Saint of the Day – 14 June – Saint Elisha the Prophet “My God is salvation” (c 790 BC) was a a disciple and protégé of St Elijah and after Elijah was taken up in a chariot of fire, he gave Elisha a double portion of his power and he was accepted as the leader of the sons of the prophets. Elisha then went on to perform twice as many miracles as Elijah. Patronage – Prophets. St Elisha is commemorated in the calendar of saints of the Carmelite Order following a decree of the Carmelite General Chapter of 1399.
Elijah set out and came upon Elisha, son of Shaphat, as he was ploughing with twelve yoke of oxen, he was following the twelfth. Elijah went over to him and threw his cloak on him. ―1 Kings 19:19
Elisha was a prophet in the northern kingdom of Israel. His moment of calling was rather mystical – Elisha was ploughing a field with twelve yoke of oxen when his predecessor, Elijah, came along and placed his mantle over Elisha’s shoulders―a symbol of a call to share in prophetic work. Elisha requested time to say farewell to his parents and then slew the oxen, gave the meat to the people and joined Elijah.
Elisha, whose name in Hebrew means “My God is Salvation,” was the son of Shaphat.
Before Elijah was taken up in a fiery chariot and into the whirlwind, Elisha asked to “inherit a double-portion” of Elijah’s spirit. He won the gratitude of the people of Jericho for healing it’s barren ground by adding salt to its waters.
When the armies of Judah, Israel and Edom, then allied against Mesa, the Moabite king, were being tortured by drought in the Idumæan desert, Elisha consented to intervene. His double prediction regarding relief from drought and victory over the Moabites was fulfilled on the following morning (2 Kgs 3:4-24).
To relieve the widow importuned by a hard creditor, Elisha so multiplied a little oil as to enable her, not only to pay her indebtedness but to provide for her family needs (2 Kgs 4:1-7).
To reward the rich lady of Shunam for her hospitality, he restored to life her son (2 Kgs 4:18-37).
To nourish the sons of the prophets pressed by famine, Elisha changed, into wholesome food, the pottage made from poisonous gourds (2 Kgs 4:38-41).
During the military incursions of Syria into Israel, Elisha cured Naaman the Syrian of his leprosy by simply sending him word that he was to bathe in the Jordan seven times. At first reluctant, Naaman obeyed the Prophet and after washed seven times in the Jordan, he was healed. Jesus referred to this when he said: “And there were many lepers in Israel in the time of Elisha the prophet and none of them was cleansed but Naaman the Syrian” (Luke 4:27).
Elisha’s life and activities are found in 1 and 2 Kings and he is commemorated on this date in the 2004 Roman Martyrology.
Julian the Apostate (361–363) gave orders to burn the relics of the prophets Elisha, Obadiah and John the Baptist, who were buried next to each other in Sebastia but they were rescued by the Christians and part of them were transferred to Alexandria. Today, the relics of Elisha are claimed to be among the possessions of the Coptic Orthodox Monastery of Saint Macarius the Great in Scetes, Egypt.
As Elisha’s desire was to “Make known the Divine Will of God” to the people of their times, we can benefit from that today. So many times in our lives we ask the simple question, “What is God’s Will for me?” By asking for the intercession of St Elisha, we can obtain the Grace to know more of the Divine Will God has for us, in our lives. Only by living in union with God, can we know in our hearts, we are doing what HE created us for. By asking St Elisha to help us to discern that, God’s Will can be made more clear to us.
protector and redeemer of the human family,
whose wonders have been proclaimed through the wonders accomplished by Your chosen prophets,
You have bestowed the spirit of Elijah on Your prophet Elisha.
In Your kindness grant us too
an increase in the gifts of the Holy Spirit
so that, living as prophets,
we will bear constant witness to Your abiding presence and providence.
We ask this through Christ our Lord, in the unity of the Holy Spirit, God for all eternity.
(from the Carmelite Mass)