St Charbel Makhluf

On July 24, the Catholic Church celebrates the life of St. Charbel Makhlouf, a Maronite Catholic priest, monk, and hermit who is known for working miracles both during his life and after his death.

On the occasion of his beatification in 1965, the Eastern Catholic hermit was described by Pope Paul VI as “ a new, eminent member of monastic sanctity,” who “through his example and his intercession is enriching the entire Christian people.”

Born into humble circumstances in Lebanon during 1828, Yussef Antoun Makhlouf was the youngest of Antoun Zaarour Makhlouf and Brigitta Elias al-Shediyaq's five children. Antoun, who had been taken away from the family and forced into hard labor, died when his youngest son was only three.

Yussef studied at the parish school and tended to his family's cow. Engaged in prayer and solitude from a early age, he spent a great deal of time outdoors in the fields and pastures near his village, contemplating God amid the inspiring views of Lebanon's valleys and mountains.

His uncle and guardian Tanious wanted the boy to continue working with him, while his mother wanted him to marry a young woman. Yussef had other plans, however, and left home in 1851 without informing anyone.

Yussef would become “Brother Charbel,” after making a pilgrimage on foot to his new monastic home. In this, he followed the example of his maternal uncles, who were already living as solitary monks at the Hermitage of Saint Paul in the Qadisha Valley.

Charbel took his monastic vows in November of 1853, during a solemn ceremony which was closed to the public and off-limits even to his family. He subsequently studied for the priesthood and was ordained, returning to the Monastery of St. Maron.

The priest-monk lived and served in the monastery for 19 years, showing great devotion to the life of prayer, manual work, and contemplative silence.

Charbel's superiors observed God's “supernatural power” at work in his life, and he became known as a wonder-worker even among some Muslims. In 1875, he was granted permission to live as a solitary monk in a nearby hermitage dedicated to Saints Peter and Paul.

Rigorous asceticism, and a profound union with God, continued to characterize the monk's life for the next 23 years. Deeply devoted to God's Eucharistic presence, he suffered a stroke while celebrating the Divine Liturgy of the Maronite Catholic Church on December 16, 1898. He died on Christmas Eve of that year.

St. Charbel's tomb has been a site for pilgrimages since his death. Hundreds of miracles are believed to have occurred through his intercession with God, both in Lebanon and around the world.

He was canonized in 1977 by Pope Paul VI, who had earlier hailed the Lebanese Maronite saint as an “admirable flower of sanctity blooming on the stem of the ancient monastic traditions of the East.”


Exodus 24:3-8

3 Moses came and told the people all the words of the LORD and all the ordinances; and all the people answered with one voice, and said, "All the words which the LORD has spoken we will do."
4 And Moses wrote all the words of the LORD. And he rose early in the morning, and built an altar at the foot of the mountain, and twelve pillars, according to the twelve tribes of Israel.
5 And he sent young men of the people of Israel, who offered burnt offerings and sacrificed peace offerings of oxen to the LORD.
6 And Moses took half of the blood and put it in basins, and half of the blood he threw against the altar.
7 Then he took the book of the covenant, and read it in the hearing of the people; and they said, "All that the LORD has spoken we will do, and we will be obedient."
8 And Moses took the blood and threw it upon the people, and said, "Behold the blood of the covenant which the LORD has made with you in accordance with all these words."


Matthew 13:24-30

24 Another parable he put before them, saying, "The kingdom of heaven may be compared to a man who sowed good seed in his field;
25 but while men were sleeping, his enemy came and sowed weeds among the wheat, and went away.
26 So when the plants came up and bore grain, then the weeds appeared also.
27 And the servants of the householder came and said to him, `Sir, did you not sow good seed in your field? How then has it weeds?'
28 He said to them, `An enemy has done this.' The servants said to him, `Then do you want us to go and gather them?'
29 But he said, `No; lest in gathering the weeds you root up the wheat along with them.
30 Let both grow together until the harvest; and at harvest time I will tell the reapers, Gather the weeds first and bind them in bundles to be burned, but gather the wheat into my barn.'"


Psalms 50:1-2, 5-6, 14-15

1 The Mighty One, God the LORD, speaks and summons the earth from the rising of the sun to its setting.
2 Out of Zion, the perfection of beauty, God shines forth.
5 "Gather to me my faithful ones, who made a covenant with me by sacrifice!"
6 The heavens declare his righteousness, for God himself is judge! [Selah]
14 Offer to God a sacrifice of thanksgiving, and pay your vows to the Most High;
15 and call upon me in the day of trouble; I will deliver you, and you shall glorify me."


Lord, help me to be a solid witness to Your love in this world

Saturday July 24 20221
16th Week in Ordinary Time
St Charbel Makhluf, priest
Ex. 24:3-8;  Ps. 49:1-2,5-6,14-15;
Mt. 13:24-30    (Ps Wk IV)


God had given Moses the covenant that he was making with the Hebrew people. And Moses had gone with Aaron, Nadah, Abihu and seventy elders to worship the Lord, but only Moses was allowed to go near. Then the covenant confirmation ceremony took place. The pivotal point of the ceremony occurred when the blood of the covenant was sprinkled on the people. The blood represented life, and by that, the people as a whole were sealed as God's special people.

Jesus was speaking of the growth of the Kingdom of heaven. We can think of this in relation to the world in which we live. There is much that is good, but there is also much that is evil. In the Parable, the landowner told the workers to leave the weeds in the fields until the harvest so that the wheat would not be uprooted. The weeds would be gathered first and burned. People wonder why God allows evil to exist in our world. Perhaps part of the answer is in this Parable. Just as the wheat grew strong among the weeds, our reliance on God can make us strong in the midst of evil.

Lord, help me to be a solid witness to Your love in this world.