fbpx

In the latest episode of “Charisms for Catholics,” hosted by Jill Simons, we delve into the fascinating charism of prophecy. Joined by guest Theresa Zoe Williams, a saint expert from Many Parts Ministries, the discussion centers around understanding prophetic gifts and exploring saints who embodied this charism powerfully.

What is Prophecy?

Jill Simons opens the episode by clarifying the often misunderstood charism of prophecy. Contrary to popular belief, prophecy is not about predicting the future or engaging in occult practices. Instead, it’s about the ability to hear from God for the benefit of others. This divine communication can be aimed at individuals or communities, echoing the roles of Old Testament prophets who conveyed God’s messages.

Saints with the Prophetic Charism

Theresa Zoe Williams introduces several saints who showcased remarkable prophetic gifts. Here’s a glimpse into their stories and contributions:

Pope Saint Paul VI

One of the standout figures discussed is Pope Saint Paul VI. His prophetic gift is most prominently displayed in his encyclical, Humanae Vitae. Written in a time when contraception was becoming a significant societal issue, Humanae Vitae articulated the Catholic Church’s stance on contraception with clarity and foresight. This document, regarded as prophetic by many, provided moral clarity and guidance for Catholics and highlighted how prophecy can shape and fortify the Church’s teachings.

Saint Martin de Porres

Another example is Saint Martin de Porres, who uniquely combined his prophetic charism with acts of service. Known for his care for the sick regardless of race, he exemplified the prophetic call to charity and mercy. His life and actions spoke volumes, challenging societal norms and advocating for the dignity of every person.

Saint Mary Magdalene de Pazzi

Saint Mary Magdalene de Pazzi offers a glimpse into prophetic ecstasy and humility. Despite receiving numerous divine visions, she perceived these gifts as signs of her weakness, needing extra grace to serve God. Her prophetic insight often came in the form of correction and guidance, helping others grow in their spiritual journeys.

Saint Francis of Paola

Saint Francis of Paola, with his radical commitment to humility and frugality, founded the Order of Minims. His prophetic message centered on peace and nonviolence, extending even to the treatment of animals. As a proponent of perpetual abstinence from meat and animal products, he challenged societal norms and called for a deeper respect for all creation.

The Path of the Prophetic

Jill Simons emphasizes that embracing the charism of prophecy involves taking incremental steps toward vulnerability and trust in God. It’s not about making grandiose proclamations from the start but about being faithful in small, everyday instances. This journey prepares one for bigger acts of courage and fidelity to God’s voice.
The lives of these saints illustrate how prophecy can manifest in various forms, from written works and public stances to personal interactions and lifestyle choices. They remind us that prophecy, at its core, is about channeling God’s love and truth into the world.

Final Thoughts

This episode of “Charisms for Catholics” serves as both inspiration and a practical guide for those discerning the charism of prophecy. By looking at the lives of saints like Pope Saint Paul VI, Saint Martin de Porres, Saint Mary Magdalene de Pazzi, and Saint Francis of Paola, listeners can better understand how to harness this powerful gift in their own lives.
Whether prophecy is your charism or not, the call to trust in God’s guidance and to act courageously remains central to living out your spiritual gifts. To explore more about your own charisms, visit Many Parts Ministries and begin your discernment journey today.

Jill Simons:
Hello, and welcome to Charisms for Catholics. My name is Jill Simons, and I’m the executive director at Many Parts Ministries, where we equip the Body of Christ by helping people learn about and discern their charisms, which is really another word for spiritual gifts. When you discern your charisms, you’re able to see how the Holy Spirit is already active in your life and where he is inviting you to further build the Church. Let’s dive in. Hi, and welcome to today’s episode of Charisms for Catholics. I am so excited to talk about the charism of prophecy today because as a lot of you have heard that have been longtime listeners of the podcast, this is one of my gifts, and it’s also one of the gifts that’s really frequently misunderstood. I think that there can be fear around this charism more than others. Like, there’s something, like, disordered or out of line with Christian living in saying and and owning the fact that you do have this gift, because there’s a lot of misunderstanding about what prophecy really is.

Jill Simons:
So you can go back and listen to our long form episode on the charism of prophecy if you want more context to this conversation. But in a nutshell, the charism of prophecy is just the ability to hear from God for the for other people, and this is what we see in the literal prophets in the Old Testament. They’re hearing from God to share with all the people, and this is what we still see today in the prophetic. It’s not that you know the future. It’s not that there’s some kind of occult influence. It’s that you hear from God’s heart what it is that he desires to share with people. And this can be individual. This can be corporate.

Jill Simons:
This can be for one part of the Church or the whole Church or one person even. So today, I once again have with me Theresa Zoe Williams, who is one of our staff members here at Many Parts, who is our resident saint expert that is gonna walk with us through stories of several different saints that have prophecy as one of their likely charisms, and that’ll give us just better context about what it looks like for a Catholic now to live with these gifts. So, Theresa, thank you so much for being here with me.

Theresa Zoe Williams:
Thank you, Jill. It’s always a pleasure to come on your show.

Jill Simons:
So go ahead and kick us off. Who is the first saint that we’re going to chat about today with prophecy?

Theresa Zoe Williams:
Prophecy. Yes. Pope Saint Paul the 6th is our first saint today. Love him. Love him so much. He was a great pope, a great person, and, oh, man, I just love him so much. There’s so much to say about him. But in regards to prophecy, one of the biggest things or the biggest examples of his prophetic gift, was the writing of Humanae Vitae, and that’s where he encompasses the teaching on contraception, in the Catholic faith.

Theresa Zoe Williams:
And, in case you don’t know, the teaching is that contraception is, antithetical to life because it blocks off part of the, the giving aspect of intercourse, and focuses solely on the unity aspect of the couple. And so if we’re blocking off one part of the purpose of intercourse of sex, then we’re not fulfilling what God has for the world. And I just love how hope Saint Paul the 6th put this in Humanae Vitae because it was really it was like hearing something from God, like understanding something supernaturally and telling it in a way that could reach people, that people could understand very easily, and and very plainly at that. There’s no guesswork. Yeah. With it, he laid it all out, and I love that about him. And this is just the biggest example from his life, I think, and the one that has the most impact on our lives today, especially especially in the culture we live in and how far we’ve divided our personhood Mhmm. Or or compartmentalized our personhood.

Theresa Zoe Williams:
Yeah. And I think that he’s very relevant for today. But his whole papacy, his whole life really showed this prophetic mission, which is great.

Jill Simons:
I think that’s such a great example because that is one of those things where even if people don’t feel comfortable, like, defining prophecy or saying that they have a gift of prophecy or something like that, you can read Humana Vitae and be, like, well, this is prophetic. Like, it’s just so Yeah. Like, your response to reading it, like, when you’re when was this written? You know? When you look at the date, and it’s like, holy cow. Because we’re it was was it even early 20th century or was it late 18th? I think it was early 20th.

Theresa Zoe Williams:
Early 20th.

Jill Simons:
Yeah. And but before, this was a cultural conversation in a lot

Jill Simons:
of ways. And so being able to get out conversation in a lot of ways, and so being able to get out ahead of that, whereas we see other Christian denominations were left kind of scrambling when things actually started to really come to a head culturally, much things actually started to really come to a head culturally much later in the 20th century, and so having that prophetic voice speak into the conversation gave a lot of clarity to Catholics, and that is such a good example of what the voice of God is meant to do and meant to bring is that level of clarity, that level of objectivity, like and and really give people something to cling to as you go through something. That’s been so much of my own experience of the prophetic gift is that the Lord will share things with me where people are needing that thing to cling to as they move forward that doesn’t give them any kind of reliance on me, it’s always pointing at, you know, God is providing for them and I’m a messenger in the moment that maybe you need, but it’s always because you need what God wants to share with you in that moment.

Theresa Zoe Williams:
Right. And, like, pope saint Paul the 6th, I mean, he was he was a celibate man. He has no, I mean, he has no hands on knowledge of of even intercourse itself, and much less contraception or or the the allure of contraception For him to receive message like this with such clarity and such, like you said, objectivity, really shows you that it’s from God and not from him. Yeah.

Jill Simons:
I love that. So who’s our next saint?

Theresa Zoe Williams:
Next one is Saint Martin de Porres, and I love him. He had so I was going back and forth between putting him here in prophecy or in knowledge because he had a lot of miraculous spiritual knowledge, but I decided on prophecy because of the way he applied it, was really more prophetic than just knowledge or or only knowledge, not just. There’s no just in the charisms. But, like, one one time when he was corrected by a superior, he had said, forgive my error and please instruct me, for I did not know that the precept of obedience took precedent over that of charity. And Jill, like, oh, man. That is in the moment. Yeah. And then, to say that to a superior takes a lot of courage too.

Theresa Zoe Williams:
But knowing that there needed to be instruction in that moment that, you know, someone wasn’t quite getting it the way that they should have and to have that humility and that courage to say in such a a loving way and in a charitable way, like, you know, instruct me. Like, let me know if I’m wrong, but, really, I think that charity takes precedence over obedience here and that we you know? And that was over someone that he had taken into his boarding place who was ill, and he was caring for him. And that was kind of like the whole of his life is prophetic He would he would care for the ill of any race. He was mixed race. And at that time, it wasn’t common. It wasn’t socially looked upon very well to deal with people of other races, to deal with people of mixed races, things like that. And he just kind of went above and beyond all of that and was like, everybody is God’s child. Everybody deserves God’s love and mercy.

Theresa Zoe Williams:
I’m going to be a conduit of that. So his life, not just his words were prophetic. He really showed by example, what we know as true Mhmm. Now, but put it in such a such a clear way for us. Like, just we care for everybody who is in front of us, not just those who we look like, not just those who we, you know, not just who we want Yeah. To.

Jill Simons:
Yeah. I mean, pick pick your dividing demographic. Right? You know, there’s all these those divisions. And that’s such a beautiful example because that strikes me. I I know I don’t know near as much about him as you do, but we see this so frequently in the saints and in our own lives, and it’s helpful to contextualize it through the lives of the saints where you have the kind of unique flavor of things that comes from the synergy between a person’s own charisms. So from what I do know about him and the story you’re telling about him, that sounds so much like service married with prophecy, and there’s, you know, that unique flavor that the prophecy takes on because of that combination, prophecy comes together with writing or prophecy comes together

Jill Simons:
with leadership. And there’s kind of, prophecy comes together with writing or prophecy comes together with leadership, and there’s kind of these different modalities that the prophecy gets expressed, but it’s still kind of the acting principle in those things, and so sounds like in his story here, you know, whether it’s mercy or service or what, there’s another of the the active charism that’s marrying together with the prophetic.

Theresa Zoe Williams:
Most definitely. Yes. Again, it was hard to place him because of so many different things, but I wanted for prophecy, I wanted as many diverse examples as possible so that we can see the many ways that prophecy is expressed. So I thought he was important here for that reason.

Jill Simons:
Yeah. Absolutely. So who else do you have for us?

Theresa Zoe Williams:
Next, I have Saint Mary Magdalene De Pazzi, and she’s she’s really cool. I wanted to show a woman receiving prophecy as well, so that we know it’s not just I mean, pope Saint Paul the 6th was obviously pope. Martin de Porres was part of an order. So I wanted to make sure that we represented people who have it in other circumstances too. She received many ecstasies throughout her life, but she saw them as proof of her weakness. One sister was complaining to her one time that she didn’t get any ecstasies or visions and how sad that was. But Mary Magdalene said to her, that’s because you don’t need them in order to serve him. She really saw, like, receiving these things as, I need this to be able to believe, and so, therefore, I’m less of a believer.

Theresa Zoe Williams:
Right? And that’s so often, we we see these people who get visions and ecstasies and things like that as, like, on some higher spiritual level, and obviously they are. Right? Like, there’s no denying that they really are, but there’s the humility that comes with it knowing that they are still nothing before God, that he is everything, that he makes up for their lacking. And her whole life was kind of like that, like, just, I mean, really prophetic in the sense that we all can attain holiness. Like, God is gonna make up for any lack that we have no matter who we are. He’s gonna fulfill every desire of our heart no matter who we are if we go to him and if we we go to him well. But a very specific example of her prophecy coming forth, she was, mistress of the novices. And one of the novices at one point asked her if she could pretend to be impatient so that the other novices wouldn’t respect her so much, which you’re thinking mighty highly of yourself there. Right? And Mary Magdalene saw right through it and and it shook this novice out of her false humility instantly.

Theresa Zoe Williams:
Mary Magdalene said, what you want to pretend to be, you already are in the eyes of novices. They don’t respect you nearly as much as you like to think. Mhmm. And we talk about, like, shooting off now at someone else or or taking someone down, and that’s exactly what Mary Magdalene De Pazzi did. But with a humility of her own, it’s like, I know exactly who I am. You need to know exactly who you are and then grow from there.

Jill Simons:
Mhmm.

Theresa Zoe Williams:
And that’s the only way we can really attain growth. And so that, again, that prophetic voice of, like, holiness is for everyone, but we have to know who we are first.

Jill Simons:
Yeah. Absolutely. That is it’s a beautiful episode of the prophetic speaking into identity, which of course we talk about so much anyway. And we see that so frequently, even, you know, Christ with a woman at the well in his prophetic gifting saying, you know, you have 5 husband have had 5 husbands and the man you are currently with is not your husband. This is, again, speaking to the fact that he really knows her and also calling her into, like, this isn’t this shouldn’t be what your identity is. There’s something better to get your identity from, and I’d like to invite you into that. And so that just reminds me of that similarly because that’s so much of what we know all the time God wants to share with people is this truth of how he sees us, and that is so often what’s on his heart to share with people through the prophetic.

Theresa Zoe Williams:
Yeah. Exactly. Like, God is sharing his love for each individual through the prophecy of others. Mhmm. And I really like you said, I really believe that that’s what the prophetic gift is for, to shine the light of his love into the hearts of individuals and the Church at large, which I think I mean, in her own little way in her order, you know, Mary Magdalene de Pazzi did very well. You know? I love it. And and last up, we have Saint Francis of Paola. Now he was he was an interesting character.

Theresa Zoe Williams:
He was probably as radical as his namesake, Francis of Assisi. And, I mean, just all in. When you talk about someone who’s all in, Francis of Paola comes to mind for me, because, like, not only did he found an order based on the Franciscan way of life, he called them the minims, which implies that they’re the least of the brothers of the the Franciscan flavor. And they embraced humility, simplicity, and frugality. So making sure that they only have exactly what they need and nothing more, you know, and what they need is probably a little less than what is comfortable, or a lot less in Francis of Paola’s case. And he he maintained a perpetual abstinence for meat and animal products. So he’s one of the first known vegans while there too because he really he saw that as creating harm to creatures and that he didn’t have that power over another created being, even an animal, to do that. So he repudiated animal cruelty in his time.

Theresa Zoe Williams:
He, was very known for his call to nonviolence in all kinds of ways, not just in wars and things like that, but just in your daily life Mhmm. As well. And then going on a bigger scale, he rebuked the king of Naples, when he was doing unchristian things and, just really spoke into the world this this peace. He really brought peace, and that’s what his life and his order was about, like, bringing peace out into the world, and and that Many with creation. Yeah. That’s really beautiful. Just knowing that God is present in all things and present to us in all things. He really brought that to I mean, his order never grew huge like the Franciscans, but he did amass people, like, right away who are like, oh, this makes sense to me.

Theresa Zoe Williams:
This is a way of life that I want to embrace because I too want to understand the peace of the Lord and living peacefully with the Lord and his creation. So I think that that’s really prophetic in how we how we can relate to the created world. Yeah. And in what the created world really means in the mind and heart of God. Mhmm. Like, he made it for us. He made us for it. But, like, how intertwined we are and how how much, like, his love is poured out through the created world.

Jill Simons:
Yeah. That sounds like such a similar that that his story, the most, I think, of those that you shared with us today reminds me the most of the biblical prophets, right, who are, like, kind of that little bit weird voice out there in the desert. You know? Saint John the Baptist, prepare the way for the Lord, like and and that being expressed in the modality of eating and the modality of living and these other areas of their life because the the through line that carries through everyone that we’ve spoken about today is really this openness to speaking prophetic truth to power, which I think really illustrates how ultimately end game of all of the charisms is that increasing amount of risk. Right? And that is where there’s the saintly waiting for us because we have all, you know, 4 people today that are canonized saints with a gift a gift of this that so much of how they were meant to live that out was in speaking truth to power, and allowing God’s voice to be the acting principle in that, absolutely. But also the one who had to be brave enough to go do it was them. You know, the Holy Spirit I’m sure imbued with them with that courage and things like that, but at the end of the day they still needed to decide to go do that though that they’re in you know, to varying degrees might be very real consequences to them for doing that.

Theresa Zoe Williams:
Right. Right. Exactly. That openness of heart and that trust that they’re gonna end up just fine no matter what because they’ve been relying on God this whole time. I really love that about these 4, especially, with this gift because it prophecy is one that does ask you to be vulnerable. Like, you have to put yourself on the line for the word of God, whatever that word he is giving you is. Mhmm. And in a way that like, in writing, I can kind of hide behind my words.

Theresa Zoe Williams:
Mhmm. You know, I don’t have to necessarily be actively vulnerable or or some others. Like, you can hide behind service even, you know, like, letting your actions just do everything and you hide behind that. But in prophecy, you really have to be vulnerable. Like, that is that openness is the central point of it. And it’s just amazing to me that these people were able to do that in large and small ways, and in ways that rippled and, made an impact on the rest of us so heavily.

Jill Simons:
Yeah. So if prophecy is one of your charisms, I wanna encourage you that the the next right step is always the next right step, and that doesn’t mean we’re going from, never really acting intentionally in this charism to doing something at a national scale or doing something in the Vatican or doing something at this huge scale, the Lord is going to walk with you through increasing your risk a little bit more every time. Whatever it is, there’s gonna be that, what if you talk to a stranger? What if you talk to someone you know well that might be even be scarier, because you’re not gonna know you’re gonna have to interact with them again in the future, and just continuing to be faithful in the next small step so that if when the big ask comes, this is a muscle that is well prepared, and that’s what we see in the lives of these saints. I’m sure that this aptitude and this receptivity to the prophetic is honed through a life of the small yeses to the prophetic things that the Lord has shared with them. So we invite you to come back 2 weeks from now. We will have a regular episode next week, and then the week after next, we will have our next episode on saints and their charisms. We will be talking next week about the charism of pastoring, which I know a lot of people have questions about, so this is gonna be a great one to get some clarity about that and to look at some people from the life of the Church who have operated powerfully in this charism. I hope that you have a wonderful week and that this episode encourages you, whether prophecy is your charism or not, to continue to take risks and to press into trusting the Lord with your charisms so that you can see how faithful, how good he really is.

Jill Simons:
Take care. Thanks so much for joining us on today’s episode of Charisms for Catholics. If you would like to learn more about your charisms or begin your own discernment journey, head to our website at manypartsministries.com Where you can download our free pdf guide to all 24 charisms and also begin your own journey by taking our charisms assessment.