Carmel Bulletin, 7 July 2019

The feast of Our Lady of Mount Carmel is celebrated on 16 July. The parish celebrates the feast day on the Sunday closest to the feast day, this year on Sunday 14 July. As a lead up to the feast day we will provide some reflections on the feast day and what it means to be a Carmelite.

Elijah, Father of All Carmelites

This cave associated with the prophet Elijah is beneath the sanctuary of the church of Stella Maris Carmelite Monastery on Mount Carmel, which overlooks the norther Israeli city of Haifa.

We first learn about Elijah in the first book of Kings in the Hebrew Bible and, while we know nothing of his background, this multi-faceted individual is remembered as a beloved prophet in all the best Judeo-Christian-Muslim traditions. The people of Israel had allowed themselves to be induced and anaesthetised by the latest god in town, Baal, effectively disconnecting themselves from a fulfilling relationship with God. Driven by zeal for the Word of God, Elijah victoriously challenged the 450 prophets of Baal and the 400 prophets of Asherah on top of Mount Carmel, reconciling the people of Israel back to the God of love, and leaving countless generations to contemplate on how we respond when we hear Him. Elijah prophesied and acted on Mount Carmel which is why he was always an inspiration to the hermits who lived there. The Cave of Elijah is near the cells on Mount Carmel where the hermits who became the first Carmelites lived.

Elijah on Mount Horeb (detail), by parishioner Bill Casey

Elijah is also portrayed as a vulnerable pilgrim being fed by ravens, a provider to the widow of Zarephath, a hermit, spiritual father of the prophet Elisha, and even an elderly patriarch brandishing a fiery sword of Truth. But, like Mary, it’s Elijah’s purity of heart and his unquestionable trust in God that the Carmelite Family will later look towards.

Denis Andrew OCarm (Parish Priest)
and Paola Yevenes (Pastoral Associate)

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