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Monasterio de La Encarnación: The Prophet Elijah

The Prophet Elijah

Two great figures in the Bible have inspired Carmelites through their 800 year history: Elijah, the fiery prophet of Carmel, and the Virgin Mother of God. As its name indicates, the Order of Carmelites took its origin in Palestine on the mountain famous from the Old Testament for the sacrifice of Elijah and for the grotto where the Prophet retired when he had accomplished his missions near Israel: "From there he went to Mount Carmel" (2 Kings 2:25). So, according to Carmelite writings, from the times of the holy Prophets, Elijah and Elisha, devout hermits lived continuously on Mount Carmel, sought this holy mountain and loved its solitude in order to give their minds over to the contemplation of heavenly things. Inspired by the words of the Prophet Elijah, "The Lord lives, in whose sight I stand," the Institutio attaches special importance to the practice of the presence of God. This practice is a very efficacious means of living with God and meditating on his law "day and night,' as the rule prescribes. 16 July is the feast of Our Lady of Mount Carmel, and this statue of Elijah dressed in the Carmelite habit is in the church of the Incarnation, where St Teresa of Ávila began her life as a Carmelite nun, in the city of her birth.

Credit: Lawrence OP / Flickr