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How the bread of angels saved Elijah’s life


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Philip Kosloski - published on 08/08/21

When Elijah was downcast and depressed, God sent to him heavenly bread.

Elijah was exhausted from being God’s prophet, and at a certain point in his ministry, he broke.

 Enough, Lord! Take my life,
for I am no better than my ancestors.

1 Kgs 19:4

He was downcast and depressed from the difficulties of being a prophet. Elijah’s life was threatened and was now a fugitive in hiding. He wanted it all to stop.

Saddened by his situation, Elijah slept.

He was then suddenly awakened by an angel sent by God.

“Get up and eat!” He looked and there at his head was a hearth cake and a jug of water. After he ate and drank, he lay down again, but the angel of the Lord came back a second time, touched him, and said, “Get up and eat or the journey will be too much for you!” He got up, ate, and drank; then strengthened by that food, he walked forty days and forty nights to the mountain of God, Horeb.

1 Kgs 19:5-8

His body and soul was renewed by the bread of angels, giving him the strength he needed to continue.

Foreshadowing of the Eucharist

This episode in the Old Testament has been seen by many saints as a foreshadowing of the Eucharist, the body, blood, soul and divinity of Jesus Christ.

St. John Paul II reflects on this episode of the Bible in his encyclical Ecclesia de Eucharistia and how the Eucharist gives us strength when we need it most.

The path itself is long and strewn with obstacles greater than our human resources alone can overcome, yet we have the Eucharist, and in its presence we can hear in the depths of our hearts, as if they were addressed to us, the same words heard by the Prophet Elijah: “Arise and eat, else the journey will be too great for you” (1 Kg 19:7).

The Eucharist is our “food for the journey,” that “bread of angels” that we need.

In the humble signs of bread and wine, changed into his body and blood, Christ walks beside us as our strength and our food for the journey, and he enables us to become, for everyone, witnesses of hope. 

The bread God sent to Elijah saved his life.

In a similar way, the Eucharist, the true bread from heaven, can save us from despair and give strength to our weary bodies and souls.

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