The Prophet Elijah

The Prophet Elijah is an important symbolic figure for Carmelites. He encountered God in mystery and silence on the mountain, and in the presence of holiness, he covered his face. Elijah defended the Lord against the prophets of Baal with great courage and humour. His journey led him through deserts and to the ascent of mountains. Above all, Elijah was wholehearted in his service of God. His words ‘with zeal I have been zealous for the Lord God of Hosts’ are the Carmelite motto.

Carmelites honour Elijah as a saint. The following prayer is from the Discalced Carmelite Proper for his feast:

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 Christ our Lord.


Go out and stand on the mountain before the Lord, for the Lord is about to pass by.’ Now there was a great wind, so strong that it was splitting mountains and breaking rocks in pieces before the Lord, but the Lord was not in the wind; and after the wind an earthquake, but the Lord was not in the earthquake; and after the earthquake a fire, but the Lord was not in the fire; and after the fire a sound of sheer silence. When Elijah heard it, he wrapped his face in his mantle and went out and stood at the entrance of the cave. Then there came a voice to him that said, ‘What are you doing here, Elijah?’ He answered, ‘I have been very zealous for the Lord, the God of hosts’
1 Kings 19. 11-14a