Quiet and Obedient

Father Charbel was a stranger to the ‘Jbeil’ neighborhood as he was the only monk from the area of ‘Al Jebbe’ in northern Lebanon. He showed an amazing obedience to everyone at the monastery, religious or not, some of them gave him orders with disdain, others gave him orders to ridiculize him, and he never disobeyed any order. Nobody defended him except the Superior, who had a deep respect for father Charbel and who was very angry against anyone who caused him any pain or despised him. As for Father Charbel, he was always working, praying and very obedient, he never showed any sign of grief in spite of being mistreated. He was similar in his behavior to Saint Theresa saying: I want to vanish from the world and to be the last in everything for you, Jesus.

According to the monastic rules, a monk should be silent. That is why father Charbel talked very little, just to answer the one who addressed him. His voice was heard only when he was reading the Gospel, or during the sacrament of the holy Eucharist. He never spoke to anyone whether men, women or monks and he was the incarnation of the monastic laws. He never talked at work and he never took any break or wasted any time with a visitor or a traveler. He was never involved in any gossip, never asked about anything or anyone, and he answered briefly and nicely when he was asked about anything. 

Charbel spent the little break before going to sleep in silence, not participating to the conversation with the other monks. Nevertheless, he spoke abundantly when he was asked about a spiritual or theological matter and he spoke with joy. Except for that, his whole life was about silence and his tongue was exclusively reserved to talk to God.

At church and in the hermitage he was like an angel. He was a monk of work, prayer, and silence and he was in a permanent meditation about heavenly matters. He was often caught in his meditations and spent hours in a standstill position talking to God without even blinking an eye. Everyone who saw him knew that he was living in another world, as he was not of this world. (John 17:16)

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