We are now at 1Kings 17:17-24. A shadow falls for the widow when her son becomes ill and dies. For the widow, her son's death was taken as a direct and personal punishment from God. She looked upon Elijah as a possible reason for her son’s death. Elijah, not for an instant, allowed his own emotions to counteract her false accusations. With great heroism, he reached out his arms to the woman and took the dead body into his own embrace. This was not only generous but it was also brave, because in those days, it was considered a most heinous sin for a man of God even to touch a corpse. It was different for one’s own immediate kin but the Law of Moses forbade any priest from defiling himself with the dead (Lev. 21:1-4)
Elijah’s gesture was a message to this woman that he had taken to his own heart her son as his own. It was bearing the burden of another. It was the identical action Christ took when he came among us to bear our burdens. Calmly, Elijah carried the lad up to his own sleeping pallet and prayed alone with God. ”Oh God, he moaned, “let this lad’s life, your very life, life from above, come into this body again!” It was a profound prayer arising from the innermost spirit of a man right with God and right with others. This is what is meant by the prayer of a righteous man. It takes a person with a cleansed conscience and an unclouded view of God, who comes to him boldly and unafraid, asking for great favors (Heb 10:10-22)
God’s response to Elijah was positive and prompt. The lad was restored! He did come alive again and he was revived.
When Elijah first met the widow outside the village gates gathering sticks for her last meal, she was sure she and her son had reached the end of the road. It took the touch of Elijah’s life and the intervention of Elijah’s God to show her that she was mistaken.
When Elijah took the limp, cold corpse of her son from her, she was again sure this was the end. Once more it was the man of God whose presence and power proved her wrong. As Elijah placed the restored boy in her arms he remarked quietly, calmly, “See your son is alive!”
The widow’s response to her son’s restoration is one of the most moving and eloquent responses ever given to another person. As she pressed her boy’s warm cheek to her own tear-stained face, she declared emphatically – “Elijah, now I know you are a man of God, and that what you say is truth.”
Lesson for us to learn:
We think it takes more than it does to have our prayers answered. It takes a pure and humble heart. It does not take numbers to have God’s attention. A single humble and pure heart that has a true trust in the power of the Almighty God is all it takes.
Bernadette Porter is a Traditional Catholic, a wife of 41 years with 6 adult home-schooled children and 6 grandchildren. A sincere devotion to Mary, the Mother of God leads me to want to share "The Church's best kept secret" - Mary!