ST Charbel Leaves Fingerprints On Raymond Naders Arm
Raymond Nader is a Lebanese Catholic Maronite citizen born in Ghineh, Mount Lebanon on the 10th of November 1961 and is married with three children. He graduated from the Jesuit University in Lebanon with a degree in Electro-mechanical engineering. He then left Lebanon to work in the United Kingdom where he specialised in Nuclear physics.
One day Raymond began to search through science and technology for answers concerning creation, the universe and God’s mystery. The mystery of the Eucharistic Sacrament has always perplexed Raymond since his childhood. His grandfather being a priest has encouraged him to search for the truth and to find answers revolving around the Sacrament of the Eucharist.
The questions Raymond kept asking himself were “Does God truly exist? Where is He? Is Christ really the Son of God? Was He truly crucified? Did he die and rise from the dead? Why does God become incarnate? How does the bread that we bake become the Holy Body of Christ when the priest prays on it? And why people after receiving it, are supposed to love each other and God?
In 1985, Raymond started searching for answers for his questions, persevered in his prayers and attended regular spiritual retreats in hermitages in particular the St Peter and St Paul hermitage of Annaya, Mount Lebanon. This hermitage in Annaya was the place where St Charbel used to pray, meditate, fast, work and sleep.
On the eve of November 9th, 1994, Raymond arrived at St Peter and St Paul hermitage in Annaya, Mount Lebanon carrying the Holy Bible and five candles in a bag. He lit the candles and began his prayers and meditations. Suddenly, he started to feel changes in his surroundings. The wind grew stronger, the temperature began to rise and the flames of the 5 candles stopped flickering but continued to burn with no motion.
Raymond said “I tried to reason scientifically, but I thought I might be dreaming or hallucinating. Suddenly I lost my five senses. There was no more warmth, wind or flames. I was in a different world, a world bathed in light. Not the usual light we know, not white, but transparent like crystal water. The light didn’t come from a specific direction, but from everywhere. It was a billion times brighter than the light of the Sun…In that light I felt a Presence, I couldn’t see it, but I was aware of it”.
Then a voice replied, “No, you are not dreaming, you are more awake than ever”. Raymond continued, “The Voice came from nowhere and yet from everywhere. I heard it in every part of me, not with my physical ears. It expressed itself to me with no words, no sounds. The Presence presented itself to me as a “feeling” of deep peace, and joy and love. At a certain moment I felt that this experience had come to an end. I wanted this joy and peace to last for ever, and if the Presence couldn’t stay, I wished at least it would take me with it; but He made me understand that He is always here.”
Gradually Raymond returned to normal consciousness and said, “I looked at the candles with astonishment, they were totally consumed. My watch indicated that four hours had passed in a blink of an eye. I left the hermitage and on the way to my car I felt heat in my arm. I thought it might be a scratch or an animal’s sting. But the heat grew stronger. I took off my pullover and in the light of my car saw five fingerprints on my arm, showing every detail of human fingers including the wrinkles and the nails. It was very hot but there was no pain at all only itching. For five days it oozed blood and water.” Dr Nabil Hokayem, a plastic surgeon and one of the most famous surgeons in Lebanon, confirmed that it was a second degree burn.
On the occasion of the Feast Day of St Charbel on 15 July in 1995, Raymond had a second extraordinary experience while visiting the Monastery of St Maroun in Annaya, Mount Lebanon. This monastery is only a few hundred metres away from the hermitage of St Peter and St Paul in Annaya, Mount Lebanon where Raymond had his first extraordinary experience with St Charbel which he burnt his finger prints on Raymond’s arm. Raymond said, “On my way to St Charbel’s hermitage, I saw a procession ahead of me. I recognised the monks of the monastery but at the end of the procession was a very old priest. I approached him to ask a few questions. As I came closer to him, everything around me changed. All sounds disappeared, but the old priest’s voice resounded inside my head”. It was then that Raymond heard one of six messages which he attributes to St Charbel and with each message the fingerprints on his arm were renewed.
The following are quotations from these messages which Raymond heard from the voice:
“The Lord has created each human being to shine, to enlighten the world; you are the light of the world. Each man is a lantern meant to shine; the Lord has provided a clear and transparent glass to the lantern, to enable that light to shine and illuminate the world; but they are taking care of the glass and forgetting about the light; they are caring about the glass shape, coloring and decorating it, until it becomes thick, opaque, preventing light from shining forth, and thus is the world drowned in darkness. The Lord insists on illuminating the world. Your glass must become transparent again. You should realize the purpose for which you are born in this world”.
“Christ knows what is in your hearts, and it is your hearts that he wants. Don’t seek for the truth outside the Christ; when you know the Christ, you will know the Truth and you will be free. The Christ wants you to be free. Fear not, and be sure that the Christ has defeated the world”.
“The Church of the Christ is a rock upon which are being shattered the waves of evil. Christ is the way. Crosses of light will flood the Earth”.