Poverty Turning Into Richness

From A Life of hardship.

During his monastic life, Father Charbel intended never to touch with his hands any money, silver or gold coins. He always used the most degraded things and never threw any item whether little or big, not even a green leaf. When he used to see a grape under the vine, or a piece of bread on his way, he used to pick it up and take it to the kitchen. He was very poor like a beggar, and no other monk ever accepted to have his food, his bed or his clothes.

Statue of Saint Charbel outside the Monastery Of Saint Maron Annaya

But his poverty and distressed look was only from the outside, as he was full of graces and virtues. He was even depriving himself of his family, he never went to visit them in his whole life, never talked about them or mentioned them. His brother used to visit him once every year or two, he used to meet with him for a little while after getting the permission from his superior. He had totally renounced his own will and had practically no choice in anything whatsoever, surpassing by far the monastic laws of strict obedience. Even though he was very clever, he never showed it, not in his speeches nor in his writings. He never said in his whole life any word like: this belongs to me, or this is our property.

He used to work with all his physical power, complete any task that he was asked to do. He always prayed very fervently at church, only stopped when ordered to leave for a new job, following the monastic orders instantly without any hesitation. He had a great integrity, his heart was not attached to anything in this life, as if he was not living on earth. He did not belong to this world, and his wealth was God's presence in his heart.

According to the monastic law, a monk should never waste his time, he should pray for the dead and for the needy whenever he could, and should never fall into joblessness to avoid temptation. Father Charbel observed meticulously the rules and had a great appreciation for time, whenever he was not at work he was praying or meditating and he never left any available chance without contributing to the common good of the monastery. He knew very well that his time on earth must be used to sanctify himself, so he was thriving all the time to store up for himself treasures in heaven, where moths and vermin do not destroy, and where thieves do not break in and steal.

Hawshab Nakad witnessed:” Father Charbel’s niece Wardeh had a silver headwear for women that was left for her after her mother’s death, she sold it for 300 piastres (around two Ottoman gold liras) and took the amount to her uncle Father Charbel to present it as an offertory. But Father Charbel refused to receive the money and said to his niece from inside his room without seeing her face:” give this money to the superior” she answered him:”I want to deliver it to you and I want you to celebrate the holy mass and pray for her soul”, then he told her:”I will take note of the amount in my book and will celebrate the holy mass but I do not take money, go and give it to the Superior, I do not want to see any money”. Then she did as he told her.

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