I Was Hungry and You Gave Me Food

From Estephan the Monk.

Brother Estephan, the Gospel lover, understood pretty well that Christian love does not ask for a reward or for a price to be given in full. That is why all his life was full of love, care and tenderness especially for the less fortunate and the poor. He always gave his food to the poor and was a loving person to everyone. He never offended nor embarrassed anyone with any single word, and he was loved by all the laborers who worked with him and he always gave them advices and guidance. He had an easy going character with the laborers, he was loving and merciful to them, never forced them to hardship, always rushed to help them when they failed to accomplish their job, and always helped them and supported them without being rude to any worker, he never hurt anyone of them that is why they liked him a lot. He was very close to his laborers but always kept the appropriate distance with them. 

Brother Estephan was extremely nice with everybody and people felt a great contentment when dealing with him, he never offended anyone in his life. He had a great sense of hospitality and was tender, humble, loving and close to one’s heart. His Brothers often testified about the sympathy he showed for them and for their problems, and his carefulness about their interests. He often said to the workers Brothers at the Maronite Order:”The priests monks serve Jesus with love after having received a high level of education, as for us workers Brothers, we serve God with our love and monastic devotion and this is what is important".

Monastery of Our Lady of Mayfouq

Upon the First World War, a great famine took place in Lebanon, which caused the death of one third of the population. The Monastery of Mayfouq then reduced the allowed bread consumption for the monks in those dark days. Brother Estephan used to eat only one loaf of bread during the whole day and gave his remaining share to the poor and hungry. Once while he was carrying some food to a starving family, he found the little infant breastfeeding from his dead mother. Estephan was deeply moved by the scene, he carried the baby and took him to the field and took care of him along with other miserable children and fed him milk from the cow. He kept them under his protection until the end of the war.

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