Saturday, July 20, 2013

Feast of the Prophet Elijah

July 20th is the Feast of the Prophet Elijah 

"The prophet Elijah appears in Scripture as a man of God who lived always in His presence and fought zealously for the worship of the one God.  He defended God's law in a solemn contact on Mt. Carmel, and afterwards was given on Mt. Horeb an intimate experience of the living God.  The hermits who instituted a form of monastic life in honor of Our Lady on Mt. Carmel in the twelfth century, followed monastic tradition in turning to Elijah as their Father and model." (Meditations from Carmel)

Elijah is a primary figure in the history of the Church, the Carmelite Order and Carmelite spirituality. The words of the prophet Elijah are the motto of the Carmelite Order:
"With zeal have I been zealous for the Lord God of Hosts."

"The first Carmelites were hermits living in shared solitude who settled on Mount Carmel in northern Palestine in the 12th century. Inspired by the example of Elijah, a holy man and a lover of solitude, they dwelt in small cells near a spring called Elijah’s Fountain.

In Elijah, Carmel sees itself as in a mirror. His eremitic and prophetic life expresses its own most intimate ideal. In studying the life of Elijah, Carmel is aware of a growing thirst for contemplation. It perceives its deep kinship with this man who “stood in the presence of the living God”. If it shares his weaknesses and his anguish, it also knows his faith in God and his zeal for the “Yahweh of armies” and it has tasted the same delights of a life hidden in God which the prophet also experienced. (Carmelite Spirituality by Paul Marie de la Croix of the Order of Discalced Carmelites)

Here are a few more informative posts pertaining to the prophet Elijah:

Carmelite Street:

"Elijah is a principle figure in our spirituality. "

The Order of Carmelites:

"He is the prophet who is involved in the life of the people and, fighting against the false idols, he brings them back to the fidelity of the Covenant with the only God. He is the prophet in solidarity with the poor and those far away and he defends those who suffer violence and injustice. From the origin of the Order of the Carmelites inspiration is found in his person, who then permeates the whole history, so much so that justly the Prophet can be considered its ideal Founder."

Solemnity of the Holy Prophet Elijah
a Brief History and Meditation:

"In the Hebrew Bible, Elijah is a solitary figure. On Mount Carmel — where the Carmelite hermits first settled — he challenged his people to choose one God for Israel — Yahweh or Baal. According to the First Book of Kings, chapter 18, Elijah’s sacrifice was consumed by fire, which proved to the people that Yahweh was the true God.

Undertaking God’s work, Elijah started a journey through the desert, but he lost his focus and commitment to the project. Sitting under a bush, he wished to die. But God prodded him to continue his journey to Mount Horeb. There Elijah became aware of God — not with the usual eye-catching signs of fire and earthquake, but rather as a gentle breeze. Elijah was sent back to his people refreshed. From Elijah, Carmelites learn to become aware of the presence of God in the unexpected and to be silent enough to hear God’s whisper.

“God lives in whose presence I stand”, says Elijah, and the Carmelites try to follow, recognizing God in everyone they meet and serve."

Israel Tourism information on the historical Elijah:

"All local religions regard Elijah as a major Old Testament prophet. This day traditionally marks his ascension to heaven on a chariot of fire, and is celebrated in a cave which is identified as his hideout on Mount Carmel."

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