Manuel goes to Paradise

Paulo Coelho

One day our dear, honest, dedicated Manuel ends up dying – as will happen to all the Manuels, Paulos, Marias and Monicas in this life. And here I resort to the words of Henry Drummond, whose brilliant book “The Supreme Gift” describes what happens from this point on:

“All of us at some moment have asked the same question as every other generation: “What is the most important thing in our existence?”

We want to use our days in the best possible way, for nobody else can live our lives for us. So we need to know where we should direct our efforts, what is the supreme objective to be met.

We are used to hearing that the most important treasure in spiritual life is faith. Many centuries of religion rest on this simple word. Do we hold faith to be the most important thing in the world? Well, we are quite wrong.

In his epistle to the Corinthians, chapter XIII, Saint Paul takes us to the early days of Christianity. He ends by saying: “And now abideth faith, hope, charity, these three: but the greatest of these is charity.”

This is not some superficial opinion of the author of these words, Saint Paul. After all, talking about Faith a moment before, in the same letter, he said: “And though I have all faith, so that I could remove mountains, and have not charity, I am nothing.” Paul did not avoid the question; on the contrary, he compared faith and charity and concluded: “(…) the greatest of these is charity.”

Matthew offers us a classic description of the Day of Final Reckoning: the Son of God sits on a throne and like a shepherd separates the goats from the sheep.

At that moment the great question for human beings will not be: “How did I live?” but rather: “How did I love?”

The final test of all quests for salvation will be Love. No account will be taken of what we did, what we believed in, what we achieved. None of this will be asked of us. What we will be asked is how we loved our neighbor. The mistakes we have made will not even be remembered. We will be judged for the good we have failed to do. Because keeping Love locked up within ourselves is to go against the spirit of God, it proves that we never knew Him, that He loved us in vain, and that His Son died to no avail.”

In this case, our Manuel is saved at the moment of his death, because although he never gave any meaning to his life, he was capable of loving, providing for his family, and doing what he did with dignity. However, although it is a happy ending, the rest of his days on earth were very complicated.

Repeating a phrase I heard from Shimon Peres at the World Forum in Davos: “optimist and pessimist both end up dying. But they each use their lives in a completely different manner.”

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Comments

  1. Charmie says:

    Firstly, thank you Paolo for the beautiful words, the beautiful ‘love’ story and Manuel’s happily ever after.

    In my opinion, Manuel lived an empty and sad life.

    In the end it could boil down to simply “How did you love?” But, Manuel would not only be asked how he loved others. Firstly, he would be asked “How did you love God?”

    In the Gospels of Matthew, Mark and Luke, when Jesus was asked by a man how to have eternal life:

    Jesus replied, “What does the law of Moses say? How do you read it?”

    The man answered, “‘You must love the Lord your God with all your heart, all your soul, all your strength, and all your mind.’ And, ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’”

    “Right!” Jesus told him. “Do this and you will live!” (Luke 10 26-28 nlt)

    We love because He first loved us. Jesus died on the cross because he loved us, but first because he loved the Father and Jesus wanted to do His will.

    Salvation should not be our ‘happily ever after’. Eternal life is to know the only true God, and to know Jesus Christ.

    If Manuel really loved, if he only he had a loving relationship with his creator (which is the whole point of Christ’s sacrifice), then his life would have had meaning. He would have been content, happy and at peace.

    Still, in the end, Only God knows.

  2. Mirela Baron says:

    HI LILY! Thank you !

    I want to LOVE HIM! because he gave me LIGHT and LOVE for so long ,and now I wake up….being abel to SEE!!!
    AGAPE!
    Love and Gratitude!

    Mirela(the woman in love)

    PS http://www.myspace.com/mirela baron

  3. Mirela Baron says:

    Now I get it!

    I had to look in the dictionary,but my instinct told me allready that you Quiz again !

    If you didn't noticed …YOUR POOP have allready THE ENTIRE EXLUSIVITY RIGHTS for MY HEAVEN,since 2 month.That's why I am still far away from my h….,even if h. have the instruments to press me!!!

    …and i steel think how to mannage these my beloved mate!

    FOR you LILY myspace.com/mirela baron

    LOVE
    Mirela(the woman in …A very known song from Barbara Straisand )..it is burning me in the fingers to write these since long time!HA,ha

  4. Mirela Baron says:

    Now I get it!

    I had to look in dictionary, but my instinct told me what you want to Quiz again!!!

    If you don”t noticed that before…YOUR POOP,have allready THE ENTIRE EXCLISIVITY RIGHTS ,for my HEAVEN!and that …since two month.Thats why I am steel far away from my h….,and I do not let me under pressure from h…,even if he have the instruments that for!

    Love,
    Mirela( the woman in a very known song of Barbara Straisand)..it s burning me in the fingers to wreit it since long time!!! HA.ha

  5. Lily says:

    You Are so Pretty Mirela!!
    What is your myspace? I’d like to see it…
    and what is it that you want to do Again?

  6. Mirela Baron says:

    Didn’t we agree together…to be lovely to eachother like THE WATER?
    Maybe I have done something good in another life(reincarnation),to be in this life PRETTY!!!

    …and I hope you will help me to do it AGAIN!

    MODESTY,,modesty ,hehe…
    Love,
    mirela(the woman in elevator)

  7. Marie says:

    Il y a une expression qui dit : “le mieux est l’ennemi du bien” mais quand le mieux est sincère, il se suffit à lui-même…la perfection n’étant pas de ce monde !
    Et si le mieux est aussi une facette de l’amour alors il n’y a pas lieu d’avoir un jugement de valeur.

    L’amour ne se met pas dans une petite boite étiquetée, il n’a pas de notice technique non plus !
    L’amour ne se définit pas…il se vit.
    Avec 6,8 milliards de personnes sur cette terre et autant de différences, l’amour a 6,8 milliards de facettes pour s’exprimer.

  8. everyone poops says:

    i erm love being pretty hehe
    is heaven pretty

  9. Mirela Baron says:

    Hi THELMA and LILY!
    I agree with you,and if you like you can see it in a diferent version on my space,as a comentar that I became vor a while!Just MAGIC!

    Sacred Geometry…

    Love,
    Mirela(the woman in elevator)

  10. Lily says:

    Thank you Paul, I believe you are right, to live without guilt is truly a blessing and very liberating!

    Thelma that’s a great song, one of my favorite!
    love
    lily

  11. Marie-Christine says:

    “Rien ne sert de courir,il faut partir a temps” Fables de la Fontaine

  12. aditya says:

    Hi freinds. back again !

    actually it is not even about love to begin with, love is the flower, which will happen on its own, because in a way it has alreday ahppned and that si why we are here.

    what us mortals errrr manuels and marias need to know is that how are we spending our time, on a simple criteria, whether we are living a conscious life or not. are we aware that we exist, till we are aware we are consious. keeping onself busy is an ecellant way of living an uncouoius life. someone who has perfected teh art of awareness can live as busy a life as s/he wants, but for rest of us the moment we are ‘busy’ we loose consiousness or rtaher awareness.

    it’s about mastering time, it’s about being able to live on TOT ( top of time, freshly minted acronym, any takeres ! ) when one matsres living with awareness, it leads to a consious existance, where one is not running behind time, onece one is able to live on TOT, one lives consiously, love is the product of that consious existance. charity, if done for anything other than charity’s sake, other than out of love and love alone, is sin ! love libereates ! from what ! from time ! my freinds !!

    love
    aditya

  13. aditya says:

    what is love ?

    for one it is not about taking it is about giving. that is perhaps why, emphesis is on charity !

    can someone be killed in the name of love, ceratinly not !

    love is humble, patient, non demanding, happy to share ….even if it’s just a smile. love and compassion are same things viewed internally and externally respectively.

    yes …. this whole illusion is created, is sutained so that we may learn to love. love and ambition don’t go hand in hand. one who can go beyond fear and faith both, feels that love.

    love
    aditya

  14. THELMA says:

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Ki9xcDs9jRk
    Dance me to the end of Love by Leonard Cohen.
    Love,
    Thelma.

    1. Beautiful song, thank you Thelma : )

      Much Love to All, Jane : ) xo

  15. Lily says:

    That is a nice story Paulo. Love, it is the most important thing in life. It feeds our souls. A life without love can be very lonely and make us do crazy things. I think maybe this is why Igor killed all those people, because he was lacking love.
    Yet, the reason why it’s hard i think is because manifesting love in our lives is not easy. I mean, we humans do so many things in the name of love, yet a lot of the times, it’s not really love. Say a person is with, lives or gets married to another, for a lot of other reasons besides love, say for example because they are lonely. That’s not Real love, that’s just filling a void. Love is abused in our society. I don’t think we have a clear idea of what love really is.
    And to love and give and show love, in a way, has to be learned like everything else in life. So to manifest love, takes time.
    And even Manuel had a lot of love, did he ever find the freedom he so wished for, I hope so! But I think, if he had love, he is happy!
    love
    lily

  16. Cat says:

    ahem.
    Love is the key
    ;o)

  17. Cat says:

    Love… it’s definitely the greatest of all… it’s powerful… it IS life !

  18. Magi says:

    Faith. Hope . Love. And the greatest of these is Love. But it is so hard to Love. Because of Fear. That’s why we need Hope and so, back to Faith. (The circle again.)

  19. Mariessima says:

    As the Beatles song go: All we need is LOVE. :D

  20. Donda' Lamar says:

    It make much sense, according to the reason why, the great one above created us. Simply, LOVE, which was in the beginning should be the divine standard for determining which gate we will enter into.

  21. Irina Black says:

    Ambiance.We choose ourselves the type of Drama we are going to perform in “the whole Show”.It can be tragedy,drama,melodrama, mystery,comedy,vaudeville,farce.None of them is better or worse in the presence of Love.Without Love the simpliest question can not be answered: What for? Are we here to learn the ABC of Love?

  22. Heart says:

    Judgment Day… Not Guilty/Guilty Day…Free to Go/Prison-time Day.

    If you were arrested for being a believer, would there be enough evidence to ‘convict’ you?

  23. Cat says:

    Faith, Hope, Love… and the greatest of these is LOVE!
    ;o)
    very true.
    both optimists and pessimists love..
    but how their views affect their personal and work relationships IS variable.

    I am happy for Manuel that he can R.I.P.
    ;o)

  24. Alexandra says:

    Great. As a huge coincidence, I was reading a phrase so similar to that cited from Saint Paul. That was written by Mircea Eliade, writer and historian of religions. I try to translate:”The first and only essential duty of the human being is Charity,that is a restless justification of the joy to exist. To make of your life and knowledge a permanent joy – in despite to all the miseries,the darkness,and sins, and disappointments-that is a truly virile duty,a duty of the people and of the humanity thats inside you… I think that goodness is justified and is recognized through joy.I think that goodness is in itself the structure of a humanity that we were awaiting.I think that the biggest sin against the humanity is the desperate sadness raised up to the supreme value of spirituality.”

  25. THELMA says:

    I AM LOVE! I found Paradise on Earth! LOVE ..
    I look into the eye’s of others and feel their ‘true’ emotions.
    I give my .. unconditional LOVE.

    Of course I can love on … Earthly terms. ;]
    I am still in the material World, but the only part of me that will be dressed in immortality is my loving Soul.
    LOVE,
    THELMA x

  26. Elaine says:

    Acho que não se deve acreditar muito quando ouvimos alguém dizer ser muito bem resolvido em relação a sua própria morte. Todos temos medo, porque por mais que nossa fé nos mostre o contrário, haverá este momento final em que depararemos com a verdade. E se ela não for o que esperávamos? E se simplesmente acabarmos, for o fim, o escuro total?
    A fé nos ensina a ouvir nosso coração, que parece bem mais sábio que nós mesmos…e essa sabedoria deve vir de algum lugar, ou não…rs
    O amor é o maior de todos os mandamentos de Deus. Sob todas as suas formas. Penso, na minha existência, percorrer um caminho sobretudo de amor. É a velha história de que mais vale o que se percorreu no caminho do que o destino do mesmo. Deus deve pensar assim tb.

  27. Mirela Baron says:

    That’s why I LOVE MANUEL!

    LOVE AND GRATITUDE for the MISTERY!

    MIRELA(the woman in elevator)