Love for Life Did Not Deter Them from Death

When they had crossed over, Elijah said to Elisha,
“Ask for whatever I may do for you, before I am taken from you.”
Elisha answered, “May I receive a double portion of your spirit.”
“You have asked something that is not easy,” Elijah replied.
“Still, if you see me taken up from you,
your wish will be granted; otherwise not.”
As they walked on conversing,
a flaming chariot and flaming horses came between them,
and Elijah went up to heaven in a whirlwind.
When Elisha saw it happen he cried out,
“My father! my father! Israel’s chariots and drivers!”
But when he could no longer see him,
Elisha gripped his own garment and tore it in two.Then he picked up Elijah’s mantle that had fallen from him,
and went back and stood at the bank of the Jordan.
2 Kings 2:9-13

Elisha’s request for a “double portion” of Elijah’s spirit is an incredibly brave one. How many times have we met a holy person and thought, I want to be like them… someday. In our slothfulness we can somehow anticipate how much we will have to give up, how much self effacing we will have to do, to achieve that level of holiness. Recently when I spoke with a priest about my desire to avoid prayer and talking to God on some days, he asked me simply, “What are you afraid of?” And I suppose the answer is death, the death to self that will come when we make room for Christ to live in us. Are we brave enough to pray the prayer of Elisha? Can we ask for holiness at this moment?


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