Feast of Saint Charbel

Feast of Saint Charbel
By His Excellency Bishop Antoine- Charbel Tarabay
Dear Brothers and Sisters,
The Maronite Church celebrates, on the third Sunday of July the Feast of Saint Charbel Makhlouf, a remarkable, and most likely, the most famous monk of the Lebanese Maronite Order.
Saint Charbel, the first Lebanese saint to be canonised in 1977, holds a special place in our hearts and in the Church. Our Eparchy now has three churches entrusted to his patronage in Punchbowl NSW, Greenvale VIC and now in East Cannington WA, which opened and blessed last Sunday.
On this feast day, I am reminded of the deep connection we share with Saint Charbel. It is a connection that spans time and distance, linking us to a man whose holiness and devotion continue to inspire us. Saint Charbel holds a special place in my vocation and my spiritual journey, and in his honour, I have chosen to add his name in my episcopate to the name my parents gave me, becoming Antoine-Charbel.
Saint Charbel was my role model in the monastic life and his example inspired me, and countless other priests, with his deep Eucharistic spirituality, making the Mass and the adoration of the Lord the centre of his existence. We constantly look to the example of Saint Charbel, drawing from his love for the Lord, that our own love for Him may deepen with each passing day.
An essential aspect of Saint Charbel’s spirituality, which holds great relevance for our own spiritual lives is his profound commitment to silence and prayer. Saint Charbel’s life was a constant prayer. Whether in the public prayer of the Divine Liturgy, the personal prayers and devotions in his hermitage, or the prayer infused in his labour, he maintained an unbroken conversation with God, cultivating an intimate relationship with Him. Saint Charbel, through his holy silence, teaches us to seek God’s presence amidst the noise of the world and to listen attentively to His gentle voice. In a society dominated by technology and rapid communication, he serves as a powerful reminder that God is real, alive, and loving. He beckons us to speak to our Heavenly Father often and to make prayer a priority in our lives.
On this beautiful feast day, let us remember that Saint Charbel’s life and intercession extend far beyond our own community. His spiritual influence transcends borders, cultures, and religions, drawing thousands of people from around the world, from various faith traditions, to seek his intercession and receive graces through prayer. Let us strive, in his example, to fill our hands with good deeds, to spread our faith wherever we go, and to serve one another in love, walking in the footsteps of our beloved saint.
I wish you all a blessed feast day and pray that the grace of Saint Charbel guides us on our journey of faith and intercedes for us before the throne of God.