The glorious prophet Elijah20 July 2022
The prophet Elijah is a model and example for all Christians, no matter what the conditions they’re living in. His faith and devotion to God, his resolute observance of God’s holy commandments and his spiritual zeal [are admirable] for those living ‘in the world’. And for the shepherds of the Church, given that he never wavered in his pursuit of the statutes of the Lord God Almighty. And for monastics, both because the prophet loved the hermitic life and also because he’s considered to be a teacher and initiate of the mystical prayer of the heart. He was, moreover, a dedicated proponent of sexual abstinence and was, indeed, one of the few men in the Old Testament who had the gift of virginity.
For all of these reasons, we feel close to the Prophet Elijah; we love and honor him; we ask for his prayers; and we admire his life, his works, his faith, his love for God and also the boldness he had before the Lord.
He was perfectly obedient to God’s will, and thereafter God was obedient to him. Because the Lord ‘does the will of those who fear him’ (Ps. 144, 19). The prophet’s boldness towards God is wondrous and unique, as is the fact that our all-good God listened to him and did as he asked.
Today, then, we ask the blessing of the prophet Elijah. We don’t forget that he’s one of the two men from the Old Testament who also participated in the New, together with the prophet Moses, through his appearance on Mount Tabor at the Lord’s divine Transfiguration. The Lord chose two men from the Old Testament, the prophet Elijah and the prophet Moses, which demonstrated what a strong connection they had with Christ and with the Lord’s second coming.
My brethren, let us also strive, and let us ask today for the prophet Elijah’s blessing that we, too, through his prayers, may have holy zeal with discretion, spiritual zeal for the Lord’s commandments and for the strict practice of the monastic state which we committed ourselves to observing. Because, if memory serves, the Prophet Elijah is mentioned at the tonsure, as one of the founders of the monastic state.
We don’t know how much longer the Lord will permit us to live in this life, but I think that what all of us should ask is that he’ll enable us to experience his love and to die in his love. While we live, may we experience the love of Christ; and when we die may we die for his love. Then, I think, there’s no problem. Because ‘whether we live or die, we’re the Lord’s (Rom. 14, 8) and so we’re together with Christ. Life is blessed, death is resurrection and all problems are therefore resolved. It’s enough to be with Christ, in the love of Christ, departed or alive.
May the Prophet Elijah give us help and strength in our spiritual struggle. (1984)