Holy, Glorious Prophet Elijah
Commemorated on July 20
St. Seraphim of Sarov
Elijah the Tishbite, in complaining to the Lord against Israel that in its entirety it had bent the knee to Baal, said in prayer that he alone, Elijah, had remained faithful to the Lord, but they were already seeking to take away his soul also… And what, Batisuhka, did the Lord answer him? — I have left seven thousand men in Israel who have not bent the knee to Baal (1 Kgs. 19:18). And so, if in the kingdom of Israel, which had fallen away from the kingdom of Judea which was faithful to God and had become completely corrupted, there remained still seven thousand men faithful to the Lord, then what shall we say of Russia? I suppose that in the kingdom of Israel at that time there were no more than three million people. And how many, Batiushka, are there now in our Russia?
“Twenty times more. Then judge for yourself how many we have now who are still faithful to God! So it is, Batiushka, so it is: ‘Whom He did foreknow, He also did forechoose, and whom He did forechoose, He also did predestinate; and whom He did predestinate, He will watch over and glorify. And so, what is there for us to be downcast about!… God is with us! (cf. Rom. 8:29-31). He that trusteth in the Lord shall be as Mount Zion… and the Lord is round about His people (Ps. 124:1-2). The Lord shall preserve thy going out and thy coming in from this time forth even forevermore; …the sun shall not smite thee by day nor the moon by night (Ps. 120:6-8).
And then I asked him what this means, and why he was saying this to me.
“Because,” Batiushka Seraphim replied, “in this same way the Lord will preserve, as the apple of His eye, His people, that is, Orthodox Christians who love Him and serve Him with all their heart and all their mind, both in word and deed, day and night. And such are they who preserve entirely all the rules, dogmas, and traditions of our Eastern Orthodox Church, and who with their lips confess the piety which has been handed down by the Church, and who act in very deed in all circumstances of life according to the holy commandments of our Lord Jesus Christ.”
(Little Russian Philokalia, pp. 118-119. “Concerning the Fate of True Christians”, written down by Motovilov on the night of October 26-27, 1844)
The world is on fire! Do you understand? There is so much temptation. The devil has started such a blaze that all the fire-fighters in the world will not be able to put it out: it is a spiritual fire! There’s nothing left. And there’s no other help for us: only prayer can save us now. We must pray to God to take pity on us. You see, when a fire spreads and the fire-fighters can do nothing about it, people are forced to turn to God and pray for Him to send a heavy rain. It’s the same with the spiritual fire started by the devil: we must all pray to God for Him to help us. – St. Paisios of the Holy Mountain
Troparion Prophet Elijah – Tone 4
An angel in the flesh and the cornerstone of the prophets,
the second forerunner of the coming of Christ,
Glorious Elijah sent grace from on high to Elisha,
to dispel diseases and to cleanse lepers.
Therefore, he pours forth healings on those who honor him.
Holy, Glorious Prophet Elijah, pray to God for us! Pray that we can learn to live out our Christian vocation in all times and places, and in all circumstances. May God richly bless those who suffer for their faith, and persevere unto the end.