Saturday, 19 July 2014

Thoughts from our Chaplain - With you and for you!

If the 20 July hadn’t fallen on a Sunday this year, we would have been celebrating the Solemnity of the prophet Elijah. All the same I like to write a few words about him.

He is one of the two main pillars of Carmelite Spirituality, the other one being Our Lady. It is interesting that at the moment in the Office of Reading we have the stories about his life, especially his struggles with King Ahab and his foreign wife, Jezebel. He introduced her religion, the worship of Baal. Elijah told him that because of this there would be a drought in the land. He reprimanded them very severely about killing their neighbour Naboth in order to take over his vineyard. And then of course there was the famous contest on Mount Carmel between himself and the 450 prophets of Baal and the 400 prophets of Asherah. Elijah won but had to flee for his life because Jezebel was determined to kill him. It is then that God reveals himself to him in the gentle breeze or the still small voice.

The Dutch Carmelite spiritual writer Kees Waaijman describes God and also Elijah as “wezer”, i.e. someone who is with the people and for the people.

This Sunday we are celebrating Fr Wilfrid’s Golden Jubilee of Priestly Ordination. We wish him many more happy years. In his case as with everyone of us might it especially be a case of being with and for God’s people.      

Fr Piet Wijngaard, O.Carm.

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