Day 36: Prophetic Voices
BY MEGANNE LIEBSCH | April 6, 2022
There’s a running joke among my coworkers: If Meg interviews you for a story, you’ll cry. I don’t mean for people to cry, but I like to talk about difficult topics. Sometimes tears are unavoidable. Sometimes I cry with them.
Once, for a grad school research paper, I interviewed a U.S. State Department employee named John about a community media program he had supported in Syria. I was interested in his colleague, a Syrian journalist named Raed Fares.
Raed ran a radio station in embattled northern Syria, where he reported news and wartime know-how: emergency first aid, airstrike warnings, even foreign language classes.
Until he was killed. Assassinated for his reporting.
“You are trying to kill me because my word has no room among you,” Jesus tells his followers. I love the physical metaphor of words made corporeal, elbowing for space in a crowded room. Words are prophetic, threatening conduits. As for Jesus, words would spell Raed’s death.
When I asked about Raed, John’s voice choked with tears. We were friends, very good friends, he said.
Meanwhile, I sat safely in a university building, in a room with crown molding and windows that overlooked the Irish Sea. Anger thrummed in my chest, and tears burned in my eyes. Everything felt silly and small—how can I sit here writing a research paper while hospitals and schools and people crumple under missiles? While his friend is dead?
Similar questions claw at me amid each new global or local injustice. Why? What am I meant to do?
The lack of answers frustrates me, so I reach for words—bitter, glorious things. For me, storytelling is a ritual in making meaning, in making room. An imperfect offering, but I believe—perhaps naively—that stories can transform us. After all, though deadly in his own time, the word of Christ endures.
- How can you make room for prophetic voices this Lent?
MegAnne Liebsch is the communications manager for the Office of Justice and Ecology of the Jesuit Conference of Canada and the United States. She holds a master’s degree in media and international conflict from University College Dublin and is an alumna of La Salle University. She is based in Washington, D.C.
This is a very touching reflection. As a Syrian citizen living in Rome, I had a similar experience. When I received the news of my nieces were injured while they were walking home from School… My niece lost her eye just an innocent walking in the street… while she was at the hospital all of us we were very angry and frustrated we were talking “badly about the situation” when my niece woke up she said to us: may God forgive them because they do not know what they are doing. A 14 years old girl taught us how a christian could answer in a time of trial … Sometimes tears are unavoidable! Is true.
There are many prophetic voices in our lives. We hear their compassion, love and challenge. During ths unreal time we listen to these prophets with our heart and mind. God continues to reveal His desires for us daily and the people who listen take the challenge of these prophets and ask God to fulfill the call He makes. It is the call of countries in trouble. It is the call of individuals striving to bring the light of Christ to the world. It is the call of communities to assist the migrants who are determining a place to live that is sacred and holy. It is the call of communities that want to assist those in prison to lead a better life. It is the call of communities to take care of the needs of each other. It is the call of all those who want to live in peace and draw on the grace of God to assist them. There are many prophets in this world and our focus is to hear them and bring their words to others.
Just reading this made me cry. I am a would be writer. I have a blog. Don’t write often. Think, who cares what I say. I am now more inspired. Thanks for sharing.
By reading Wilkerson’s book, Caste, the Origins of our discontent and Roxanne Dunbar Ortiz’s book,
Indigneous People’s History of the United States.
By recognising our indigenous government and ignoring the government established by Britain,which does not treat all people as equals.
Maybe as the brother monk from Gethsemane said “I like being nothing” is the real answer
Thanks MegAnne. History shows in every era, nature has blessed humanity with prophetic voices that offer fresh insights to pilgrims to continue and complete their journey on God’s Holy Ground.