“A prophet is he who, by virtue of baptism, helps others read the present under the action of the Holy Spirit, which helps people understand God's plans and align yourselves with them.”

– Pope Francis

For as long as I can remember, I’ve never had a problem expressing my thoughts. In fact, some might say I have never had an unexpressed opinion. This can be helpful in parts of my professional life when other leaders invite me to share advice. The problem is, the more I'm asked for advice, the more comfortable I become giving it. And the more comfortable I become in giving advice, the more I become comfortable giving it when no one asks.

While hanging out with some friends over the summer, I generously offered an unsolicited observation to one friend about a life decision he had already made. While it was nothing more than a passing comment in my mind, it clearly struck a nerve. While he reacted with emotion, I continued to try to help him see his faulty and circular logic. At some point, I made eye contact with my wife who was sitting across the room. Her stare was sending a clear message: “Cease and desist Cellucci.” The debrief in the car was painful. Not only was it the wrong place and time for me to speak the truth, my friend’s decision wasn’t a moral or ethical issue, nor was anyone in danger, nor could he have changed his mind at that point even if he was convinced by my bountiful wisdom. Lastly, my bride added, “Dan, no one was asking for your wisdom.”

As I hung up the phone with my friend having graciously accepted my apology, I couldn’t help but wonder just how often my supposed “prophetic voice” was actually counterproductive. In my life and leadership, am I speaking truth with prudence? Is my message not only accurate and authentic in its content, but delivered in a space and with the grace that communicates my care for the other? Am I sharing the facts to demonstrate the breadth of my knowledge or the depth of my love?

The lesson wasn’t to keep my mouth shut. I needed to keep the relationship with my friend at the forefront by sharing my observation with an intentionality that would reinforce the most important truth - that God and I love him and want the best for him. Through baptism, we are called to be prophets. As we begin this new week, let’s make sure we aren’t just pointing out others’ flaws but pointing those we love to the Way, the Truth, and the Life.

by Daniel Cellucci

November 13, 2023

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