The monastery might close

By Paulo Coelho

The monastery was having a difficult time. According to the latest fashionable idea, God was just a superstition, and young men no longer wanted to become novices. Some went to study sociology, others read treatises on historical materialism, and gradually the small community that remained realised that they would have to close the monastery.

The old monks were dying. When one of them was about to deliver up his soul to God, he summoned to his death bed the few novices who were left.

‘I have received a revelation,’ he said. ‘This monastery was chosen for something very important.’

‘What a shame,’ said one novice. ‘There are only five of us left and we can barely cope with the ordinary tasks, let alone something important.’

‘It is indeed a great shame. Because an angel appeared to me here on my death bed and told me that one of you five young men was destined to become a saint.’

And with that, he died.

During the funeral, the young men kept looking at each other in some alarm. Who would be the chosen one? The one who had given most help to the villagers? The one who always prayed with particular devotion? The one who preached with such fervour that he reduced the others to tears?

Moved by the thought that there was a saint amongst them, the novices resolved to postpone the closure of the monastery for a while and they began working hard, preaching enthusiastically, repairing the crumbling walls and practising charity and love.

One day, a young man came to the monastery door. He was impressed by the work of the five novices and wanted to help them. Only a week later, another young man did the same. Little by little, the novices’ reputation spread throughout the region.

‘Their eyes shine,’ said a son to his father, when asking to be given permission to enter the monastery.

‘They do things with such love,’ remarked one father to his son. ‘Look, the monastery is more beautiful than ever.’

Ten years later, there were more than eighty novices. No one ever found out if the old monk’s prediction was true, or if he had merely found a way of using enthusiasm to restore to the monastery its lost dignity.

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  1. "Spirit" says:

    …for that’s all there is to it. Whether we care to admit it or not. That’s why everything else comes to an end. Life is a condition in itself so why can’t love be? For love is a catalyst to life if you think about it.

  2. "Spirit" says:

    Is it ever possible to experience love devoid of conditions? Is love not a condition in itself? Ihave been in a 4yrs-relationship with a wonderful man but because I do not know how to love myself, I have bestowed all my love unto this man to a point where I’m becoming obssessed with him and it’s just suffocating for him; he said. But I do that because I’m afraid of a condition called loneliness, which will culminate in me having to face myself and live with myself all the time, and I cannot have that happen. My poor man on the other hand continues loving me because the condition is that he’s afraid I might take my own life as an account of him rejecting me. This has led me to conclude that love is just one hell of an inexplicable condition…

  3. Nevarqu says:

    as I was learned
    motivation is a clue to make imposible…

    if someone loose it – he/she is on the way to doom

    but if you can see a light, a single spark you can easly reach a sky!

    someone have said : how to make that I want to do as I dont want to do anything

    if someone find out the answer – that will be the clue of self motivation

    kind regards

  4. Ellinor Aspeflo says:

    This is a story that confirms how important hope is. If the hope leave us, what are we then?

    Each monk wanted to be a saint, by them selves. But they all worked together to make the monastery shine again, like it once did. Their believe made them work together. I wish that more of us realized what we can do together. Some of us make us other believe and keep our hope alive. Some of us has the gift to give other people just the right words in just the right time, to make them wanna make a different. It´s true that we are strong by our selfes, but together we can make miracles.

  5. Ana_be_good says:

    While it went well, it could have also gone bad. I’m surprised the competition between the novices did not pit them against each other. Is that not more common in this day and age? Then again the whole point of fiction is to ‘one up’ reality.

  6. I heard one time that “the only difference between a Saint and a Sinner, is that a Saint has a past and a Sinner has a future.” If such a matter is true, then we all have the choice to choose either our past or future, accordingly.

    B.B. Silver Mystic

  7. Katie says:

    Great story. I was really touched.

  8. The Saint was in their actions, made with love and enthusiasm! :)

    Atma Namaste, Beautiful Soul Paulo! :)

    Beijo in your heart!

    Love & Light!

    Marta :)

  9. Leaf says:

    Obviously/oblivious dearest friend, all xx