Virtue that offends

By Paulo Coelho

Abbot Pastor was out walking with a monk from Sceta when they were invited to a meal. The owner of the house, honoured by the monks’ presence, ordered that only the very best of everything should be served.

However, the monk was in the middle of a period of fasting, and when the food arrived, he took a single pea and chewed it very slowly. He ate only that one pea during the whole of supper.

As they were leaving, the Abbot said to him:

‘Brother, when you go to visit someone, do not make of your sanctity an insult. The next time you are fasting simply decline any invitations to supper.’

The monk understood what the Abbot meant. From then on, whenever he was with other people, he did as they did.

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