The Least Among All Others

According to the monastic rules, all the acts and behaviors of a monk should be characterized by lowliness and humbleness with regards to his brothers. Father Charbel complied strictly with such rules and on many occasions he was misunderstood by the unreligious world and his brothers the monks as well. People underestimated him for his poor clothing and his general appearance, others laughed at his naïveté and made fun of his excessive acts of penance. Some of them have put water in his lamp, some others talked to him severely and harshly which made father Charbel on one occasion, despite his extreme patience and quietness, say to hermit Makarios:” Even if I were stupid, be patient with me, bear me for the sake of Christ.”

The hermitage of Saint Peter and Paul in Annaya and the surrounding lands
where Saint Charbel lived and worked for 29 years.

Charbel was the exemplary Christian with his humbleness, doing his best to conceal his righteous acts, he was disturbed when people complimented him. He avoided gatherings with people and even with monks and he liked being alone in silence to pray and meditate. He was a human being only in his physical appearance, as he was already living in heaven.

If anybody criticized him about any matter, even if not guilty, he knelt down immediately with his hands folded asking for forgiveness, with his head inclined; He never got up again unless ordered to do so, as if he was still a novice.

He was known for his meekness and was like a sheep, some of his brothers named him: meekness. He never spoke about himself, he accepted extreme humility in everything and was never ashamed of his poor dressing, or his modest food or miserable room or anything that human pride despised.

Saint Charbel never asked for a better job than others, he always required the less fortunate task for himself and the lowest position in everything. He often mentioned to his brothers:”I am the least of my brothers and I do not deserve to be among them.” He always considered himself to be the less important of the monks, he was a servant for all. He reached a point of denial of his own life and existence, and picked up tasks that were not meant for monks like dish washing and sweeping, and did it with joy, “for it is the one who is least among you all who is the greatest.” (Matthew 9:48)”

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