St. Elijah
Father and Inspiration of the Carmelite Order
Feast Day: 20 July


St Elijah

Who was Elijah?

Elijah - inspiration for Carmelites

A prophet for modern times

Scripture references about St. Elijah

Prayers to St. Elijah


Who was Elijah?

"Scripture presents the prophet Elijah as a man of God, walking continually in God's presence
and fiercely defending the worship of the one true God. He stood up for God's rights in a solemn
contest on Mount Carmel. Later on Mount Horeb he was granted an intimate experience of the living
God. The hermits who instituted a form of monastic life in honour of Our Lady on Mount Carmel in
the twelfth century, followed monastic tradition in turning also to Elijah as their model."
Carmelite Breviary



Inspiration for Carmelites

In looking to the Prophet Elijah, Carmelites become more aware of their contemplative vocation;
of hearing God's word and searching in great solitude and in total detachment from
the world for the supreme treasure, the precious pearl of his kingdom. Elijah is a
constant source of inspiration for every Carmelite - his zeal for the Lord and his
awareness of the presence of God. The Carmelite motto which is displayed on our
crest is taken from the words of Elijah:
"With zeal I have been zealous for the Lord, the God of Hosts".
The beginning of the story of Elijah in the First book of Kings is a story about going away to
a quiet place to pray and be alone with God. That is what the Carmelite experiences upon
deciding to leave the world and join Carmel, and just like for Elijah, God always provides for every need. 


Scripture References

The call of Elijah: 1 Kings 17: 2-6
Elijah helps the widow from famine and raises her son from the dead: 1 Kings 17: 7-24
Elijah's contest with the prophets of Baal: 1 Kings 18: 20-40
Elijah prays on Mount Carmel: 1 Kings 18: 41-46
Elijah's despair and his flight into the desert: I Kings 19: 1-8
Elijah's encounter with God on Mount Horeb: 1 Kings 19: 9-18

Elijah is taken up to heaven in a fiery chariot: 2 Kings 2: 1-13


A prophet for modern times


Elijah has much to offer the world in the 21st Century and can be a source of inspiration and encouragement for many types of people. Those searching for God in the midst of the turmoil of modern life will find answers, like Elijah, in the stillness and quiet. Elijah responded with compassion to the poor and the needy, but he also experienced dark moments when he felt he could go no further. He even wished that he might die - but God came to strengthen him so that he could continue his journey. He was also a man of prayer and he fought for justice even though he had many enemies. He bravely took the side of God - even when it seemed he was all alone. His life inspired the prophet Elisha to follow him, and it continues to inspire many men and women right down to our own time. The story of Elijah has something to offer everyone
.


Prayers to St. Elijah
Almighty God you raised up Elijah,
your prophet and father of all Carmelites,
in a fiery chariot to heaven before he might die;
we ask you that while we still live
our hearts may be lifted up to eternal things
and that we may rejoice with him
at the resurrection of the just.
We ask this through Christ our Lord. Amen.
Almighty, ever-living God,
your prophet Elijah our Father
lived always in your presence
and was zealous for the honour due to your name.
May we, your servants,
always seek your face
and bear witness to your love.
We ask this through Christ our Lord. Amen.

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