Bread from Ravens

Last Updated on June 1, 2023 by GMC

Elijah on Mount Horeb, as depicted in a Greek Orthodox icon

10th Week in Ordinary Time, Monday (Year II)

I Kings 17:1-6, Psalm 121, Matthew 5:1-12

Abandonment to Divine Providence

In a world of individuals where people scrape and fend for themselves to survive, the image of a ragged Elijah receiving bread from ravens seems unreal. Elijah, the archetypal monk or hermit who anticipated St. John the Baptist (Luke 1:17), inspired the Carmelite charism. Freed from self-care, Elijah focused all of his energy on God.

In the third century after Pentecost, a wave of Elijah and Baptist imitators swept across Egypt and Syria as men and women fled the cities to seek God alone in the desert. The clothing worn by the two prophets inspired their simple habits—sleeveless tunics, belts, and sandals—and signified their renunciation of the pomp and vanity of this world.

Like Elijah, the early Christian ascetics lived austerely, relying on Divine Providence for their daily needs. They earned just enough to sustain bare necessities that they may “pray without ceasing” (1 Thessalonians 5:17). “The Lord is your guardian; the Lord is your shade” (Psalm 121:5), they believed, receiving bread from the Father’s ravens. 

Lessons From the Desert

The prophets and ascetics in salvation history demonstrate with their own lives that the kingdom of heaven is not of this world but begins in the human heart. “Blessed are the pure in heart, for they shall see God” was the motto of the desert. In a world of measurable distances, corners, edges, and surfaces, we need not travel an inch to find the infinite space for the divine within the heart, the dwelling place of the Trinity.

In the blissful state of heavenly communion—when “all mine are thine, and thine are mine” (John 17:10)—all persons will be freed from self-care, rejoicing in the glory of the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. We can begin today by trusting in the Lord to provide for our needs and those of the world.

One Reply to “Bread from Ravens”

  1. “We need not travel an inch to find the infinite space for the divine within the heart, the dwelling place of the Trinity.” Blessed Assurance!

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