I've been reading Jeff Mirus's reflections at Catholic Culture regularly for a while now and have found them pretty consistently illuminating in one way or another. This one on a proposal to make Catholic universities focus more on cultivating prophetic voices for social justice hits the nail on the head.
Point 1: If it ain't from God, it ain't prophecy, it's cant.
Point 2: At the age when most students go to university, the characteristic vices are ones that social activism (of whatever political stripe, I'd interject) does little to hold in check.
I've heard it said repeatedly in one Christian writers' group that our society needs prophets, by which declaration this person is inviting us to step up to the plate and tell the world about God. But while Christians should not be afraid to speak in the public square, I beg to differ about what's most needed. The prophetic role, at least as it is commonly understood, is one that easily feeds a person's sense of entitlement, and here I speak ruefully from personal experience. It's easy to style oneself a prophet and find something that someone out there is doing wrong, because there really is a lot of evil in the world. It's harder to radically submit everything in our own lives – our petty self-indulgence, our fits of whininess and ingratitude, our sloth – to the Lordship of Jesus Christ. Reformers come and go; saints endure in their influence.
Said St Francis of Assisi, "Sanctify yourself and you will sanctify society."
Archbishop Chaput of Denver concludes this very fine essay on religion and the public good by saying, "The only thing that matters is to be a saint. At least we can try. And if we do, God will take care of the rest."