The path that leads to heaven

By Paulo Coelho

When they asked Abbot Antonio if the path of sacrifice led to heaven, he answered:

- There are two paths of sacrifice. The first is taken by the man who mortifies the flesh and pays penance because he believes that we are condemned. The man who follows this path feels guilty and judges himself unworthy of living happily.

- The second path is taken by the man who, even though he knows that the world is not as perfect as we would like, prays, does penance and offers up his time and toil to improve the world around him. So he understands that the word sacrifice comes from sacro ofício, holy work. In this case the Divine Presence helps him all the time and he obtains results in heaven.”

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Comments

  1. Alexandra says:

    Definitely better the second choice.I think God being good does not need us to suffer in vain.Thats why i strongly disagree with the excessess of some religions,or fanatics.

  2. Marie-Christine says:

    sacro oficio = holy work

  3. sido says:

    Hello Savita vega the traduction (+/-)

    ( If you do not speak French, look for a site of on-line translator and make one copied / stuck, and you can translate French and better understand)

    The meetings are not made at random.
    What is written has to come true: Maktub
    since every girl I know it: I am satisfied to get acquainted, infinitely Delighted

    You know, as you seen the film “mission”, then you can understand(include) this: when Robert de Niro, having killed his brother that he loved by top everything, isolates himself in a room to punish for wishing (mortify) I believe that it is because he had not seen what He could make of better to forgive itself, and he had lost the sense(direction) of his acts of his life, his road of life (no light to Light(Enlighten) him)
    And when arrives the Jesuit who suggests him accompanying him and what there is another way for the forgiveness: the life, the others, the life with the others, the love for the others in the action(share), to live to Improve the world around him and also to make be reborn in him ya another road than chosen God one for him, it is necessary to rely and to follow it)

    You see it is 2 roads that you as lived and understood, and they are 2 roads about which speaks the abbot Antonio

    We can sacrifice our life but not in the sense to waste and not collect(harvest) fruits of
    it is necessary to give, to donate a moment of life: the gift, the gift of love is not a sacrifice, he is carrier of life… it develops, to improve its world And thus the world around him too much isolation in the reality does not allow the blooming: it is necessary to have a just balance enter to get fresh ideas inside to be able to “give” outside Too much isolation to the reality does not allow the blooming: it is necessary to have a just balance between Get fresh ideas inside to be able to “give” outside but it is necessary to learn from 2 roads so that they are the best guide

    Your soul is pure and the lit(enlightened) road will be for you , always guard faith in you

    sido

  4. catforsley says:

    i meant NO wonder we die…….:)

  5. catforsley says:

    How to follow the path to heaven?
    The path to Heaven is so very simple – thru my eyes-
    see with Your heart
    acknowledge LOVE in everything, everyone…
    Yes our bodies are just journeying in this Life
    vessels, vehicles= carrying OUR souls
    What a job for the Body
    Bo wonder we die
    The soul wants to jump out and fly
    We are so much bigger and smaller than our bodies give us credit for….
    HEAVEN = 100% LOVE
    No fear in death – as it is just another “rite” of LIFE

    …”what dreams may come”
    i look forward to the journey in my human shell-body-
    but can just imagine what it would like to be free!!!!

    ALL LOVE=cat

  6. Paula from U.S. says:

    I feel amused by this quote, since I was raised by a catholic mother that believed in the first (though her “sacrifice” was not flesh, was emotional, she tortured herself into believing she would never be worthy of being happy). The second route is what I was taught by my current religion. Faith, Hope and Charity, and Charity is the biggest one… charity is the pure of love of Christ manifested through our actions. It is not pity, it is pure love divine. A love that moves us to act, to perform a “holy work” or “sacro oficio”… and makes us feel one with Divinity, in spite of our human flaws and weaknesses. It is this love that makes up for all these and we are perfected through this type of pure loving service. :D

  7. Savita Vega says:

    Dear sido,

    I think it’s time I learn French. Your post gives me the perfect text on which to practice.

    Thanks!
    Savita

  8. sido says:

    bonjour Savita vega

    (si tu ne parles pas français ,cherche un site de traducteur en ligne et fais un copié / collé , et tu peux traduire le français et mieux comprendre )

    les rencontres ne se font pas au hasard …
    ce qui est écrit doit se réaliser : maktub …
    depuis toute petite je sais cela : je suis contente de faire ta connaissance , infiniment ravie

    tu sais , tu as vu le film “mission” alors tu peux comprendre ceci :
    quand Robert de Niro , après avoir tué son frère qu’il aimait par dessus tout , s’isole dans une pièce pour désirer se punir ( se mortifier ) je crois que c’est parce qu’il n’avait pas vu ce qu’il pouvait faire de mieux pour se pardonner, et il avait perdu le sens de ses actes de sa vie , de son chemin de vie ( pas de lumière pour l’éclairer )
    et quand arrive le jésuite qui lui propose de l’accompagner et qu’il existe une autre voie pour le pardon : la vie , les autres , la vie avec les autres , l’amour pour les autres dans l’action , vivre pour améliorer le monde autour de lui et donc aussi faire renaître en lui (il y a un autre chemin que dieu a choisi pour lui , il faut faire confiance et le suivre )

    tu vois ce sont les 2 chemins que tu as vécu et compris , et ce sont les 2 chemins dont parle l’abbé Antonio

    on peut sacrifier sa vie mais pas au sens de gâcher et ne pas récolter de fruits
    il faut donner , faire un don d’un moment de vie : le don , le don d’amour n’est pas un sacrifice , il est porteur de vie … il fait évoluer, améliorer son monde et donc le monde autour de lui
    trop d’isolement à la réalité ne permet pas l’épanouissement : il faut avoir un juste équilibre entre se ressourcer intérieurement pour pouvoir “donner” à l’extérieur
    mais il faut tirer les leçons des 2 chemins pour qu’ils soient le meilleur guide
    ton âme est pur et le chemin te sera éclairé , garde foi toujours en toi

  9. Adina says:

    Savita,

    You are SO right! It’s about ego. The real work is here, amongst regular people. THIS is the real challenge.

    I think in the past people did not have so developed the consciounsness of self-sacriffice and the easiest way perhaps for them was to sacriffy the body, more then to sacriffy their own egoistical thoughts, dreams, desires, or they didn’t know how to discipline their body pleasures but making it suffer.

    Today some people hate their body because it doesn’t let their soul to be completely free and pure. So they make it suffer.

    But we all know that our body is our temple. Is the soul temple and yes, it is very useful in this world. As Thelma has said, the body is designed to offer us through all our 5 senses the beauty of God’s creation on the Earth.

    I think you can meet God in your soul even if you have a healthy or ill body, slim or overweigth, in monastery or in the prison…

    And we shouldn’t punish ourselves so hard for every mistake. That’s how we learn, from mistakes. How can we otherwise differentiate good from bad if not doing mistakes from time to time…That’s how we are. If we all were allready angels, we would all be in haven by now. We can be more precious in God’s eyes than angels, believe me, because we pass “life exams”, we suffer, we are limitated and try to do more then we can, and we sacriffice ourselves. We do not have angels powers or wings (yet), but we live this life, so many times a difficult life and we fight with our body and our bad feelings…We fight all the time.

    That’s why I dare to think we can get higher then angels. Just because we do mistakes. So, love yourself!

  10. Savita Vega says:

    Dear sido,

    My French is very little, but I can read enough to see that we are on the same page with our thoughts today. Earlier, I entered a post in the “quote” section of this blog and talked at length about the film “The Mission.” Now, I come here, to this section, and what do I see?! – the first response to “The path that leads to heaven,” your response, talking also about that same film! Wow!

    In reference to Paulo’s post about the two paths, I’d like to talk a bit about a very special period in my life that I spent in a monastery, a Hindu monastery, but a monastery just the same. You see – when I was there, I knew that I was where I was supposed to be. I knew that it was Divine will that I be where I was, doing what I was doing, learning the lessons I was learning, during that time. However, many of the lessons I took away with me from that experience were not the lessons I might have expected to learn:

    During those years, I, like many others, spent much time praying, saying jappa (the equivalent of the Catholic rosary), doing various forms of physical penance and mortification of the body – fasting, sometimes for days on end, sitting in silence, going without sleep, sleeping for years on the floor, waking basically in the middle of the night for prayers, etc. – and these undertakings were not without their spiritual rewards. However, there came a time when I began to question this path, because I began to see that, at least in some cases, such efforts only enhance the ego rather than negate its hold on a person.

    What really drove this suspicion home to me and exemplified it in reality was an occurrence that took place the day after my daughter was born. She was born at home, with midwives, so there was no hospital stay involved. So, the day after she was born, a good friend of mind, also a “monk” at the monastery came to see the baby and extend her blessings. (To clarify: I use “monk” for lack of a better term, though to clarify, in Hinduism, there are two kinds of “monks,” celibate monks and householder monks. I was, obviously, of the latter persuasion.) Now, this was a woman extremely dedicated to the spiritual path for many years of her life, and who, according to her own estimation, which she had shared with me, was very near to reaching the state of “enlightenment.” So, according to her, she was very “advanced” spiritually. Where I lived at the time, was in a high-rise apartment in downtown Miami, on the edge of a very poor neighborhood and only about a block from the largest homeless shelter and food kitchen in the city. Homeless would sleep on the streets all in front of this place, awaiting each day the distribution of food. My apartment complex itself was not at all “dangerous,” first of all, because these people posed no real “threat” as I could see. Secondly, because it was necessary in my building, as in many such high-rises, to pass through security in order to enter the complex. Let me also say that I chose where I lived with absolute awareness of the adjoining neighborhoods and the homeless who frequented the streets surrounding it. At the time, all throughout the nine months of my pregnancy, I spent a great deal of my time working with a Buddhist organization that distributed food to the homeless. Every day I would bake, usually biscuits – a sort of pastry – sometimes spiced, sometimes filled with cheese and or meat, and at the end of the day, a young lady from the Buddhist monastery would come by my apartment and pick up the dozens of hot biscuits to distribute them on the street. She took them in a van and drove around, throughout the city, to places where homeless were known to sleep, such as under bridges and the like, especially trying to connect with those who, due to various mental illnesses, shied away from the public soup kitchens where meals were served. Anyway, that is why I lived where I lived. It was not accidental, but quite on purpose. However, this friend of mind, the “monk” from the ashram, had never been to my house. When she arrived that day, to see my newborn daughter, she was both enraged and quite visibly shaken. On the drive to my apartment, she had passed right in front of the soup kitchen down the street, right by the homeless stretched out on flattened cardboard boxes, past the beggars on the corner (at which she told me she had quickly locked her car doors in fear). Her response to the whole scene: she could not believe that I lived in this “hellhole,” surrounded by these kinds of people. What was I thinking. It was such a bad environment in which to bring a child into the world. In her view, it was as much a question of the “negative energy” I was surrounding myself with and exposing both myself and my child to as it was a question of the “danger.” In her estimation, it was a very “unspiritual” setting, one that I should attempt to leave from immediately. In essence, she was appalled! Horrified! that I would chose to live where I lived.

    After that, she never came to my house again. She refused to visit until I moved. Eventually I did move, to a place where the rent was cheaper, and she did then come to visit. However, by then I had reached my own conclusions as to the nature of the spiritual path which leads to Heaven/Nirvana/Enlightenment. I had concluded that too much self-mortification and too much isolation from reality (which can often be the case in monasteries) only causes the ego to swell. It is the daily interaction with real people and with their struggles that enables us to truly grow and evolve spiritually. It is those little efforts – those little sacrifices of daily life – that are the true “holy work.” It is good to pray, to say the rosary (or jappa), even to fast on occasion or undertake a vow of silence for a time – all of these things can encourage the evolution of the soul – but, in the end, without doing works in the real world, these efforts are meaningless and essentially self-centered.

    Sincerely,
    And with much love,
    Savita

  11. Alexandra says:

    Definitely better the second choice.I think God being good does not need us to suffer in vain.Thats why i strongly disagree with the excessess of some religions,or fanatics.

  12. THELMA says:

    Our bodies are the ‘vehicles’ that we pass through the material world. Through our five senses, we experience life and proceed to our Path. The beauty of Nature and of other people, is experienced and appreciated, by our judgement which is based on the five senses but on Intuition too.
    We live for a reason and in order to learn. To learn from our mistakes and through Love. If we love, we do not consider that offering our whole being to the .. service of others is a … sacrifice. It is the natural act of Giving that has its natural home in our Hearts and it comes directly from the Universal love, from the Sun that shines on every human being incarnated.
    Love,
    Thelma

  13. sido says:

    c’est pourquoi la pénitence peut être rédemptrice . mais le plus important c’est le regard que l’on porte à cela et si chacun regardait le monde avec un nouveau regard , il pourrait voir ce qu’est le monde et son rôle à jouer
    un film cher à mon coeur : Le film “mission” de Roland Joffre avec Robert DeNiro ilustre bien les 2 voies de sacrifices dont parle l’abbé Antonio ( un film cher à mon coeur ) si vous avez pu le voir ; le voir en entier peut éclairer cela mais sinon en voici de extraits sur dailymotion
    http://www.dailymotion.com/video/x2o7te_mission-trailer_shortfilms
    http://www.dailymotion.com/video/x1ktum_mission_shortfilms