The Promise is to You

Becoming Enkindled

The first time the Holy Spirit asked me to give a prophetic word, I said “No.” I was 14 years old, and had recently become a lector at Mass. I loved lectoring, having gotten past my initial nervous speed-reading for which one deacon said I would need an oxygen tank. But giving a prophetic word was entirely different. There was no page from which to read.

At that time, our charismatic parish had an open mic for parishioners to give prophetic words after Communion. This was before our church was built, when we were meeting in a local college auditorium. The mic lay on the edge of the stage, in front of the clergy and in plain view of everyone.

In my heart of hearts I knew the Lord wanted me to give a word, but I was afraid. What would my friends think? None of them received prophetic words. No one even close to my age gave them; that was for grown-ups. What if I messed up? What if the Holy Spirit didn’t give me the words and I had to stand there looking stupid?

Over the next few months, I avoided the Holy Spirit. When I took time to pray – which had become a lifeline for me through the roller-coaster of my teen years – I carefully avoided the topic of prophecy. Yet I kept feeling gentle nudges from the Spirit, so it wasn’t long before I stopped taking my daily prayer times.

In my especially honest moments, I missed him. I missed sitting with the Lord and pouring out my heart. I missed hearing his words of wisdom and love. I missed his guidance. But I was determined not to give a prophecy. After all, I rationalized, I wouldn’t lose my salvation if I didn’t. I would save myself this potential embarrassment.

One Sunday morning I awoke to the sun streaming down on my face. It felt wonderfully warm. I was unusually well-rested and lay in bed for a while, enjoying the sunshine. I felt happy for the first time since I’d begun avoiding the Lord. As the wonderful summer sweetness enfolded me, I knew HE was there, wrapping me in his love. My heart thrilled!!

I enjoyed the sweet reunion with my Lord for some time. Then all at once I knew: it was because of this profound love for me and for those who needed to hear his words that he wanted me to prophesy that day. His love was so wonderful that I almost said “Yes.” But then I doubted again. “I’m truly sorry, Lord. I can’t do it.”

The sun disappeared. Grey clouds covered the sky and my alarm rang. It was time to get ready for Mass. I was scheduled to lector that day.

When I finished lectoring and returned to my seat, one of my mom’s friends walked over. In a whisper she introduced herself to me. She had come over, she said, because for the past two months she had strongly sensed the Holy Spirit upon me, and he wanted me to give a prophetic word that morning.

My jaw hit the floor. I had not spoken to anyone about prophesying. The Lord must have told her. She offered to go up to the microphone with me for moral support. In shock, I nodded.

She went back to her seat and I ran to the bathroom. Fortunately it was empty. Tears gushed from my eyes in fear of what I was about to do…but more in relief because I had just stepped back into union with my Lord. There was a pure joy that came with my obedience. Jesus comforted me and gave me peace. I returned as quietly as possible to my seat.

I received the Eucharist and begged God on my knees for the strength and the words to prophesy. With a mix of dread and a new strange excitement, I watched for the communicants to finish receiving. When the time came, I looked over at my mom’s friend. She nodded, and we went up together.

My hand shook as I picked up the mic. Tears began to stream from my eyes. Words came about the Father’s love. He so ardently wanted us to know His love. He knew we needed his love, and he yearned to fill us.

I put down the mic and received a hug from my mom’s friend. Still shaking, I went back to my seat. A couple others gave prophetic words, too, but I hardly heard what they said.

As soon as Mass ended, I asked my mom for the car keys. As fast as I could I slipped out to our Plymouth Acclaim. I crouched on the floor of the back seat, hoping no one would see me. I couldn’t believe what I had just done, and I wasn’t ready to talk to anyone about it.

A knock sounded on the window above me. The face of a classmate’s mom peered in. Mortified, I rolled down the window.

“I just want to thank you for what you said today,” she said. She spoke from the depth of her heart. “I really needed to hear that.”

“You’re welcome,” I stammered.

That’s when it hit me: prophesying is not about me; it’s about God conveying his love through us. How will people experience God’s love if we do not convey it? How will we remain in his love if we refuse to live it?

Jesus said, “I came to bring fire to the earth, and how I wish it were already kindled!” (Lk 12:49). This is why the Holy Spirit came to us – to set us on fire with his love!

When Mary gave her “Fiat,” the Word was made Flesh for the salvation of the world. When we say “Yes” to the Holy Spirit, he reveals his Word through our flesh to reach those in need of salvation. May we follow Our Lady’s lead and burn brightly!

By Christy Whiting, who now, after many further adventures with the Holy Spirit, directs Upper Room.

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