Spirituality and Ethics
Where Have All the Prophets Gone?
Are we in a moral collapse right now in this country? We seem to have lost our way.
Late-term abortions, which signify a total disregard for basic human life; lack of compassion for those at our southern border who only wish for a better and safer life for themselves and their children: avoidance of doing what is necessary to save our planet; an unreasonable stubbornness in passing gun control laws despite multiple school shootings in the past twenty years. The list goes on.
Except for a few brave souls who speak out against injustice and violence, there doesn’t seem to be the kind of public outcry that would change minds and hearts.
Which brings me to think we need more prophets today; men and women sensitive to the call from God to be God’s spokespersons on the dignity of the human person – from conception to expiration (womb to the tomb). Prophets come in all “sizes” – parents teaching their children gospel values; preachers talking about all the life issues in their sermons, politicians voting their conscience, and so forth.
Prophets place their ultimate trust in God because they know they will face some opposition to their message. Consider the prophet Jeremiah of the Hebrew Scriptures (Old Testament), who was wise enough to know he couldn’t be a messenger of God’s moral voice relying on his own strength:
            “The Lord is with me, like a mighty champion:
            my persecutors will stumble, they will not triumph.”
            (Chapter 20:11)
People who speak up for the rights of others need to do their homework on the issues, but they need to be also people of prayer. Prayer might not be our natural response to what we read in the newspaper or find on social media, but as the late theologian Karl Rahner said, “the news is the scripture of the world.” Here is a method for making the news part of your prayer:
  • Choose an article or story that has some human interest in it.
  • Pray for anyone in the story who is a victim (s).
  • Next, pray for anyone in the story who is assisting the victim, e.g., first responders, a good Samaritan, etc., for their safety.
  • Pray for the conversion of any oppressors in the story; they can be from any walk of life: ordinary citizens or people in power.
Finally, pray for yourself. Do you need deeper compassion, greater generosity, freedom from a prejudice, or more courage to speak the truth.
This is a form of intercessory prayer and it is very effective because after all is said and done, God’s power is greater than human power.

Father Max Oliva, S.J.


Jesuits West Magazine - Spring 2020

Jesuits West Magazine - Fall 2019

Jesuits West Magazine - Spring 2019

Fall, 2019

Summer, 2019

Fall, 2018

Homilies Virtue Ethics The Spirituality of Work: At Home Empathy in the Time of COVID-19 The Mercy of God Enables Us to Change Our Ways Autobiography in 5 Chapters Where Have All the Prophets Gone? Blessed are the Peacemakers The Reign of God Part II The Reign of God Key Mottos Qualities of Heroic Leadership A New Year Reflection Civility Compassion I Love My Country Integrity and Courage Joy Joy and Hope Living a Virtuous Life Living a Virtuous Life: More Readers Response Living a Virtuous Life: Readers Respond Living Water Love Post-Election Reflection Responses to the Feb-March Issue The Real Las Vegas What is Patience?
The Spirituality of St. Ignatius Ten Ethical Lessons The Our Father The Beatitudes The Ten Commandments Other Topics About Fr. Max Oliva, SJ

Jesuit Retreat Center of Los Altos
The Jesuit Retreat Center of Los Altos has offered prayerful solitude and inspiring vistas to those seeking spiritual rejuvenation since 1925.