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Elijah the Prophet

elijah04 350Elijah, a prophet close to God and to his people, has great relevance for us. We feel that what is happening in our times can be compared to the experience of this great prophet of God as it is related in the Books of the Kings (cf. 1 Kg 17: 19-21; 2 Kg 1-2).

After his stunning success on Mount Carmel, he was threatened by Jezebel. Overcome by fear and entered a deep personal crisis. He felt so low and alone that he wanted to die.

This broken man heads for the desert, a place where there is no life, a symbol of nothingness. He feels empty and without hope because he cannot think of continuing to live in a country whose faith in Yahweh seems to have given way to the worship of idols. Instead of bringing on his death, the desert turns out to be the place of new life which leads him to an ever more intense encounter with the Word of God, giving him a clearer understanding of what was going on and the ability to relate to it. So Elijah sets out on a new path.

“Get up and eat, lest the journey be too long” (1 Kg 19:7) the angel says to him pointing to the scone and the water. Elijah must go on living and must continue the struggle. He must first of all fight against his own tendency to despair and the presumption in him which prevents him from understanding that it is God who directs the course of history. Elijah has to struggle also to continue to be a visible and credible witness to the fidelity of Yahweh in the midst of the people.

On Mount Horeb, Elijah encounters God in a new way in the gentle breeze. God’s voice convinces him that he must continue his mission as a faithful witness and prophet. Like Elijah, we too hear the voice of God which leads us to discover the generous and often unnoticed faithfulness of the many people who have not bent the knee to Baal (1 Kg 19:18).

We think of all our communities, the youth and other lay groups with which we are involved, the women, both active and enclosed, who live according to the Carmelite charism. In the one Carmelite Family we sustain and encourage one another by our fidelity. Such witness is valuable to the people of God. It is a source of hope and leads to greater commitment.

Source: General Chapter 1995, Carmel: a Place and a Journey into the Third Millenium.

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