Bank holiday weekend and of course the weather is wet and cold! It seems to be a tradition in this country. Talking about traditions, the Carmelites have a very long history and lots of tradition. We have a great affinity with the Old Testament Prophet Elijah because he was reputed to have lived on Mount Carmel where the Carmelite Order began. When they moved into Western Europe in the early part of the 13th century, reaching Aylesford in 1242, they brought a devotion to the Prophet Elijah with them. He was one of the greatest and earliest of the prophets and most of the stories about him can be found in the Old Testament books of the Kings (between the second book of Samuel and the first book of Chronicles if your knowledge of the Old Testament is a little rusty). The Catechism of the Catholic Church sees in the Prophet Elijah a model for prayer (see articles 2582 and 2583).
I was reminded of this great figure by the weather over the past few weeks. In many part of England, especially in the south east, a drought had been officially declared and as soon as the declaration had been made, what happened? Yes, of course. It started to rain and it has not stopped! Well, things were different in the days of Elijah. When he declared a drought, the rain stayed off for a very long time. According to the story that we find in the first book of Kings (17, 1), God was not best pleased with what had been going on in Israel, especially with the fact that the people were worshipping an idol so Elijah proclaimed that there would be a drought. It did not end until the people had turned back to God.
Elijah is a fascinating figure and has a lot to teach us. Everything did not go smoothly for him but he remained faithful to the traditions of his people and to God who had chosen them. He is an important figure for Jews, Christians and Muslims. Why don’t you read some of the stories about him? One of the community has written a book about him, called “Sound of Silence”.
I always console myself with thinking that we could not have such a green country without a little bit of rain. But surely it could be warmer!