doesn’t mean fidelity to the ministries that were responses to a particular time, but rather dirtying our feet and breaking out of our comfort zones to connect with the changed reality and respond to the insight this exposure provides.

Two types of people that Jesus was most harsh towards included the Pharisees and the leaders of his time. Their sins?  Hypocrisy and manipulation!

Strategy of Jesus: Conversation, dialogue leading to the self discovery of the other. Being Mystics and Prophets means awareness of the  spirit within to help the other discover the Spirit at work in them. In simple terms this is what the CG12 calls us to ’immerse in the lives of people made poor’ not to give them hand outs but in a spirit of mutuality release the Spirit within us and within them. The transformation or the paradigm shift needed is to seek our identity in mission and form community around that, not to fix our mission and community to serve our identity.  The intent of the SDG guide ‘Critical Hope for the SDGs ‘ and the resource book CCTJ is coming up with also seem to serve the same intent  as I see it.

Quote taken from
Raphael Consedine’s
Songs of the Journey

Our feet know the way, our hearts carry the light’. Out of the chaos, order is emerging, but we must let our feet follow what they know and let our hearts shed the light on our path. We must release both the mystic and the prophet in us. If not we may lead the future generation in to utter darkness while we still sit listening to inspiring speakers and wonderful tapes!


Elsa Muttathu PBVM

Categories: Justice, Peace and Integrity of Creation, Faith and Spirituality, Latest News