The prophet Elijah has his feastday today, though comparatively few of us observe it. He is counted as an inspiration by Carmelites, for he lived as a hermit on Mount Carmel, where the Order was founded, centuries before it came to Europe.
Elijah does not have a book to his name, as Jeremiah, Isaiah, Amos and others do, but we know of his witness in the Northern Kingdom of Israel from the Books of Kings.
It was on Mount Carmel that Elijah faced down the prophets of Baal and the people of Israel, who were worshipping both the Lord and Baal. More than 400 prophets of Baal danced and sang all day to their god, but nothing happened to their offering. Elijah, having built his altar, added firewood and the sacrifice of a bull’s carcase, drenched it all in water, and the Lord sent fire to consume it all.
Later, when Elijah was close to despair with the wickedness of the people and King Ahab, he ran away, but the Lord sent ravens to feed him and strengthen him. That is the scene shown here in a house sign from Amsterdam.
Elijah faithfully challenged Ahab on God’s behalf, but it did not make for an easy life, as the Books of Kings tell us. Let’s pray for the grace of perseverance in our own lives.