Sense of Life. Articles in English. Healed by the intercession of St Charbel.
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Healed by the intercession of St Charbel

Tens of thousands of medically documented healings brought about by his intercession, the viscous fluid issuing from his remains for years after his death, the luminous glow over his grave that was visible for many days, countless conversions – thus may one characterise the celestial activity of St Charbel, a person “inebriated with God”, as Fr Boulos Daher described him. He is a great gift not only to Lebanon, but to the entire world.

Healed by the intercession of St Charbel

It is an April day in 2015. We are visiting the monastery of St Maron in Annaya, Lebanon, and meeting Fr Louis Matar of the Order of Lebanese Maronites, who passionately gathers testimonies of the healings of sick people through the intercession of St Charbel from all over the world. Fr Louis shows us pictures of a child born with his internal organs outside his body, and he tells us how his distraught parents decided to anoint the body of the newborn with St Charbel’s oil. After they did, they became witnesses to a miracle – the body absorbed the organs! With a gleam in his eye, Fr Louis shows us pictures of the same child a few months of age – completely healthy! Then he tells us how he experienced healing himself. He died of a massive heart attack while celebrating Mass, but thanks to the holy hermit’s intercession, he woke up alive after a cardiogram. He can say that he received the gift of a second life to gather accounts of healings through the intervention of St Charbel.

Not only Christians

If it were not amazing enough, it is not only Christians who experience healings. Muslims and Druze also hear about Charbel, and they grasp at him as their last resort. Over the brief period from June 2013 to December 2014, the monastery noted sixty-seven testimonies of miraculous healings among non-Christians.

Ali and Nur Dirzi, a Muslim couple, were expecting twins. However, Nur had to go to hospital with abdominal pain in her sixth month of pregnancy. The doctors’ diagnosis was not optimistic: they decided to induce labour immediately that same day (21 June 2014), due to the threat to the lives of Nur and her babies. Emad was born weighing barely 580 grams (1.4 lb), and his brother Mohammed weighing less – just 430 grams (15 oz). The boys were born in the twenty-sixth week, at a time when many of their vital organs, specifically their respiratory systems and hearts, were not fully developed. Both were immediately placed in incubators, where they received oxygen and food.

Fr Louis died of a massive heart attack while celebrating Mass, but thanks to the holy hermit’s intercession, he woke up alive after a cardiogram

After twenty days of waiting, pain, vigil and sleeping in front of the hospital’s intensive care unit, Ali and his wife were shocked with bad news: their son Mohammed had died. “At that time,” as Ali explained, “we were holding on to the slimmest hope for Emad and Mohammed’s condition to improve. Once, the doctor told us that we must wait for them to gain weight; another time, that the hope was minimal, and that we should pray for them. And now, suddenly, this news like a bolt out of the blue”. After the death of his twin brother, Emad was alone, connected to tubes supplying oxygen to his underdeveloped lungs. Intravenous feeding was supplied through his main artery.

“It is true that I am a Muslim, but St Charbel is closer to God than anyone else, and God listens to him and answers his intercessions” (A. Dirzi)

Emad continues to struggle

Emad was born with a hole in his heart (in medical terms, a “ventricular septal defect”) and was unable to breath on his own. On top of that, he had a hernia. “After two months in the incubator,” Ali said, “hope for Emad’s condition to improve began to slip away. The various apparatus to which he was connected were no longer able to help him. Then my mother called me saying that she had seen a report on television about the miracles of St Charbel, and that healings were still taking place. During our conversation, she asked me to bring some of the oil that flows from the body of St Charbel from the monastery where he is interred and anoint Emad’s body with it. I asked one of my Christian friends how to get to the monastery, and he said ‘Ali, you’re in luck. I was in Annaya yesterday and brought some oil!’ I took the oil from him and immediately went to the hospital. I entered the ICU, went over to the incubator, and anointed Emad’s body, even though one of the doctors tried to stop me, explaining that Emad had no resistance to any bacteria that might be in the unsterilized oil. I reacted resolutely: ‘the child is constantly growing weaker. I had no other option than to ask St Charbel’.”

The Miracle

Two days later, Ali received a call from the hospital. “When the doctor who was caring for Emad called, I had the worst feeling. But she said very straightforwardly: ‘Come on, Daddy, come and take your son home! He can get along without the oxygen now’. At first I couldn’t believe it. I thought that they wanted to kick us out of the hospital. I went to see what was happening. Emad was lying there disconnected from the tubes, and he was breathing on his own! Even his hernia had cleared up! Since that moment, he has been living without the need for oxygen to be administered”.

Ali and Nur had been living in constant fear: one time the doctors gave them hope for Emad’s survival, and the next time they took it away. Both of them spent many nights in the hospital. “If it wasn’t for St Charbel’s miracle, Emad probably would have to have taken oxygen for his whole life, or he might have shared the fate of his twin brother. It is true that I am a Muslim, but St Charbel is closer to God than anyone else, and God listens to him and answers his intercessions. I consider him to be a holy person. I have no great religious knowledge, but I saw what happened, and from the beginning grasped at the hope that he would heal Emad.”

After leaving the hospital, Ali promised that he would take Emad with him to the monastery in Annaya. “We went to Annaya, prayed, and thanked St Charbel for his grace. We also wrote down our account of the miracle and left it with Fr Louis. I continue to pray through his intercession, and I visit his grave and church. My son Emad is healthy, weighs 7.8 kg (17 lbs) and is growing wonderfully!”

Based on an account from An-Nahar, from 29 April 2015


The article was published with the permission from "Love One Another!" in September 2020.

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