Paulo Coelho

Stories & Reflections

Our Lady’s juggler

Author: Paulo Coelho

By Paulo Coelho

According to a medieval legend, Our Lady, with the Baby Jesus in her arms, decided to come down to Earth to visit a monastery.
Feeling very proud, the monks formed a long line and each stood in turn before the Virgin, wanting to pay tribute to mother and son. One read out some beautiful poems, others showed the illuminations they had made for the Bible, a third recited the names of all the saints. And so it went on, with monk after monk displaying his talent and his devotion.
Bringing up the rear was the most humble monk in the monastery, who had never read the learned texts of the age. His parents had been simple folk who had worked in a local circus, and the only thing they had taught him was to do a few juggling tricks with balls.
When it came to his turn, the other monks wanted to bring the tributes to a close because the former juggler had nothing important to say and might spoil the monastery’s image.
However, deep in his heart, he too felt a great need to give something of himself to Jesus and to the Virgin.
Greatly embarrassed and feeling his brothers’ disapproving eyes on him, he took a few oranges out of his pocket and began juggling with them, since it was the only thing he knew how to do.
It was then that the Baby Jesus smiled and began to clap his hands, as he sat in Our Lady’s lap. And it was to this monk that the Virgin held out her arms and allowed him to hold the child for a moment.

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