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In the spirit of Elijah

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In the past week we’ve celebrated two major Carmelite feasts: Our Lady of Mt. Carmel (July 16) and the prophet Elijah (July 20). These two great saints in different ways exemplify what Carmelite spirituality is about.
Elijah demonstrates the prophetic aspect of Carmelite spirituality. The Carmelite seal bears these words of his as a motto:
With zeal have I been zealous for the Lord God of Hosts (1 Kings 19:10).
Consumed with zeal for holiness Elijah was not afraid to confront the rulers of his day. He risked death to preach repentance to King Ahab, while Queen Jezebel launched an anti-crusade to wipe out God’s prophets. He challenged the prophets of Baal to a contest on Mt. Carmel to see whose god would consume a sacrifice with fire from Heaven. After winning that contest (surprise!), Elijah had all the false prophets killed. He led the people to re-commit themselves to the true God.
Then he went and prayed that, seeing their repentance, God would send rain. Elijah’s prayer…

The Transfiguration teaches us detachment

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Last week’s Gospel was about the Transfiguration of Jesus. As you recall, Jesus took Peter, James, and John up Mt. Tabor. Moses and Elijah appeared and spoke with Him about His coming Passion. Hearing the Gospel, I was struck by what it teaches us about detachment in the spiritual life.

Moses represents the Law. Elijah represents the Prophets. The Law and the Prophets together form the basis of the Old Testament.

From the good to the perfect When Peter saw Moses and Elijah, he said, “Lord, it is good for us to be here.” He suggested building booths or tents in which the three religious figures could stay. No doubt he wanted to speak with Moses and Elijah and hear their wisdom in person.

But this was not God’s plan. God the Father spoke to the Apostles from the cloud. Then they looked up and saw Jesus standing before them alone.

Continue reading at Contemplative Homeschool.

Finding patterns in the Bible

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Last week for homeschool we did a narration of the Transfiguration. While reading the story aloud, I had an epiphany: it echoes the story of Moses receiving the 10 Commandments. I shared the parallel between the two stories with my boys. Now I’d like to share it–and the principle behind it–with you.

As a writer and avid reader, I am convinced of the inspiration of Sacred Scripture. (Besides, of course, being convinced as a Christian by the authority of the Church.) Dozens of writers over thousands of years produced the book we now call the Bible. They were from different cultures, used different literary genres, and had diverse purposes.

Amazingly, the same themes are developed throughout the Bible from beginning to end. Types and anti-types, prophecies and their fulfillment, fill its pages. You can follow one idea like a wave on the sea from Genesis to Revelation, or stand on the shore and admire the rhythm of the ocean that is the entire Bible.
I love to share these pa…

To hear God, be silent

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Remember when God spoke to Elijah on Mt. Horeb?  There was a mighty wind, an earthquake, and a fire, but it was not until Elijah heard a gentle whisper or “a still, small voice” that he knew God was present (see 1 Kings 19:11-13). God wants to be present to you and me too. He desires to commune with us in a gentle whisper. In order to “hear” Him—to be open to receive Him—we must be silent.

Blessed Mother Teresa said, “We need to find God, and He cannot be found in noise and restlessness. God is the friend of silence. See how nature —trees, flowers, grass—grows in silence; see the stars, the moon and the sun, how they move in silence… We need silence to be able to touch souls.”

Our modern world is full of noise and activity. With four young boys at home, silence is a rare blessing for me. Still, there are many ways I can cultivate silence both during and away from my prayer time. Except for on long trips, I do not turn on the radio or CDs in the car. At home we never use …