By Paulo Coelho
Abbot João Pequeno thought: ‘I’m tired of being a mere man, I should be like the angels who do nothing but contemplate the glory of God.’ That night, he left the monastery of Sceta and set off into the desert.
A week later, he came back to the monastery. Brother Gatekeeper heard him knocking and asked who it was.
‘It’s Abbot João,’ he replied. ‘I’m hungry.’
‘That’s not possible,’ said Brother Gatekeeper. ‘Abbot João is in the desert, transforming himself into an angel. He no longer feels hunger and has no need to work for his food.’
‘Forgive my arrogance,’ replied Abbot João. ‘The angels help humanity, that is their job; that is why they do not need to eat, but merely to contemplate. But I am a man, and the only way in which I can contemplate that same glory is by doing what the angels do and help my fellow human beings. Fasting won’t get me anywhere.’
Hearing this humble explanation, Brother Gatekeeper opened the gate of the monastery.
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