December 19, 2010

A Homily on the Faith and Zeal of Elijah the Prophet

By St. Nikolai Velimirovich

"As the Lord God of Israel liveth, before whom I stand, there shall not be dew nor rain these years but according to my word" (I Kings 17:1).

These words are terrible sounding to every mortal ear, for a man spoke them, a man subject to like passions as we are (James 5:17). You ask yourselves, brethren, how can a mortal man shut up the heavens and stop the rain? But ask yourselves: how can a mortal man open the heavens and bring down rain upon the parched ground?

We know that even now God opens the heavens and gives rain at the prayers of men: "And all things, whatsoever ye shall ask in prayer, believing, ye shall receive" (Matthew 21:22), says our Savior. As Moses, by living faith and prayer, worked awesome miracles in Egypt and in the wilderness, as Joshua the son of Nun held back the course of the sun, so also God's prophet Elias shut and opened the heavens, brought down fire from heaven, and worked other mighty and awesome miracles all through faith and prayer.

God gave Elias the power to work such miracles, for Elias was zealous for the glory of God and not for his own glory: "I have been very jealous for the Lord God of hosts" (I Kings 19:14). This man of God sought nothing for himself but sought everything for God. God was everything to him: all glory, all strength, all good. Therefore, God crowned him with immortal glory, awesome might, and treasure which does not decay and which moths do not corrupt.

God did not permit Elias to die but took him to heaven as he did Enoch. St. Elias had a soul as pure as the morning dew, a body as chaste as a child's, and a heart and mind as blameless as that of an angel of God. Therefore, he was and remains a vessel of God's power. He worked wonders then and works them today.

O Living Lord, the God of Thy Prophet Elias, Who hast adopted us through baptism by Thy holy grace: enkindle also in us the faith and zeal of Thy holy prophet. To Thee be glory and praise forever. Amen.