Saint Elijah, Prophet

20th July
Saint Elijah, Prophet

OC: Solemnity
OCD: Feast

The prophet Elijah appears in Scripture as a man of God who lived always in his presence and fought zealously for the worship of the one God. He defended God's law in a solemn contest on Mount Carmel, and afterwards was given on Mount Horeb 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 to Elijah as their Father and model.


Entrance Antiphon - OC - 1 Kg 18:37
Answer me, Lord, answer me, so that this people may know that you are God, and are winning back their hearts.

Entrance Antiphon - OCD - 1 Kg 17:1
The Prophet Elijah cried out: "The Lord God of Israel lives, in whose presence I stand!".

Opening Prayer
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 our Lord Jesus Christ, your Son,
who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit,
one God, for ever and ever.

A reading from the first book of the Kings - 19:1-9a, 11-14a
Strengthened by that food he walked until he reached the mountain of God.
When Ahab told Jezebel all that Elijah had done, and how he had put all the prophets to the sword, Jezebel sent a messenger to Elijah to say, 'May the gods do this to me and more, if by this time tomorrow I have not made your life like the life of one of them!' He was afraid and fled for his life.  He came to Beersheba, a town of Judah, where he left his servant.
He himself went on into the wilderness, a day's journey, and sitting under a furze bush wished he were dead.  'Lord,' he said, 'I have had enough, take my life; I am no better than my ancestors'.  Then he lay down and went to sleep.  But an angel touched him and said, 'Get up and eat'.  He looked round, and there at his head was a scone baked on hot stones, and a jar of water.  He ate and drank and then lay down again.  But the angel of the Lord came back a second time and touched him and said, 'Get up and eat, or the journey will be too long for you'.  So he got up and ate and drank, and strengthened by that food he walked for forty days and forty nights until he reached Horeb, the mountain of God.  There he went into the cave and spent the night in it.
Then he was told, 'Go out and stand on the mountain before the Lord'.  Then the Lord himself went by.  There came a mighty wind, so strong it tore the mountains and shattered the rocks before the Lord.  But the Lord was not in the wind.  After the wind came an earthquake.  But the Lord was not in the earthquake.  After the earthquake came a fire.  But the Lord was not in the fire.  And after the fire came the sound of a gentle breeze.  And when Elijah heard this, he covered his face with his cloak and went out and stood at the entrance of the cave.  Then a voice came to him, which said, 'What are you doing here, Elijah?' He replied, 'I am filled with jealous zeal for the Lord of hosts'.

Responsorial Psalm - Ps 15: 1-2, 5-6, 8-9, 10-11 (R.  8a)
R/. I keep the Lord always in my sight.

Preserve me, God, I take refuge in you.
I say to the Lord: 'You are my God'.
My happiness lies in you alone'.   R/.

O Lord, it is you who are my portion and cup;
it is you yourself who are my prize.  
The lot marked out for me is my delight:
welcome indeed the heritage that falls to me!   R/. 
I keep the Lord ever in my sight:
since he is at my right hand I shall stand firm.  
And so my heart rejoices, my soul is glad;
even my body shall rest in safety.   R/.

For you will not leave my soul among the dead,
nor let your beloved know decay.
You will show me the path of life,
the fulness of joy in your presence,
at your right hand happiness for ever.   R/.

A reading from the first letter of St Peter - 1:8-12
Their prophecies were about the grace which was to come to you.
You did not see Jesus Christ, yet you love him; and still without seeing him, you are already filled with a joy so glorious that it cannot be described, because you believe; and you are sure of the end to which your faith looks forward, that is, the salvation of your souls.
It was this salvation that the prophets were looking and searching so hard for; their prophecies were about the grace which was to come to you.  The Spirit of Christ which was in them foretold the sufferings of Christ and the glories that would come after them, and they tried to find out what time and in what circumstances all this was to be expected.  It was revealed to them that the news they brought of all the things which have now been announced to you, by those who preached to you the Good News through the Holy Spirit sent from heaven, was for you and not for themselves.  Even the angels long to catch a glimpse of these things. 

Gospel Acclamation - Lk.  9:35
Alleluia, Alleluia!
This is my Son, the Chosen One: listen to him.

A reading from the holy Gospel according to Luke - 9:28b-36
Moses and Elijah were speaking with Jesus.
Jesus took with him Peter and John and James and went up the mountain to pray.  As he prayed, the aspect of his face was changed and his clothing became brilliant as lightning.  Suddenly there were two men there talking to him; they were Moses and Elijah appearing in glory, and they were speaking of his passing which he was to accomplish in Jerusalem.  Peter and his companions were heavy with sleep, but they kept awake and saw his glory and the two men standing with him.
As these were leaving him, Peter said to Jesus, 'Master, it is wonderful for us to be here; so let us make three tents, one for you, one for Moses and one for Elijah'.-He did not know what he was saying.  As he spoke, a cloud came and covered them with shadow; and when they went into the cloud the disciples were afraid.  And a voice came from the cloud, saying, 'This is my Son, the Chosen One.  Listen to him'.  And after the voice had spoken, Jesus was found alone.
The disciples kept silence and, at that time, told no one what they had seen.

Prayer over the Gifts
look with favour on your Church's offering.
Accept the gifts we bring you now
as once you accepted by a miraculous sign
the sacrifice of your prophet Elijah.
Grant this through Christ our Lord.


Priest: The Lord be with you.
People: And also with you.
Priest: Lift up your hearts.
People: We lift them up to the Lord.
Priest: Let us give thanks to the Lord our God.
People:It is right to give him thanks and praise.

You raised up the prophets to proclaim you
the true and living God,
and to teach your people
to hope for salvation.
To Elijah the Tishbite
you showed your special friendship,
and made his burning zeal for your glory
a witness to your power and mercy.
You gave him, who walked in your presence,
the joy of beholding at Christ's transfiguration
your Son in all his splendour.
In our unending joy
we echo on earth the song of the angels in heaven,
as they praise your glory for ever:

Holy, holy, holy Lord, 

Communion Antiphon 1 Kg 19:8.
Elijah ate and drank, and, strengthened by that food, walked all the way to the mountain of God.

Prayer after Communion
Lord God,
you have nourished us at the table of your Son
with the food and drink of angels.
May we constantly seek you here in faith,
and so rejoice for ever in the sight of you
when we reach the Mount of your Glory.
We ask this through Christ our Lord.

Solemn Blessing or Prayer over the People

Bow your heads and pray for God's blessing.

God commanded his prophet Elijah
to hide himself by the brook Cherith,
and to proclaim him on Mount Carmel
the one true God.
May he grant you
Elijah's spirit of solitary prayer
and his zeal for the divine glory.

R/. Amen.

God provided for Elijah in the desert
food and drink
that endowed him with miraculous strength.
May the eucharistic banquet he has furnished
for all who follow in the footsteps of his Son
strengthen you for life's journey.

R/. Amen.

God's voice came to Elijah on Mount Horeb
in the whisper of a gentle breeze.
May his Holy Spirit
speak to you constantly in your inmost hearts.

R/. Amen.

May almighty God bless you,
the Father, and the Son, + and the Holy Spirit.

R/. Amen

Divine Office

Office of Readings

Second Reading - From a Homily of Pope St. Gregory on the Book of the Prophet Ezekiel
In divine contemplation the spirit is often abstracted to such a degree that it is already granted the joy of partaking a little, in image as it were, of that eternal freedom which 'eye has not seen nor ear heard;' but then, hampered by the weight of its own mortality, it falls back into the depths and is held captive in penalty for its sins.  It has glimpsed the delights of true freedom and longs to escape from its captivity but, since it cannot, it keeps its gaze fixed upon the imprisoning doors.  This is why, when the Jews had been freed from slavery to Egypt, each of them stood adoring in the doorway of his tent when God spoke and the
pillar of cloud was visible.

Wherever we direct our mental gaze, there we may be said to stand.  That is why Elijah said:  'The Lord lives, in whose sight I stand.'  He did indeed stand before God, for his heart was intent on God.  That the Jews gazed at the pillar of cloud and stood at the doors of their tents in adoration, has this meaning:  when the human mind perceives these high and heavenly things - albeit in image - the elevation of its thought has already lifted it free from the limits of its bodily habitation; and although it is denied
sight of the divine substance, it humble adores Him whose power it can already see by spiritual illumination.

This is why Elijah is described as standing at the mouth of his cave and veiling his face when he heard the voice of the Lord speaking to him; for as soon as the voice of heavenly understanding enters the mind through the grace of contemplation, the whole man is no longer within the cave, for his soul is no longer taken up with matters of the flesh:  intent on leaving the bounds of martality, he stands at the cave's mouth.

But if a man stands at the mouth of the cave and hears the word of God with the heart's ear, he must veil his face. For when heavenly grace leads us to the understanding of higher things, the rarer the heights to which we are raised, the more we should abase ourselves in our own estimation by humility:  we must not try to know 'more than is fitting; we must know as it befits us to know.'  Otherwise, through over-familiarity with the invisible, we risk going astray; and we might perhaps look for material light in what is immaterial. For to cover the face while listening with the ear means hearing with our mind the voice of Him who is
within us, yet averting the eyes of the heart from every bodily appearance.  If we do this, there will be no risk of our spirit interpreting as something corporeal that which is everywhere in its entirety and everywhere uncircumscribed.

Beloved brothers, we have already learned through our Redeemer's death, resurrection and ascension into heaven, what the joys of eternity mean, and we know that our fellow-citizens we have known.  While our feet stand within th walls of His holy Church, let us keep our hearts facing towards the freedom of our heavenly fatherland.  We are still encumbered, it is true, by the many cares of this corruptible life.  If then we cannot leave the cave completely, let us at least stand at its mouth, and go out whenever we are granted the favor of doing so by the grace of our Redeemer Who lives and reigns with the Father in
the unity of the Holy Spirit, God, world without end.  Amen.

R/.  The word of the Lord came to Elijah.*  Go out and stand on the mountain before the Lord.
V/.  He went out and stood at the entrance to the cave, and the Lord passed by in the whisper of a gentle breeze.* Go out and stand on the mountain before the Lord.

Benedicus Antiphon
Lord God of Abraham and Isaac and Jacob, give proof this day that You are the God of Israel, and that I am Your servant, and that all I have said is at Your command.

Magnficat Antiphon
Behold, I will send you Elijah the prophet before the day of the Lord comes, that great and terrible day.  He will turn the hearts of fathers to their sons and the hearts of sons to their fathers.