The Spirit of Prophesy in the Church
This is the second week of Advent, where we are introduced to St. John the Baptist, whose task it is to prepare the way of the Lord.
John is not just about historical significance, or even repentance, although his message was and is significance in both of these areas. He also challenged both the political and religious establishments of the time. He was not fan of either the civil government nor the religious authorities. In this, he is part of a long line of prophets who protested how Israel treated its poor under its ancient kings. He is also an archetype for those in the early Church who were gifted with the Spirit of Prophesy.
The Spirit of Prophesy was rather specific. It did not include seers, but rather a kind of self-criticism, pointing out where the Church and its early leaders were coming up short of the Gospel ideal (including and especially the oral Gospel which existed before it was written down).
The Holy Spirit is still expressed in this way in the modern Church. She does this on both sides of the aisle. (She is correct biblically, since Spirit is expressed in the feminine gender in biblical Greek). When the Church demands that abortion be minimized, She is speaking. When the Church demands that health care be considered as a right and not a privilege, She is speaking.
She is also speaking when there are objections within the Church to how women and gays are treated. She speaks when the faithful protest when the hierarchy hitches its wagons to one party or another, particularly when untruths are involved (like the FOCA campaign the assignment of more relevance to a politicians view's on Roe v. Wade (which are irrelevant) than how the poor are treated.
Voice of the Faithful is another example of the Spirit of Prophesy alive in the Church.
Sometimes, the Spirit of Prophesy is not welcome in the Church. Indeed, rather shamefully, some bishops do not brook dissent well, when such dissent can be an avenue of learning for them. Woe to these bishops who do not welcome this Spirit. One can only imagine what St. John the Baptist would say about them.