“Prayer of the Prophet”: Moving from Mystic to Prophet
by Rev. John C. Robinson, Ph.D., D.Min.
Where does the prophet in each of us come from? What lights this fire in the belly that will not go out? How does seeing the divine world give birth to social action? And how do we overcome our laziness, despair, or the utter magnitude of the problems that confront us?
Matthew Fox tells us that mystical awareness of the imminent divine opens a spiritual sensibility in which Christianity’s two greatest commandments—to love God and to love one’s neighbor as oneself—are understood to be one and the same. In unity consciousness, self, other and God are the same (1). This profound spiritual insight leads naturally to compassion, connection-making, and social justice. Why? Because in this consciousness, what is happening to the other is happening to me.
Indeed, my “I” now increasingly includes the whole of Creation. As Fox explains, it is with this realization that the “mystic in action” becomes a prophet (2) and “…the mystic is invariably dangerous and always in trouble” (3).
While wrestling with these matters some years ago, I wondered, “Where, when and how will the prophet arise in my life?” The question soon became a prayer, and the prayer became a series of answers that touched me deeply.
Consider exploring the same question for yourself: “Where, when and how will the prophet enter my life?” Perhaps your personal answer will be reflected somewhere in the following possibilities:
• Perhaps it is a matter of falling in love with the world as holy ground—as a mother falls in love with her newborn, as lovers fall in love with each other, again and again—and then responding as a lover would to the wounds of his beloved.
• Perhaps it is a matter of seeing the world in God’s Presence, and finding it transfigured again into Creation, thereby transmuting every form of carnage and injustice into a sacred wound that cannot be ignored.
• Perhaps it involves awakening from the endless slumber of thought, fantasy, and emotion, and suddenly realizing that every idea, belief, statement, position, viewpoint, upset, goal, identity, and argument is a distraction, a lie, and a separation from the divine world, the divine being, and the work of our divine nature.
• Perhaps it is a matter of discovering once again the intrinsic joy of Creation, of sat-chit-ananda, existence-consciousness-bliss, and wishing to share its boundless energy with everyone.
• Perhaps, on the other hand, it is a matter of witnessing such unspeakable horror and brutality that all pain becomes one’s own, and must, therefore, be tended and healed as one’s own.
• Perhaps it is a matter of seeing the sorrow of those outside the circle and knowing that wholeness—and holiness—cannot exist if anyone is missing.
• Perhaps it is a matter of becoming exactly who you are, exactly as God has made you, and birthing your life in community from this deep source of being.
• Or perhaps it is a matter of doing only what needs to be done in the moment, healing the split between the sacred and profane one wound at a time.
Mathew Fox says the prophet is the mystic in action. Perhaps the one who falls in love with the world, finds Creation in God’s Presence, thrills with the joy of Being, witnesses unthinkable brutality, longs to bring others into the circle, becomes exactly who he already is, and does any or all of this one act at a time… perhaps this one is the mystic becoming a prophet.
As we walk this path, may each of us be blessed to find our moment of transformation.
1. Fox, Mathew & Chilton, Bruce (2004). “Beyond Violence.” Symposium given at the University of Creation Spirituality. Oakland, CA, 1/14/04.
2. Fox, Mathew. The Coming of the Cosmic Christ. San Francisco: Harper and Row, 1988, p. 63.
3. Fox, 1988, p. 63.