On the wings of love
Saint Charbel is a saint who still lives, because he let himself be guided by the spirit of Christ, and believing in his love he became a saint of freedom, of detachment, of purity, for this he was a master of joy.
Father Charbel, in the name of Christ, worked many prodigies:
One day when the provisions of the convent were scarce, the superior ordered the saint to bless the dispensation. After having sprinkled the jars with the holy water, the containers were filled with wheat. The same happened with oil.
In 1885, tells a Father, a multitude of grasshoppers, literally veiling the sun, fell on Annaya and the neighboring villages. Seeing the terrible danger, the Superior ordered the hermit Charbel to bless water and to sprinkle it in the fields. All the fields he could reach were protected. The water blessed by the Saint, and used by the inhabitants themselves, defended their crops from attack by grasshoppers.
A year in which the grasshoppers ravaged the cropland, Father Elia of Mechmech ordered the saint to sprinkle the boundaries of the monastery's properties with holy water. Father Charbel obeyed, but he forgot to bless a field. The grasshoppers devastated plains, hills, dry and green fields, and in the midst of complete desolation everything that the hermit had blessed was saved except the field he had forgotten.
On another occasion the locusts threatened Tourzayya, a village inhabited by Christians and Muslims. The Christians ran first to call Father Charbel and his superior sent him to bless their fields. The locusts then headed for the lands of the Muslims, who in turn asked the saint for help. After his blessing, the predator cloud left the region.
Father Charbel did not kill insects, ants, or poisonous animals, because he respected every creature of God. One day a viper slipped into the cracks of the vineyard wall. The frightened peasants gathered stones to kill it, but since it did not come out of its hiding place, they thought of breaking down the wall to flush it out. Father Charbel called the viper and ordered her to leave. She left the shelter and walked away docilely from the vineyard.
Father Charbel was reciting the midnight office, his superior sent for him. The saint stopped praying and immediately went to the convent. The urgency was due to an epidemic that had hit the goats and threatened to exterminate them. The superior asked him to bless them and the cattle recovered.
The mule of the convent, by a sickness, fell to the ground with wide eyes. Seen useless every rescue attempt, the monks called Father Charbel. After his prayers, the animal got up again.
A student spent the summer at the convent of Maifouq, in the room of Fra Bartolomeo di Aito, he saw some very thin and exhausted bugs asked him for explanations and the companion pointed to a bottle: "See that water?" "Father Charbel has blessed her. When I used it to sprinkle the room, the bedbugs are sligth and no longer have the power to sting".
A breeder from Batroun begged Father Charbel to save his livestock from a deadly epidemic. The saint replied: "Am I God to prevent death?" Then he gave him the blessed water with which the farmer sprinkled the herd that he healed.
Father Charbel's blessing repeatedly prevented the ruin of breeders. To save the worms, it was enough to sprinkle them with water that was blessed by the hermit.
A year the drought threatened the farms and the worms, arrived at the fourth molt, died. The superior of the convent of Qartaba sent a monk from Father Charbel to ask him for a bottle of holy water and the bugs healed. The drought lasted eight years, but the worms were saved with the same system also the following years.
Once a mulberry disease caused an epidemic in a farmer's farm. The bugs yellowed, dragged along the edges of the trellises and fell to the ground. The breeder sprinkled them with the water blessed by Father Charbel and the worms recovered, went back on the racks, went back to eating and the farm gave a good income.
Chrouty of Batroun turned to the hermit because his bugs visibly diminished and he could not understand why. Just a little water was blessed by the saint and a few days later, next to the racks, he found some dead rats and parasites and a lifeless snake, as if the water had been a deadly poison for predators.
Saba Ghostine Obeid of Ehmej tells that in his herd the rats multiplied excessively, devouring the silkworms. The farmer bathed the racks with the water blessed by Father Charbel and the next day he found all the dead rats, but the saint begged him not to divulge the incident.
Youssef Hasrouni, a confrere of Father Charbel, states: "When I was a novice and read the lives of the saints, I doubted the facts and virtues attributed to hermits and the blessed, and I believed they were exaggerations, because they exceeded human possibilities. The assiduous closeness of Father Charbel and of directly experiencing his virtues, I had the certainty that divine grace accomplishes prodigies in souls, and that all that is read in the biographies of the saints is inferior to what I have seen accomplished with my own eyes from Father Charbel, a giant of austerity and penance.
From April 22, 1950, the prodigious events at the tomb of Father Charbel multiplied dramatically, so much that 1950 was called a year, "Charbelian." From that day on the monks recorded the miracles in the registers of the convent, and in a few months more than two thousand testimonies were collected. From the crowd huddled at the grave of Annaya's hermit, the cry was constantly rising: "Miracle, Miracle" and the bells rang out at the announcement of every prodigious event.
Here are some testimonies of that period reported by the Annaya registers:
On 22 April 1950, on the occasion of the opening of the tomb of Father Charbel, Emile Boutros of Maifouq, who was in the corridor and walked with crutches, was healed. Another man, unable to visit the tomb for exhumation in progress, was content to rub the hat on the wall devoutly and returned home, gave it to the paralyzed niece, who began to walk.
Youssef Sleiman Ibrahim Hanna of seventeen, and sister Chahidé of fourteen, were born deaf and communicated by gestures. They went to the tomb of Father Charbel on 11 June 1950, and immediately acquired the use of hearing and speech.
Hanna El Alani of Bcharre, nine months old, was struck by typhoid fever and left him paralyzed and deaf. In 1950 the boy was twenty years old, and since Father Charbel's fame was spreading, his parents took him to his grave, but without results. Two weeks later, on June 6, 1950, they brought him back to Annaya because he made it clear that he saw Father Charbel. On the spot, the mother rubbed it with blessed water and oil. Around three o'clock in the afternoon.
Hanna stood up, regained her hearing and began to talk and dance for joy.
Tanios Azar, aged forty-five, originally from Jezzine, fell from a tree and broke his right leg. He was operated four times, but he walked with crutches and with great difficulty. In November 1950 he visited the tomb of Father Charbel, where he recovered. Immediately he left his crutches and walked to the hermitage on foot.
In November 1950, Antoine Joseph Sfeir, at the age of two, fell ill with polio, which hit his throat. For his doctors his end was imminent, but his mother ingested him with holy water and begged Father Charbel. The child gradually improved until he recovered. The parents went to the hermitage on foot to thank the saint.
Mansour's wife Youssef Saber, a construction worker from Ghosta, had been suffering from cancer for five years. Despite surgery and several cycles of radiation therapy, the disease worsened. When he heard about the miracles of Father Charbel, he visited his grave with her husband. Here, Charbel appeared to her and healed her from her illness. The woman witnessed the miracle in July 1951.
Mandar Tannous Saadé of Lehfed in 1951 suffered from kidney stones. His doctor told him that the only way to remove them was surgery. The man, worried, went to the tomb of Father Charbel and on his return he began a novena in his honor. At the end of the nine day the disturbances disappeared and the doctor, perplexed, visited him and found no trace of the kidney stones.