Saturday, July 20, 2013

Happy Feast Day of the Amazing Prophet Elijah, Father of Carmel!

"In Elijah, we see the solitary prophet who nurtured his thirst for the one and only God, and lived in his presence. He is the contemplative, burning with passionate love for the Absolute who is God, "his word flaring like a torch.” He is the mystic who, after a long and wearisome journey, learned to read the new signs of God's presence. He is the prophet who became involved in the lives of the people, and who, by battling against false idols, brought them back to faithfulness to their Covenant with the One God. He is the prophet who was in solidarity with the poor and the forgotten, and who defended those who endured violence and injustice. 

From Elijah, Carmelites learn to be people of the desert, with heart undivided, standing before God and entirely dedicated to his service, uncompromising in the choice to serve God's cause, aflame with a passionate love for God. Like Elijah, they believe in God and allow themselves to be led by the Spirit and by the Word that has taken root in their hearts, in order to bear witness to the divine presence in the world, allowing God to be truly God in their lives. Finally, in Elijah they see, one who belonged to a school of prophets and knew what it was to live in community; and with Elijah they learn to be channels of God's tender love for the poor and the humble."

From the Carmelite Consitutions, 1995.

O Lord, the God of Abraham, Isaac and Israel, You alone are God.
Your servant Elijah lived in your presence and acted on your Word. Help us to drink from the well of his wisdom.
Shelter us in Cherith, and lead us to Carmel, luring our hearts away from all false gods. 
Open our eyes to the needs of those suffering. Open our mouths to speak comfort and justice. Open our hearts to your voice in the silence. 
Send angels to strengthen us. Send the rain of your grace to quench our thirst. Let us break bread with the starving and bring life to places of death and despair. Send us as prophets to herald your Gospel.
Allow us to rise to you in paradise.
Those who met your son Jesus saw in him
the spirit of Elijah. May Elijah lead us to your son.
We ask this in Jesus’ name. Amen.

(Photos are from the Shrine to St. Elijah at Mount Carmel, Israel. The first is from the cave and the second is the view from above. Photos are from our formation director from her pilgrimage.)

St. Elijah's message is deeply meaningful to me because it is through him I turned my heart back to the Lord when I felt lost and forgotten. Led by his spirit, I became infused with ever-growing zeal and faithfulness. I am in love with this very ancient and beautiful tradition.


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