Abouna Antoun Tarabay Abouna Antoun Tarabay Abouna Antoun Tarabay - Biography Abouna Antoun Tarabay
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His Life || His Spirituality  
 
His Spirituality

Father Antonios Tarabay lived a shining ascetic monastic Christian life, which led many to light of Christ. He was a spiritual father, who during his earthly life embodied monastic spiritual¬ity in the Maronite Church. He was a perfect example of the apostolic ascetic spirituality through his heroic living of the virtues of faith, hope and love. Nor did his ascetic and austere life prevent him from answering the letters which he used to receive, or for welcoming the believers who used to visit him to pray and receive" his blessings or guidance. Moreover, each time he was asked, he used to deliver sermons in the Lebanese villages and towns, thus fulfilling his mission. Through his apostolic ascetic life, his suffering, pains, fasting, and patience Father Antonios proved that believers can live by the Commandments of God and the teaching of the Bible in this modern Life. The following are cases in point.

 
The Detached Monk

Father Antonios was the detached monk who loved Christ with his whole heart and soul. He himself wrote on the epitaph for his gravestone: "I entered the Order a poor man, and I ended up a rich man". What is a monk other than one with passionate love of God, who has given up everything and followed the shining face of Jesus Christ? Such was Father Antonios who retreated into the grotto of Saint Lishaa's Monastery in the Holy Valley, for the love of God. He lead an ascetic life, praying God on behalf of his people and imploring the divine grace day and night so that the powers of evil might be vanquished and the fear might vanish from the hearts of believers.

 
The Praying Monk

Every morning after Communion, Father Antonios used to spend long hours praying hard and thanking God. One of his brethren, who had taken care of him, said that he was often alarmed when checking on Father Antonios at night because he would appear to him as a dead body lying on the bed. In reality, Father Antonio's body was in deep sleep, while his soul was in ecstasy as if he were not in this world.

 
The Priest - Sacrifice

Throughout his illness, Father Antonios suffered in every part of his frail body, which was crippled due to rheumatism causing him pain and stiff¬ness in his joints and muscles. Moreover, enteromycosis prevented him from talk¬ing easily. His clavicle and hips became dislocated and his vertebrae were visible through his skin. His body was once invaded by ants, and still he never com¬plained. His consoling and strengthen¬ing prayer was the beginning of Psalm 50: "Have mercy on me God, in your goodness; in your abundant compas¬sion". He resembled Job the Righteous in his pains, wounds and patience, thus following the Divine path of his Master crucified before God and the world.

 

 
The Angel Priest

In addition to his amazing toler­ance to pain, those who knew Father Antonios admired in him, his meekness, his smile, his shining face and the seren­ity of his eyes. They imagined them­selves before an angel in a human body. God gave him the gift of relieving their pain. His few rare and simple words were enough to create in the heart of his visitors a new hope, a keen ardor, and a happiness beyond words. Did Jesus Christ not say:
"Let the dead bury their dead
But you, go and proclaim the Kingdom of God?". (Luke 9/16)

In brief Father Antonio' distin­guished life should serve as a reminder of the words of Saint Theresa of Avila:

"God alone is the fulfillment of the holy soul". For this reason people Hocked to him from different places asking for his prayers and blessings.

 

 
The Hermit of the Virgin Mary

Father Antonios adored and honored Our Lady Mary, Mother of God, whose mere name would bring tears to his eyes. His Heavenly Mother protected him throughout his life. For example, one day fire broke out in his cell while he was inside it, and he miraculously escaped unharmed.

Father Antonios used to repeat Mary's name with special respect and love. Each time he was asked for some advice or a service, he said: "The love of God and the love of the Virgin Mary [are what come first]".

It was due to God's Providence that he passed away on the eve of 20-21 June 1998 between the Feast of the Sacred Heart of Jesus and that of the Mary.
 
Father Antonios' Testimony of the Virgin Mary

"The Virgin Mary is the olive tree planted in the divine field, always over- flowing with compassion".
"The Virgin Mary is a fruitful tree whose virtues are an invitation to every­body, and she says: "Come to me. Whoever eats of my fruit shall never die".

"The Virgin Mary says: "Whoever listens to me shall not be disappointed, and who lives by my instructions shall never fail".
 
The Teacher Father
By his sufferings, silence, prayers, and asceticism, the hermit, monk and priest Father Antonios Tarabay taught all those who knew him how to find faith, and to be freed from the nightmare of fear and the snares of the devil. He also taught them to rectify their lives, to regain "the freedom of God's children", and to understand that life is worthy when filled with "the Love of God and Mary" and that everything else is vain.
 
Abouna Antoun
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