St. Charbel was born in Lebanon. He was a member of the Maronite Catholic Church. Most of us belong to the Latin Catholic Rite. However, there are also many other rites in the Catholic Church, e.g. the Byzantine rite, the Ukrainian rite, the Melkite rite, the Syro Malabar rite and others.
They all accept the Pope as the successor of St. Peter and are in communion with him and are united with each other but have their own church practices and church laws. They are all united in faith.
St. Charbel felt called to prayer and the need for solitude from an early age. He became a Maronite monk. After being a monk for many years he felt drawn to becoming a hermit.
He lived in a hermitage where he also had three small rooms for others to come and stay to seek his counsel and blessing.
He lived a life of poverty and of service to all. He took the word of Jesus to heart to be a servant of all.
Most of us of course are not called to be monks. However, St. Makhlouf gives us all a prophetic witness to Christian living:
To give priority to prayer in our lives: To spend some time every day in the presence of God. To be as we truly are with God without denial or camouflage. As we do this, we remember how unconditionally loved we are.
To live simply: we can allow our lives to get cluttered and complicated, we can get over attached to material things. This has also ecological implications in the care of our world and environment as mentioned in the Pope’s letter, “Laudato Si”.
Have some solitude in our lives, some time of silence. It is so easy to have noise all the time. The radio or other devices are on all the time in the car, the T.V. at home, ear plugs as we exercise, etc. We have a thousand monkeys jumping in our head!! We all need to quieten our souls. This takes practice and discipline.
We also are reminded by him to be servants of each other. Our insecurities push us to compete with each other. We can look down on others who we consider not as good, as inferior: we can tend to be judgmental, etc. When we are convinced of how unconditionally loved by God we are, then we do not need to compare ourselves with others. Did not Jesus say “When you do this (that is help) to one of the least of my brothers or sisters, you do it to me!”
So, although most of us are not called to be hermits like St. Charbel, nonetheless, like him, we are called to live fully the Christian life in our own time, place, and vocation.
When we settle for mediocrity, we are living only part of our lives! We are cheating ourselves!