St. Amos – A Prophet and Saint for Oppressed People
God called Amos to travel to the northern kingdom of Israel to prophesy to the people there.
But the LORD took me from following the flock, and the LORD said to me, ‘Go, prophesy to my people Israel.’ ―Amos 7:15
Before becoming a prophet, Amos was actually a shepherd. He lived in the 700s BC, when the Hebrew people had already split their kingdom into two parts: Judah was the southern kingdom, and Israel was in the north. Although Amos was from a town not too far from Bethlehem in Judah, he was called by God to travel to the northern kingdom of Israel to prophesy to the people there.
Curiously, Amos began his prophecies with accusations and warnings toward the kingdoms that neighbored Israel, including his own kingdom of Judah. However, soon his words focused in on Israel itself. It was a time of affluence and satisfaction for many in the northern kingdom. A prosperous growth had given some of the people a strong sense of gratification; sadly, many became greedy and selfish. They paid little heed to the deprived and trampled upon them without care or concern.
Amos spoke out against this unkind treatment of the poor and warned of dismal consequences. He also warned the people that any pious offerings or sacrifices would be valueless if those presenting the offerings were simultaneously insensitive toward the less fortunate. Amos met with Amaziah, the priest of the Israelite city Bethel, and challenged the irreligious ways of Israel. Amaziah could not bear to hear Amos’s words; he found them too challenging to his comfortable way of life. Amaziah angrily ordered that Amos leave Israel. Amos evidently ignored the command and continued to preach to the people of Israel for a while longer, hoping to persuade them to live more godly lifestyles.
When the king of Israel at the time, Jeroboam II (786–746 BC), passed away, Amos’s predictions began to come true as the kingdom started to falter, losing prestige and prosperity. Eventually, Israel was taken over by the Assyrians.
Interestingly, Amos had closed his prophecies with a promise of an eventual rebuilding of Israel. The Book of Acts in the New Testament shares how at the Council of Jerusalem, James referred to this prophecy as the Christian Faith began to take root and grow in many regions―including the former kingdom of Israel.
A Biblical Novena to St. Amos
It would be a tough chore to find a novena to St. Amos out there; however, if you prayerfully read the following passages—one a day for nine days—starting with the Sign of the Cross, and asking St. Amos to pray for your intentions; then, you would have nine days of prayer—creating a Bible-based novena. If you really feel inspired, pull out a pad of paper, and take a few notes each day. See what God might be saying to you through this holy defender of the poor. The feast of St. Amos is June 15.
- Day 1 - Amos 1:1
- Day 2 - Amos 2:10-13
- Day 3 - Amos 5:14-15
- Day 4 - Amos 5:22–24
- Day 5 - Amos 7:10–15
- Day 6 - Amos 8:4–6
- Day 7 - Amos 9:11
- Day 8 - Acts 15:15–16
- Day 9 - Amos 9:14-15