Saturday, July 24, 2010

St. Sharbel Makhlouf: Eucharistic Life and Death

Saint Sharbel suffered a stroke on December 16th, 1898 while celebrating the Holy Liturgy. He was reciting the prayer, "Father of Truth, behold your Son, a sacrifice pleasing to you. Accept this offering of Him who died for me." He fell to the floor holding the Holy Eucharist in his hands. He died on December 24th. Sharbel had lived twenty-three years in solitude. A lifetime of saying "Yes" to Love prepared him for a fully Eucharistic death and an abiding mission in the Church, one that, even today, is prophetic.

~ Fr. Mark Kirby: excerpt from his post, Saint Sharbel Makhlouf ~

Holding vigil at the body of the Servant of God in church, were his companions of the hermitage, Father Macarius Mishmshany, and Brother Francis of Artaba, along with a group of monks from the monastery of St. Maron. As soon as they learned of the passing of Father Charbel they rushed to the hermitage to kiss his hands and to be blessed by touching his body while bidding him farewell. Many spent most of the night kneeling near him, praying.

The snow was coming down heavily, accumulating on the hermitage and on the neighboring mountains and valleys. It was extremely cold and windy, to such a degree that those keeping vigil around the saintly remains were trembling from the severity of the cold. Little wonder since the hermitage is one thousand and four hundred meters above sea level, on a high summit exposed to the wind.

Those keeping vigil were asking one another, "If we are suffering so much for only one night in this severe winter, how was Father Charbel able to live twenty-three years here spending every night of his life, kneeling on bamboo, in pain from midnight until the time of his Mass at 9:00 o'clock in the morning, fasting and immobile as the stone statue erected on the floor before the altar. Truly, this hermit was a saint. He endured fatigue, hunger, poverty and cold with the courage of a martyr. Every minute of his life was martyrdom, without complaint. No doubt he is now finding the reward of his marvelous martyrdom, with God." (Source)

Mary, Mother of Jesus Christ, Mother of all priests and our Mother, help us respond generously to the Holy Spirit's request, through the voice of His Church, to offer up to God Eucharistic adoration for priests. Amen.

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