The Prophet Elijah and the Holy Spirit

1 Kigs 19:9a,11-16

At that time, Elijah came to a cave, and lodged there. And the Lord said to him, “Go forth, and stand upon the mount before the Lord.” And behold, the Lord passed by, and a great and strong wind rent the mountains, and broke in pieces the rocks before the Lord, but the Lord was not in the wind; and after the wind an earthquake, but the Lord was not in the earthquake; and after the earthquake a fire, but the Lord was not in the fire; and after the fire a still small voice. And when Elijah heard it, he wrapped his face in his mantle and went out and stood at the entrance of the cave.

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“Yet you are merciful to all, because you are almighty, you overlook people’s sins, so that they can repent” (Wis 11:23).

These words of Sacred Scripture reveal to us why our Father often waits so long for humans to convert, while we would have long since lost patience and invoked judgment upon them. The disciples also had to learn this lesson, when they wanted to bring down fire from heaven on a village that did not welcome Jesus (Lk 9:51-56).

We can only understand – at least a little – the immeasurable love and long-suffering of our Father towards the sinner when this same love has begun to transform our hearts in conformity with His own. Without in the least relativizing sin or trivializing its ugliness, He goes out in search of the sinner and always offers them the possibility of conversion. That is why He waits… The Father does not want His children to be lost; He wants them to be with Him for all eternity. This is the reason for His tireless waiting!

During the time of waiting, He calls us unceasingly until the last hour. This patience of God should by no means be a reason for people to live frivolously and lightly, because the point may also come when it is too late to convert.

Rather, God’s long-suffering is the great hope for humankind; and for us, who want to obey our Father, it is a deep consolation together with the firm confidence that even those who are far from God can still be saved.

In tomorrow’s meditation, I would like to illustrate with a passage from the Message to Sr. Eugenia this patience of God for us, how He overlooks our sins and continues to wait for us with love even though we turn away from Him. It is a story that the Father Himself tells about a man who, having lived far from God, finds himself at death’s door… There is no need to comment on it, for the story speaks for itself!