This reflection is published in Give Us This Day, July 2021, by Liturgical Press, Collegeville, MN
A Prophet’s Attention
Rev. Theodore Hesburgh, CSC, served as president of the University of Notre Dame for thirty-five years. Not as widely known, perhaps, was his fifteen years of service on the United States’ Civil Rights Commission. I grew up just miles from Notre Dame and vividly remember local television news broadcasting his prophetic witness across the globe. Throughout my youth, I watched from our living room as Fr. Hesburgh influenced five popes and many world leaders.
I learned from black and white television that a prophet’s voice impacts the world in living color. His voice planted a seed for my vocation as I watched a priest of the Church offer education and concern to a broken world. His voice knew no academic or national border. I heard Jesus when he spoke.
The source of the prophetic voice is Jesus’ death and resurrection. Jesus is the ground of truth and change. Many people approached Jesus for physical and spiritual healing. Today, victims of abuse, racial injustice, disease, and human trafficking beg every Christian to speak out and on their behalf. Attention to suffering forms the prophet’s words and actions.
The prophet speaks knowing the cost of discipleship. My voice is not a clear trumpet as was Fr. Hesburgh’s. However, I still listen to the mentally ill runaway, the husband lost in pornography, and the mother who aches for sobriety. I don’t have solutions for them, but their pain opens my heart and forms my outcry. I am learning that the prophet’s say-so rings true at home or across the globe.
Fr. Ronald Raab
Ronald Patrick Raab, CSC, is pastor of Sacred Heart Parish in Colorado Springs. Learn more at http://www.ronaldraab.com.