St. Sharbel Makhlouf of Lebanon
Today the Catholic Church remembers a saint from the Eastern Maronite rite named St. Sharbel Makhlouf. He was born in 1828 and died in 1898. He entered a monastery at 23 years of age and was known for his devotion to the Blessed Sacrament and his willingness to bring the Eucharist to neighboring villages. He spent the last twenty years of his life in prayer and solitude as a hermit. His spiritual heritage could be traced back to the early church at Antioch where the believers were first called Christians. It is hard for us to imagine but Lebanon was largely Christian and there is still a minority(40 %) of Catholic and Orthodox believers who live there among the majority Muslim (60%) population.
St. Sharbel became posthumously known as a miracle worker after his exhumed and non- corrupted body gave off a liquid which brought about many documented healings when touched to others . After his beatification, his body did eventually decay and all that is left now are his bones. Grotesque Catholic mythology ? This practice has its basis in Scripture.
People passed around napkins for healings that had been touched by Peter in the early church. Also, this is not unlike the Old Testament story where the bones of the prophet Elisha miraculously brought someone back to life.
"Now when Elisha had fallen sick with the illness of which he was to die, Joash king of Israel went down to him, and wept before him ... So Elisha died, and they buried him. Now bands of Moabites used to invade the land in the spring of the year. And as a man was being buried, lo, a marauding band was seen and the man was cast into the grave of Elisha; and as soon as the man touched the bones of Elisha, he revived, and stood on his feet." (2 Kings 13:14,20-21 RSV)
Let's ask St. Sharbel Makhlouf to pray along with us for the peace of Israel and Lebanon so there can be a just solution to this current war that has broken out in the past two weeks. I am sure he is already at the throne of our Lord asking for graces and mercy to be poured out on all the people of his homeland in this troubled time.
To learn more about this Saint please check out: St. Sharbel