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Reading the Bible: Elijah on the Mountain of God

by Revd Dr Doru Costache

1 Kings (3 Kings in the LXX) 19:3-13 [the text in italics] Elijah was afraid and ran for his life. When he came to Beersheba in Judah, he left his servant there, while he himself went a day's journey into the desert. When afraid, no matter the reason, and running for your life, you cannot find help in others and even in your earthly self. Leave down your servant, this corrupted body, and allow your soul/inner self fly towards the Rock. Leave the servant aside and fly to the desert for one day. [a days journey = the distance one could cover by walking constantly during a day; I chose to use for one day having the impression of being suggested here a personal experience of the only not first day of creation.] The desert, where there is no place to hiding and no possibility of disguise, where you could clearly see yourself, alone, in front of God. And for just one day, understanding that there is none other (cf. Genesis 1:5, where day one is, not the first) He came to a broom tree, sat down under it and prayed that he might die. "I have had enough, Lord," he said. "Take my life; I am no better than my ancestors." Then he lay down under the tree and fell asleep. The Tree... So present from the beginning to the end of the Scripture (Genesis 2:814; Revelation 22:1-6)... In Buddhas vision too The Tree is the symbol of the revelation, with its shadow cast on you, like a darkened refraction of the enlightening
Parochial Life | july - august 2006 |

truth from above... There, under the Tree, is the best place in the world to express your fears, to shed your tears... There you could asleep/anesthetize your senses and your mind, preparing yourself, waiting for the answer (Genesis 2:21-25)... Is it not intriguing, how Elijah did not want to eat from the Tree? He was strong. He knew the truth was beyond the Tree itself. The Tree represented a symbol, the epiphany, incarnation of another reality

Why Elijah fell asleep again? For an angel cannot be the answer. It (no he, no she) just represents the presentiment of the answer

The angel of the Lord came back a second time and touched him and said, "Get up and eat, for the journey is too much for you." So he got up and ate and drank. Strengthened by that food, he travelled forty days and forty nights until he reached Horeb, the mountain of God. And Elijah was right. The angel cannot bring an answer, although it is to expect from it (no he, no she) All at once an angel touched him to tell you where to go for an anand said, "Get up and eat." He swer. looked around, and there by his After so frugal meal, and there is head was a cake of bread baked over hot coals, and a jar of water. no need for more actually (Matthew 4:4), he proceeded for He ate and drank and then lay his journey. down again. If you do not eat from below, food We are invited to learn from here from above will be served to you. that there is no real journey withTherefore do not worry, and con- out preparation: leave your servant down, go into the desert for one centrate on your quest. day, sleep under a tree, do not worship the angels, and eat. Only after all this you are ready to proceed for the toughest part of your experience There he went into a cave and spent the night. The cave is the symbol of preparing the rebirth (John 3:3-7). In the cave there is always night the inner face of the day He entered voluntarily his inner darkness (Genesis 1:2), renouncing his previous knowledge and virtue. Becoming a foetus in the womb of his mother a foetus may claim neither knowledge nor virtue. Elijah is the symbol of the
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conscious. The cave/womb could be the unconscious. And to some extent he was prepared for this adventure of conscious remaking (1 Kings 18:42). The cave, the womb, rebirth And the word of the Lord came to him: "What are you doing here, Elijah?" By entering the darkness, by only renouncing vanity you could hope hearing the inaudible. The Merciful One came again to Adam, asking the most basic question of all: are you aware of what you seek and are? (Genesis 3:9) He replied, "I have been very zealous for the Lord God Almighty. The Israelites have rejected your covenant, broken down your altars, and put your prophets to death with the sword. I am the only one left, and now they are trying to kill me too." Always like Adam (Genesis 3:10), Elijah was not yet fully aware (see also the expression of his distress: I have had enough). His answer was not responding the fundamental question uttered by God instead of him. Recalling St Silouan, even the saints can be wrong. Thus you should not despair when your answers will be inappropriate

tered the rocks before the Lord, but the Lord was not in the wind. After the wind there was an earthquake, but the Lord was not in the earthquake. After the earthquake came a fire, but the Lord was not in the fire. And after the fire came a gentle whisper. Powerful wind, earthquake, fire. All three are violent, and you know what they are... They represent the chaos you assumed personally when you chose to not hurt the others while working on yourself. But God is not to be found during the violent stages of your de-construction. He will be there, at the end of your painful journey, where/when you will struggle not anymore, where/ when you will serenely sit under a Tree, waiting for the revelation. Where/when you will cease to want anything more, understanding that what it is expected from you to be grateful for what already is. It (no he, no she) will come, caressing you gently, like the whisper of a soft wind When Elijah heard it, he pulled his cloak over his face and went out and stood at the mouth of the cave. Then a voice said to him, "What are you doing here, Elijah?" He knew now. He knew he was wrong, running for his life. He answered in a humble silent way

On Souls and Various Ways of Living

Revd Doru Costache
According to Palamas, although I do not remember the place, the radical difference between human (reasoning/conscious) soul and the animal soul consists in the quality of the former to be more than a function. The animal soul animates flesh; and there is no other reason to be outside this function The personal/human soul animates the flesh, but it also has a life of its own, a raison dtre which is not a mere function A human soul, as principle of personhood, implies to be aware of the dignity and call of the self, besides the function of taking care of the others Human persons are not like those flies whose main reason to be is to give birth, provide, and die after their offspring enters the same pointless circle At least, if choosing to live for others, it is humane to grow personally as a result of such a choice

The Lord said, "Go out and stand [see also this http://revdcostache. on the mountain in the presence of] the Lord, for the Lord is about to pass by." You willingly entered the cave and the darkness, but there is no knowledge/answer in your own humility. You accomplished your task, becoming humble and forgetting about your vain knowledge. You are now ready to receive the wisdom from above: God is neither knowledge nor knowledgeable. God is presence, life, alive, somebody to be partaken Then a great and powerful wind tore the mountains apart and shat-

editor: Rev. Doru Costache, PhD layout design: Ion Nedelcu address: 64 Linthorn Ave, Croydon Park, NSW 2133. phone: (02) 9642 02 60

Parochial Life | july - august 2006 |