“Elijah came upon Elisha and threw his cloak over him. Immediately Elisha left the oxen and ran after Elijah as his attendant” (cf. 1 Kings 19:19-21).
The Old Testament prophet Elisha, whose name in Hebrew means “My God is Salvation,” was the son of Shaphat. Before Elijah was taken up in a fiery chariot and into the whirlwind, Elisha asked to “inherit a double-portion” of Elijah’s spirit. This wish seems to have been granted as we read in 1 and 2 Kings that Elisha performed twice as many miracles as Elijah. Among the many signs he performed, he cured Naaman of leprosy and raised a dead child to life. He lived among the sons of the prophets and in God’s name he frequently intervened in the affairs of the Israelites.
Mindful of its origins on Mount Carmel, the Carmelite Order desired to perpetuate the memory of the great prophets’ presence and deeds through the liturgical celebration of Saints Elijah and Elisha. Thus, the Order’s General Chapter of 1399 decreed the celebration of the feast of St Elisha. Through his fidelity to the one true God and by his service of God’s people, St. Elisha effectively illustrates the meaning of the prophetic office in our day.