When we hear the word “prophetic”, we might think of the Old Testament prophets who time and again tried to bring the people of Israel back to God and thus paving the way for the coming of the Savior.
Isn’t that still true in our world today? We continue to try to open our hearts wider and wider for God to enter and preparing ourselves time and again for the coming of the Savior, whether that be in the Holy Eucharist or at the end of our lives. Therefore, we look to the prophets to guide us.
We can find prophets everywhere around us. The created world in and of itself has intrinsic value but also a symbolic significance; it can bring us messages about God’s perfection and plans. St. Augustine called these the Nutus Dei, or greetings from God. St. Bonaventure called them Manutergium Dei, suggesting that through the created world God lovingly takes us by the hand and shows us his footprints, thereby leading us to his fatherly heart.
The Catechism of the Catholic Church explains it this way:
The universe, created in and by the eternal Word, the “image of the invisible God,” is destined for and addressed to man, himself created in the “image of God” and called to a personal relationship with God. Our human understanding, which shares in the light of the divine intellect, can understand what God tells us by means of his creation, Though not without great effort and only in the spirit of humility and respect before the Creator and his work. (CCC 299)
Obviously, it isn’t easy to immediately comprehend the messages of the “little prophets” that surround us throughout the day!
Let’s take our feisty little dog, Daisy, for example. We got her from a shelter and are guessing that she is a little over one year old. She’s a 16-pound mix of lhasa apso and poodle who never, ever, tires of playing. When she wants to play, she does this crazy little dance while pumping her paws pathetically in the air. If that doesn’t work, she’ll thumb her head down on our laps, claw at us or jab us with her nose. As a last resort, she’ll bark at us.
Now, to anyone else this might seem pretty cute. But I don’t find it one bit amusing when I’m working on a deadline! In fact, I find it quite annoying, especially since her prime time for wanting to play seems always to come when I’m in the middle of a big project. Nonetheless, Daisy is one of the little prophets in my life. On the surface, I might see an energetic little dog needing some playtime. But looking deeper, I might realize that God is using Daisy to urge me to maintain a spirit of joy and playfulness in my own self.
Perhaps you’ve had a similar experience. How has God spoken to you through the created world today?