St Sharbel Makhluf - 24th July
Charbel Makhloof, the Lebanese hermit monk, will be canonized on October 9, 1977. As a beacon of light shining through a storm, this humble man's life openly proclaims to our world that Christ is true King and that His Kingdom is not of this world (Jn. 18:36).
The many miracles performed through Charbel manifest to us how pleased God is with the witness-of silence and prayer in the life of His servant. Among miracles is the incorrupt state of his body, which bled and perspired for sixty-five years after his death. These marvels manifest how the words of St. Paul are still true for our time, "It was to shame the wise that God chose what is foolish by human reckoning, those whom the world thinks common and contemptible are the ones that God has chosen--those who are nothing at all to show up those who are everything. " (I Cor. 1:27-28).
God performed these marvels of signs of life and healing to show us where true wisdom lies, the wisdom of the One who is the beginning and the end of the world, the Ancient of Days, the Provider who said, "Let your hearts be on his kingdom first, and on his righteousness, and all these other things will be given you as well." (Mt. 6:33) He is the One who was yesterday, is today and will be tomorrow.
I have tried in the following pages to give the reader an idea about the hermitic way of life throughout the centuries and how these men and women have a special place in Christ's Mystical Body, the Church, and in the human society upon which they call the graces of God. These "athletes of the spiritual life" witness to the thirst for God found in every human soul.
I hope this booklet will in some way prepare all of us for the forthcoming canonization of St. Charbel. A deeper understanding of the hermitic life will enable us to see it as a traditional, yet living witness to Christ in the Church.
My goals are modest. I do not expect a great number of people to migrate to the wilderness in search of God. I do hope that these pages will inspire some to spend some quiet moments alone with God, reflecting upon their relationship with Him. "Come away to some lonely place all by yourselves and rest for awhile."(Mk. 6:31).
PRAYER TO SAINT CHARBEL MAKHLOUF
Lord, infinitely Holy and Glorified in Your Saints,
You have inspired Charbel, the saint monk,
to lead the perfect life of a hermit.
We thank You for granting him the blessing
and the strength to detach himself from the world
so that the heroism of the monastic virtues of poverty,
obedience, and chastity,
could triumph in his hermitage.
We beseech You to grant us the grace of loving and serving You,
following his example.
Almighty God, Who has manifested
the power of St. Charbel's intercession
through his countless miracles and favours,
(State your intention(s) here...)
through his intercession.