After along journey I finally arrive at the church located in the monastery of St. Anthony for my appointment. As I am patiently waiting for Father Charbel to meet me for our appointment I look over the to the church’s door. I do not dare entering through the church door for fear that I might disturb the monks during their prayer, or during their reading of sacred text.

Slowly my patience turned to impatience and I drift away and begin to daydream. My daydream was broken by some nine monks who I’m sure were wondering what business I had at seven o'clock in the morning.

My doubts have consumed me; how do I communicate with a devout cleric?

Suddenly a smiling, friendly figure emerges, a young woman follows shortly after offering us coffee.

After the coffee my doubts dissipate a couple of courtesies later, I work up the courage to ask my questions.

“ What can you tell me about your career and life at Saint Antoine?”

“ I have been living here for two years now and I pronounced his vows in 2009”

“ What lead you to choose your path?”

“I come from a very religious family and I decided at the age of nine to become a monk” he paused then continued, ” future monks are sent to the monastery of Tamich to study for 5 years. Out of these five years two years will be devoted to philosophy and three to theology. He who has completed his studies may then present his perpetual vows and be ordained a priest. Living in a monastery can be summed up in two words Ora and Labora.”

Father Charbel then details the activities of the monks at the Saint Anthony Monastery; Early morning they attend the service and mass at 7am. After a quick breakfast, everyone leaves to do the work entrusted to them by the father.

Father Charbel, for example, has been designated as responsible for the reception of visitors, the preparation of the church for masses, baptisms and the confession of the faithful. Each monk must contribute his share to the monastery to support the community.

Father Charbel at Saint Antoine Monastery

“ Beside my activities at the monastery, I attend the Holy Spirit University of Kaslik where I studies music theory and practices singing, violin and piano. To him, music is a means of communicating, of communion and of getting closer to the divine world".

Just before leaving him, I ask him if doubts have already crossed him during his apprenticeship, if he has ever questioned the life he had chosen.

At these words, I feel a hint of hesitation. Suddenly, after a few seconds of silence, his eyes light up: "Of course, I am human and life is made of temptations and difficulties, but each trial made me attach myself even more to my vocation"

A vocation that he indeed fulfills every day with wisdom and determination.