June 26 marks the feast of Blessed Yaacoub, the Capuchin, who will soon become the next Maronite saint of the Catholic Church.
Bl. Yaacoub was born to a Maronite family and was given the birth name of Khalil Haddad. At age 18 he joined the Capuchin order and took the name Yaacoub. The Capuchin order is a less well-known branch to the more recognisable Franciscan order. Yaacoub’s life was spent preaching the Word of God, assisting the poor, caring for orphans and lessening the burden of those who were handicapped. Blessed Yaacoub should be a symbol to Maronites across the world as an example of how to live a selfless life with the Word of Christ always in our hearts. He engaged in many selfless acts and made it his mission in life to lessen the burden of those who were less fortunate within society. Among his many great works, was the building of schools, the establishment of monasteries and hospitals. One of the remarkable achievements of Yaacoub was that he was very welcoming of all within society regardless of age, gender, race or even religion. He was well aware that living a good Christian life was more than simply prayerful reflection but good deeds to others whether they were of the same or other faiths.
Through his works and good deeds, Yaacoub was able to project the image of Christ in his time and allow others to wonder at the glory of God. We should look to saints like Bl. Yaacoub for encouragement to live our lives so that others can see Christ through our actions. It is not only through our proclamation of words, but to take the example of Yaacoub and turn those mere words into meaningful deeds. After all, as we all know ‘action speaks louder than words’. Yaacoub taught us was that ‘words about Christ are less influential than deeds for others in Christ’.
As Christians we should aim to work towards a humble life, regardless of the many challenges that we face in this modern world of ours. Another important lesson Yaacoub teaches us is that good deeds should not be performed solely to make ourselves feel better. This is a very common occurrence in the age of social media where our interactions online are communicated to others, but really most of the time we are posting things, tweeting things, facebooking and snapchating things as a way to communicate with ourselves. Declaring things online is, in many cases, simply a different form of trying to send a message from ourselves to ourselves. Think about it!
We should strive to do good and say (or post) good things, purely as a way to increase the goodness in the world through Christ. It should not be a way for us to fill the substantial gap that we all have (and which we try to fill with social media) when we are distant from Christ. Our humanity makes us care for others whether they are in need of help or simply in need of our prayers. We should lend a helping hand to anyone who we see needs it. That is how we can be more like Bl. Yaacoub. Being a good Christian is not only about studying the bible and going to church, our daily works should reflect our true Christianity, and our good deeds should not be limited to only Christians.
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