A Season of Lent: Prophets, Saints, and the World

The world is what the saints and the prophets saw it was…

“On hearing his words, some of the people said, “Surely this man is the Prophet.”  Others said, “He is the Messiah.”  Still others asked, “How can the Messiah come from Galilee? Does not Scripture say that the Messiah will come from David’s descendants and from Bethlehem, the town where David lived?” Thus the people were divided because of Jesus. Some wanted to seize him, but no one laid a hand on him.” (John 7: 40-44)

“Because the Lord revealed their plot to me, I knew it, for at that time he showed me what they were doing. 19 I had been like a gentle lamb led to the slaughter; I did not realize that they had plotted against me…” (Jeremiah 11:18-19)

Lenten Prayer: O Christ Jesus, when all is darkness and we feel our weakness and helplessness, give us the sense of Your presence, Your love, and Your strength. Help us to have perfect trust in Your protecting love and strengthening power, so that nothing may frighten or worry us, for, living close to You, we shall see Your hand, Your purpose, Your will through all things. Amen. Ora Pro Nobis.


The life of a godly prophet is a precarious one. Because, as Chesterton observed, the world does not progress from listening to their true prophecies, “it wobbles”. It treats real progress as a fashion that will change and the prophets as those they will eventually reject, even plot to kill. Our faith should not be invested in changing the world but in playing our part in preaching the truth and praying so that God will change men’s souls. The Kingdom is not of this world. This world will pass away.  

The saint and the prophet see the world differently because for them, everything has shifted in their view.  The desire of the saint and the prophet has shifted from seeking earthly celebrity to seeking heavenly recognition. They do not see that as a guarantee but something to be sought with  a lifelong effort. ( Matthew 6:33 ) The saint and the prophet are not good men or women ( Luke 18:19 ), but they are men and women who practice righteousness in living daily what God meant for his creation of man – to be in His likeness.  As Chesterton observed in his work St. Thomas Aquinas: 

“A saint is long past any desire for distinction; he is the only sort of superior man who has never been a superior person.”

Every worshipper of God, God means to become a saint.  And when we preach the entirety of the Good News to those in the world, in its basic sense, we are its prophets.

Romans 1:7
to all who are beloved of God in Rome, called as saints: Grace to you and peace from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ.

1 Corinthians 1:2
To the church of God which is at Corinth, to those who have been sanctified in Christ Jesus, saints by calling, with all who in every place call on the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, their Lord and ours:

2 Corinthians 1:1
Paul, an apostle of Christ Jesus by the will of God, and Timothy our brother,To the church of God which is at Corinth with all the saints who are throughout Achaia

As Christ told us in his famous Sermon on the Mount: 
“You are the light of the world. A town built on a hill cannot be hidden. Neither do people light a lamp and put it under a bowl. Instead they put it on its stand, and it gives light to everyone in the house. In the same way, let your light shine before others, that they may see your good deeds and glorify your Father in heaven.”

Yes.  We are the light of the world and the world must see it!


The world is what the saints and the prophets saw it was; it is not merely getting better or merely getting worse; there is one thing that the world does; it wobbles. Left to itself, it does not get anywhere; though if helped by real reformers of the right religion and philosophy, it may get better in many respects, and sometimes for considerable periods. But in itself it is not a progress; it is not even a process; it is the fashion of this world that passeth away. Life in itself is not a ladder; it is a see-saw.

Now that is fundamentally what the Church has always said; and for about four hundred years has been more and more despised for saying. The Church never said that wrongs could not or should not be righted; or that commonwealths could not or should not be made happier; or that it was not worth while to help them in secular and material things; or that it is not a good thing if manners become milder, or comforts more common, or cruelties more rare. But she did say that we must not count on the certainty even of comforts becoming more common or cruelties more rare; as if this were an inevitable social trend towards a sinless humanity; instead of being as it was a mood of man, and perhaps a better mood, possibly to be followed by a worse one. We must not hate humanity, or despise humanity, or refuse to help humanity; but we must not trust humanity; in the sense of trusting a trend in human nature which cannot turn back to bad things. “Put not your trust in princes; nor in any child of man.” That is the precise point of this very practical sort of politics. Be a Royalist if you like (and there is a vast amount to be said, and a vast amount being said, just now, for more personal and responsible rule); try a Monarchy if you think it will be better; but do not trust a Monarchy, in the sense of expecting that a monarch will be anything but a man. Be a Democrat if you like (and I shall always think it the most generous and the most fundamentally Christian ideal in politics); express your sense of human dignity in manhood suffrage or any other form of equality; but put not your trust in manhood suffrage or in any child of man. There is one little defect about Man, the image of God, the wonder of the world and the paragon of animals; that he is not to be trusted. If you identify him with some ideal, which you choose to think is his inmost nature or his only goal, the day will come when he will suddenly seem to you a traitor.– G. K. Chesterton, The Well and the Shallows, 1935

“The Saint is a medicine because he is an antidote. Indeed that is why the saint is often a martyr; he is mistaken for a poison because he is an antidote.” – G. K. Chesterton, St. Thomas Aquinas

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