Though Resource Shark does not support one religion, we include this vertical on our directory, because we do support community and an individual’s right to practice their own faith. That being said, I am saddened by the amount of violence executed for the sake of religious beliefs. What I loved about this story, posted by the Knights of Columbus on the anniversary of the saint’s vow of priesthood, is that the healing experienced by people visiting the tomb of this saint, crosses multiple religious borders.
Youssef Antoun Makhlouf, born in 1828 in North Lebanon, Youssef took the name Charbel, after a martyr of the second century, and was ordained a priest on July 23, 1859. After a life of seclusion, praying and worshipping, Father Charbel Makhlouf became gravely ill as he led mass, and died a few weeks later on Christmas Eve. Following his death, and after the body had been transported for burial, another monk visited the chapel at midnight and saw the body of Saint Charbel Makhlouf surrounded by a light that circled the saint and the tabernacle!
Strangely, within a few months, glowing lights were seen around the tomb of Saint Charbel. Saint Charbel Makhlouf’s corpse, which had been secreting sweat and a blood-like liquid, was transferred into a special coffin. Hordes of people began making pilgrimages for receiving intercessions. As word of the healing spread, the pilgrimages began to include people of other religious faiths in need…and the healing continued, regardless of religious belief. The miracles reached beyond the Lebanese borders and continued to grow.
According to the official record, the grave was opened in 1950 with an official committee including doctors who verified the soundness of the body. All told the grave has been opened four times, and each time the body was found intact until 1965, when it finally seemed to succumb to the laws of nature. Today, only the skeleton remains, yet the stories of healing grow and continue. Perhaps Charbel Makhlouf, who led such a secluded life, can still show us how to live in unity with those of other beliefs.