A First Sign!

In 1865, a wave of locust, a nasty species of grasshoppers particularly destructive to vegetation, invaded the Batroun area, and the Government was unable to counter this plague. The monks of the Maronite Order were also trying hard to clean their fields without any success. Then the Superior of the monastery of Saint Maron in Annaya, Father Roukoz Al Meshmeshani ordered father Charbel to pray on water and to spray it over the lands of the monastery in order to avoid the complete stripping of the vegetations. So Father Charbel did as he was instructed to and he walked in the fields spraying water and talking to the grasshoppers, and all the vegetation belonging to the monastery survived devastation.

Monastery Of Saint Maron Annaya

In July 1869, during father Roukoz Al Meshmeshani’s mandate, Charbel was working in the field like a modest servant. On one evening he was watching over the goats belonging to the monastery and it was harvest time, and the monastery had asked for help from a few harvesters. After the monks had finished their meal, the harvesters stayed for dinner, and they were around 30 men. As food was being served, Charbel came to the “Kararji” (the monk responsible for the provisions in the monastery) and asked him for some oil for his lamp. The Kararji yelled at him as he was busy with the dinner, and asked him:”why didn’t you come earlier during the day? as a punishment, there will be no oil for you tonight, Go”. So he obeyed and went back to his room.

The servants had placed a bench transversely to bar the way for him, so he stumbled and fell on the floor but did not say any word or complained. Then one of the servants in the monastery at that time: Saba who was 13 years old came to him and took his lamp to fill it with oil, but in fact he filled it with water. Father Charbel took his lamp to light it, and it lit. The Superior had instructed during Charbel’s absence not to light any room after the evening bell, so he woke up on that night and saw the light and went out of his room to see where it came from, and it was from father Charbel’s room. So he asked him: “didn’t you hear the bell? Haven’t you vowed obedience?”. So Charbel knelt down and asked for his forgiveness saying:” I came back from the field and I still have one prayer, I didn’t know about this restriction”. The servant Saba was outside the room and he heard the conversation, so when the superior left Charbel’s room Saba confessed to him that he took the lamp but the Kararji wouldn’t give him oil, so he filled it with water from the outside jar. The Superior went back and dismounted the lamp and emptied some liquid in a cup and realized that it was water. At that moment he couldn’t hide his emotions and the news quickly spread in the monastery.

Charbel had expressed to his Superior on several occasions, his wishes to become a hermit, but Superiors usually do not allow seclusions in the hermit easily. But after the incident of the lamp, on the next morning, the Superior called Charbel and told him that he had no objection if he wanted to become a hermit. Charbel answered:”There is a big difference between my will and your orders, for I have made vows and I can’t act according to my wishes, so if you give me an order I will obey and go”. Then the Superior said: “Go”. So Charbel knelt down in front of him and asked for his blessing, The Superior prayed over him and gave him his blessing. Then he stood up thanking him and hurried to pick up his prayer books, his mattress and blanket, wrapped it all with a cord and put it over his back. He passed by the church and visited the Holy Eucharist and left for the hermitage.

By this, the hermit, father Alishaa Al Hardini’s request was fulfilled and Charbel joined the hermitage. Father Charbel used to serve him and bring him his necessities from the monastery like food and beverage and serve the holy mass for him. He kept on doing this for six years.

No comments:

Post a Comment