14 June: St. Elisha, prophet

Today is the commemoration of St. Elisha, prophet, called also Eliseus.  This was the disciple of Elijah (1 Kings 19:1-21).  When Elijah was about to be taken up to heaven in the firey chariot, Elisha asked for a double portion of his spirit.  So great was God’s power to work miracles in him that even the touch of his corpse could heal (cf. Ecclesiasticus, 48, 152; Kings 13:20-21). 

Maybe some of you would like to take a shot at his entry in the Martyrologium Romanum:

 

Die 14 Junii
Decimo octavo Kalendas iulii.

1. Samariae seu Sebaste in Palestina, commemoratio sancti Elisei, qui, discipulus Eliae, propheta fuit in Israel tempore regis Ioram usque ad dies Ioas; etsi oracula non reliquit, tamen, miracula pro advenis patrando, salutem nuntiavit omnibus hominibus adfuturam.

Carmelites make much of St. Elisha, I suppose because of his connection to Elijah.  They have celebrated his feast since 1399.  I found this prayer online, though I don’t have the Latin original to compare it with (from Carmelite Proper of the Liturgy of the Hours,” Institutum Carmelitanum, Rome: 1993).  Perhaps one of you out there have the Latin version and will post it.

O God,
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.

One of the things I think about right away when Elisha is mentioned is the older form of blessing Holy Water.  You might know that exorcized and blessed salt was used in the rite for blessing water.  The salt was personally addressed as a creature of God and then exorcized.

Exorcizo te, creatura salis, per Deum + vivum, per Deum + verum, per Deum + sanctum, per Deum, qui te per Eliseum Prophetam in aquam mitti jussit, ut sanaretur sterilitas aquae; ut efficiaris sal exorcizatum in salutem credentium; et sis omnibus sumentibus te sanitas animae et corporis; et effugiat, atque discedat a loco, in quo aspersum fueris, omnis phantasia et nequitia vel versutia diabolicae fraudis, omnisque spiritus immundus, adjuratus per eum qui venturus est judicare vivos et mortuos, et saeculum per ignem.  R. Amen.

O you creature of salt, I purge you of all evil by the living + God, by the true + God, by the holy + God, who commanded by the Prophet Elisha that you be put into water in order that the sterility of the water would be healed: so that you might be rendered a puified salt for the salvation of believers, and so that you might be a healthiness of soul and body to all who consume you, and so that you may put to flight and drive out from a place in which you will have been scattered every phantom and wickedness, and cunning trap of diabolical deceit, and every unclean spirit be solemnly banished by command through Him Who shall come to judge the living and the dead, and the world by fire.  R. Amen.

 

Priests ought to pray this way all the time!  Instead, we have a wimpy version of prayers today that are vague and uninteresting.  The old Ritual is a mighty fine book!

Adjuro
is a great verb meaning basically in later Latin "to conjure or adjure, to beg or entreat earnestly".  In the writings of North African Fathers such as Tertullian, Cyprian, and Lactantius it comes to mean "oblige by speaking" and is applied to exorcizing demons and unclean spirits. 

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4 Responses to 14 June: St. Elisha, prophet

  1. Don Marco says:

    Yes indeed! The old ritual is marvelous. Some of you may be familiar with the Latin-English edition of the Roman Ritual (in several volumes) by Father Philip T. Weller. As a young lad, I had the joy of having Father Weller serve in my home parish for a year or two. A gentleman priest he was: learned, kind, devout, and dignified. His introductions and notes to the Ritual are well worth searching out the volumes themselves now, sadly, out of print.

    I wonder how many of us secretly (or not so secretly) still do use the old Ritual? To use a fine old monastic literary device: “I once knew a Father who did so with no qualms of conscience . . . .”

  2. Don Marco says:

    For anyone interested:

    June 14
    Mass of Saint Elisha, Prophet

    ENTRANCE ANTIPHON

    The spirit of Elijah rested on Elisha
    and the word of the Lord was with him (cf. 2 K 2:15; 3:12).

    COLLECT

    O God, protector and redeemer of your people,
    whose glories have been proclaimed
    through the wonders accomplished by your chosen prophets,
    and who have bestowed the spirit of Elijah
    on your prophet Elisha;
    in your kindness, grant us too, we beseech you,
    an increase of the gifts of the Holy Spirit
    so that, living as prophets,
    we will bear constant witness
    to your abiding presence and your providence.
    Through our Lord Jesus Christ, your Son,
    who lives and reigns with you in the unity of the Holy Spirit,
    God, forever and ever.

    GENERAL INTERCESSIONS

    That as Catholics the world over
    begin preparations for the solemnity of Corpus Christi,
    the Church may be renewed in reverence and in thanksgiving
    for the adorable mysteries of Christ’s Body and Blood,
    to the Lord we pray: Christ, hear us.
    R. CHRIST, GRACIOUSLY HEAR US.

    That civil authorities
    may respect the right of Christians
    to worship in tranquility
    and to express their faith freely,
    to the Lord we pray: Christ, hear us.
    R. CHRIST, GRACIOUSLY HEAR US.

    That the sick may lift their eyes
    to the Eucharistic Face of Christ
    who comes to them in Holy Communion;
    and that those in need of comfort and healing
    may find it in the Sacrament of the Altar,
    to the Lord we pray: Christ, hear us.
    R. CHRIST, GRACIOUSLY HEAR US.

    That it may be given us,
    through the intercession of Saints Elijah and Elisha,
    to seek purity of heart
    and to open ourselves to the Fire from heaven
    that descends in every Eucharist,
    to the Lord we pray: Christ, hear us.
    R. CHRIST, GRACIOUSLY HEAR US.

    COLLECT AT THE GENERAL INTERCESSIONS

    Almighty and merciful God,
    who gather your people
    around this altar
    where the sacrifice of Christ,
    true priest and true Saving Victim is made present;
    grant that strengthened by the mysteries of His Body and Blood,
    they may drink of the life-giving water of the Spirit
    that ever flows from Christ the spiritual rock,
    and so become for you a holy oblation
    and a living altar consecrated for worship in spirit and in truth.
    Through the same Christ our Lord.

    PRAYER OVER THE OFFERINGS

    O God who in ancient sacrifices
    foreshadowed these present gifts,
    graciously grant that,
    through this sacred exchange
    which we perform in honour of your prophet Elisha,
    we too may become an everlasting gift to you.
    Through Christ our Lord.

    PREFACE

    Truly it is right and just, our duty and our salvation,
    always and everywhere to give you thanks,
    Lord, holy Father, almighty and eternal God,
    through Christ our Lord.

    You raised up the prophets to proclaim you
    the true and living God,
    and to teach your people
    to hope for salvation.

    To Elijah the Tishbite
    you showed your special friendship,
    and made his burning zeal for your glory
    a witness to your power and mercy.

    You gave him, who walked in your presence
    the joy of beholding at Christ’s transfiguration
    your Son in all his splendour.

    In our unending joy
    we echo on earth the song of the angels in heaven,
    as they praise your glory forever:

    COMMUNION ANTIPHON

    The man of God placed loaves
    made from the first fruits before them;
    they ate and there was some left over,
    just as the Lord had said (2 K 4:44).

    PRAYER AFTER COMMUNION

    O God, who in the marvelous deeds of your prophet Elisha
    have wondrously prefigured the Bread of Life,
    grant us, we beseech you,
    that strengthened by this food
    we may ever fulfill our prophetic office.
    Through Christ our Lord.

  3. Don Marco: This is simply wonderful. Is it all translated from the Latin in the 2002 Missale Romanuum? In particular, where does the “Collect at the General Intercessions” come from?

    Henry

  4. Don Marco says:

    The texts are from the Carmelite Propers except for the Intercessions and the “Collect at the General Intercessions” which I composed. Cheers!