We can no longer deny the tragic absurdity that permeates our world and our lives. Injustice, oppression, violence, and the immense suffering they cause – this harsh reality hits us squarely in the face if we allow ourselves to truly see it. Our initial reaction is one of rage, of deserved anger. How could such cruelty and depravity exist? We rail against the forces that seem to perpetuate this endless cycle of pain. This anger, though difficult, is necessary and even holy. To ignore or repress it would be to anesthesize ourselves to the trauma all around us. The prophets teach us that anger has its place on the journey.

Yet if we remain stuck in anger alone, we will be consumed by it. The prophets beckon us onward to the mysterious alchemy of sadness. As we move beyond detached anger and into the actual experiencing of the world’s agony, something begins to shift within us. The more we can lament and grieve what has been lost and broken, the more a profound solidarity with all who suffer takes root in our souls. We recognize that we are not separate from or immune to the tragic human situation – we are complicit, we are willing participants in this dysfunctional system simply by our existence.

At this stage, we face a choice: to recoil from the searing sadness or to lean into it, allowing the transformation it offers to unfold. The prophets are our guides, our companions in cultivating the gift of bright sadness. They show us how to hold our pain and the world’s pain with tenderness, without angrily demanding a solution or escape hatch. We practice the art of surrendering our need for control, our relentless judging of what is unbearable. Empathy and compassion begin to flower organically from this surrendered stance.

Herein lies the ultimate lesson – that our anger and sadness do not evaporate, but are transcended and included into something new: a love that can only arise from the ashes of what was grieved. This is a love not based on cervant morality or ethical purity, but an expansive love that sees through the illusion of separateness. Like a mother embracing her crying child, this love shows us how to unconditionally accept reality while still laboring to make it more whole. It does not placate or perpetuate injustice, but neither does it fuel the fires of more violence and dehumanization.

We sense this is the path ahead for all religions, for all of humanity – to mature beyond the simplistic rules and us-vs-them paradigms into a radically inclusive perspective. Christianity, the faith many of us were raised in, is still in its spiritual adolescence as an institutionalized religion, having largely operated from the old guidelines of atonement and purity rather than the gospels’ radical vision of suffering love. The Pope’s recent words affirming LGBTQ+ people are an example of the new covenant beginning to dawn. Though the road ahead is long, we recognize this shift happening slowly in many quarters.

Our task is to embody this wisdom of love amidst the turmoil. To refrain from easy judgments or scapegoating, but also to refuse to go numb or abandon the struggle for justice. The prophets awaken us to our anger, cleanse us through sadness, and birth us into a love that transcends even itself. This love holds paradoxes and remains curious about mystery. It rolls up its sleeves to do the hard work while relinquishing the need for concrete outcomes. It breaks our hearts open around the cosmic ache, then puts those broken shards back together into more expansive, radiant vessels.

We are students on this path, falling and rising, resting in silence and erupting in unexpected praise. We are not in control, and that is perhaps the greatest freedom. Our role is simply to consent to the journey, with all its circuitous turns and valleys. In those moments when grief hammers us to our knees, may we remember the bright sadness is lighting the way toward wholeness. And from that humble place, may a love beyond our imagining have an opportunity to be born.


The prophets undergo a profound journey from initial anger at injustice to a place of deep sadness, solidarity with human suffering, and ultimately an empathetic love. While anger is a necessary starting point, it must be transcended and included into a more expansive understanding. Sadness represents a crucial transition from standing apart from suffering to embracing the tragic absurdity of reality with compassion. True mercy emerges not from trying to control reality, but from accepting our own imperfection and limitations with “bright sadness.” The prophets teach us to “suffer the self” rather than simply purifying it. Scripture and spiritual growth are developmental, not static – unconditional love paradoxically transforms us more than trying to change others forcefully. Grieving and letting go of expectations are critical for genuine love to arise. Those who complete this journey are marked by silence, mystery, and a capacity to hold the world’s suffering without judging it. Christianity and other religions have more growth ahead to institutionalize this “new covenant” of radical empathy and mercy modeled by the prophets.

Key Points

1. Prophets undergo a journey from anger at injustice to sadness and solidarity with human suffering, eventually reaching a place of love and empathy.

2. Anger is a necessary starting point, but it must be transcended to reach a deeper understanding and compassion.

3. Sadness is a crucial part of the journey, where one moves from standing apart from suffering to being in solidarity with it.

4. True love and mercy emerge from embracing the tragic absurdity of reality, rather than trying to control or rationalize it.

5. The prophets teach us to “suffer the self” rather than simply “purify the self,” as priests often emphasize.

6. Scripture and spiritual growth are developmental processes, not static snapshots.

7. Unconditional love and acceptance are paradoxically more transformative than trying to change others.

8. Grief and letting go of expectations are necessary for genuine love to emerge.

9. Silence, mystery, and a capacity for “bright sadness” are hallmarks of those who have undergone the prophetic journey.

10. Christianity and other religions are still in their infancy, slowly growing into a “new covenant” of mercy and empathy.