The diminishment of the priesthood and the scandals surrounding it cannot be understood or healed by anything one can see or do by one's own capacity. In Christ alone do we receive all that we need for our sanctification and in Him alone can the Church and the priesthood be healed. St. Charbel tells us clearly that we cannot give what does not belong to us. Before all things we must stop and throw off the shackles that bind us and keep us from loving God. We must purify ourselves in order that our intellects might not be darkened and our hearts might not be hardened. We must not be under the illusion that we can offer anything to this world unless the light of Christ shines brightly within us and that we do not hinder it.
Why do human beings have to descend when the path of the Lord ascends? People are loaded down with many burdens that bend their backs so much that their foreheads touch the ground, preventing them from standing up and raising their heads to see the face of God.
They try to liberate themselves from them; everyone gets rid of them only to load themselves down in other ways, and finally they find themselves weighed down with even heavier burdens.
Jesus Christ is the only one capable of liberating all human beings from their burdens, for a slave cannot set another slave free.
A human being is born tied up with cords and bound with chains to which he becomes accustomed throughout his life; many are those who die without being freed from them. People get used to their chains; they cherish them as though they were an integral part of themselves, so that it becomes difficult for them to set themselves free of them.
Their gleaming chains dazzle their eyes so that they no longer see the Lord's face. Their deafening racket prevents them from hearing His voice. They are so proud of the brilliance of their fetters and of their clanking that they cherish them. The chains may well gleam, but they are nonetheless alienating.
Instead of polishing them, break them; instead of making music with them, unfasten them so as to free yourself from them.
The Lord suffered to see the people for whom He was made flesh, died, and rose again in order to give them life and eternal happiness, chained up and seeking their happiness where they will not find it.
Your happiness in this world is not of this world, for if you were of this world you would have remained in it.
Your happiness does not lie in material goods, for they will not procure it for you. Why do men run about seeking gold? A human being is much more valuable than gold! He is the son of God and his value is in himself. Gold does not liberate a human being from his attachments; it only makes them more splendid.
Your happiness does not come from men who cannot offer it to you, because they do not possess it, and because no one can give what does not belong to him. Jesus alone is able to give you true happiness.
Only human beings live between asphalt and concrete. Their minds become blackened like asphalt, and their hearts harden like concrete. Their intellects produces only dark ideas, and their souls become empty of any love. Human beings are like an inert, soulless matter, and some of them resemble stones.
Proud as they are, they stubbornly seek happiness in sin, which causes them nothing but worry, sadness, misery, and emptiness. They have become proud with regard to themselves, toward one another, and toward God.
Do you not realize that the Lord is able to reduce them to dust in an instant? But the love of our God is great. He loves human beings with an unending love because they are His sons and daughters. He wanted them to be the light of the world, in His image.
Every human being is a flame created by our Lord to enlighten the world. Every human being is a lamp made by Him to shine and to give light. Someone who obtains a lamp does so in order to light up the darkness. A lamp is made to illuminate darkness.
But these lamps, human beings, are interested only in their appearance: they color their glass panes, cover them with ornaments, whereas God created them plain and transparent so as to protect and propagate the light. They have become thick and hard to the point of hiding the light, and the world remains plunged in darkness.
These lamps that our Lord made to be bearers of light to the world turn themselves into works of art, embellished and tinted but without light. What good is a lamp that does not light up the darkness? You cannot see a lamp in the darkness unless it is lit.
Whatever the beauty of the lamp may be, its light is even more beautiful. The world is going to ruin in the darkness; but it's light. Make your glass panes thin and transparent again so as to light up the world and to achieve the purpose for which God created you.
Our Lord has in store a purpose that each creature must fulfill through its life. Contemplate all the creatures on the earth and you will find that each on of them does its work precisely and honestly; not one of them is miserable.
The most miserable creature on earth is sure happier than a sinful human being who, at the moment of judgment, stands shamefaced before the grandeur of God's love; this love that created the universe, that gave life, is the only treasure piled up that will last so as to accompany you into the next world.
All your treasures, your money, and your accomplishments that you think you possess here below, even your bones, will not belong to you any more.
He who appears before Lord, empty of love, will die of shame. That is his true death and not the moment when he gives up his soul.
If a human being is not transformed by love, he dies, for God is love, a love that is eternal. Let Him fill your hearts and let humility govern your minds. Pray and be converted. Pray to Jesus Christ, He will hear your prayer; open your hearts to Him, He will enter in and give you peace. Pray from the bottom of your hearts without ceasing.
Do not bother to search for the truth far from Christ; no truth exists outside of Him. Christ is the only truth. When you know Christ, you will know truth and you will be free. Christ wants you to be free. Have no fear, take courage; know that Christ has conquered the world.
Homily of St. Charbel
Love is a Radiant Light