Stories & Reflections
By Paulo Coelho
When angels talk
Nobody is courageous all the time. The unknown is a constant challenge, and being afraid is part of the journey.
What to do? Talk to yourself. Talk alone. Talk to yourself even if others think you have gone crazy. As we talk, an inner force gives us the security to overcome the obstacles that need to be surmounted. We learn lessons from the defeats that we are bound to suffer. And we prepare ourselves for the many victories that will be part of our life.
And just between you and me, those who have this habit (and I’m one of them) know that they never talk alone: the guardian angel is there, listening and helping us to reflect. What follows are some stories about angels.
Conversation in heaven
Abd Mubarak was on his way to Mecca when one night he dreamed that he was in heaven and heard two angels having a conversation.
“How many pilgrims came to the holy city this year?” one of them asked.
“Six hundred thousand”, answered the other.
“And how many of them had their pilgrimage accepted?”
“None of them. However, in Baghdad there is a shoemaker called Ali Mufiq who did not make the pilgrimage, but did have his pilgrimage accepted, and his graces benefited the 600,000 pilgrims”.
When he woke up, Abd Mubarak went to Mufiq’s shoe shop and told him his dream.
“At great cost and much sacrifice, I finally managed to get 350 coins together”, the shoemaker said in tears. “But then, when I was ready to go to Mecca I discovered that my neighbors were hungry, so I distributed the money among them and gave up my pilgrimage”.
The beggar and the monk
A monk was meditating in the desert when a beggar came up to him and said:
“I need to eat”.
The monk – who was almost reaching the point of perfect harmony with the spiritual world – did not answer.
“I need to eat”, insisted the beggar.
“Go to the town and ask someone else. Can’t you see that you are bothering me? I am trying to communicate with the angels”.
“God placed himself lower than men, washed their feet, gave His life, and no-one recognized Him”, the beggar replied. “He who says he loves God – who does not see – and forgets his brother – who does – is lying”.
And the beggar turned into an angel.
“What a pity, you almost made it”, he remarked before leaving.
Condemning one’s brother
Abbot Isaac of Thebes was in the patio of the monastery praying when he saw one of the monks commit a sin. Furious, he interrupted his prayers and condemned the sinner.
That night he was prevented from returning to his cell by an angel who said to him: “you condemned your brother, but you did not say what punishment we should inflict: the pains of hell? Some terrible disease in this life? Some torment in his family?”
Isaac knelt down and asked for pardon: “I tossed the words in the air, and an angel heard them. I sinned by being irresponsible for what I said. Forget my ire, Lord, and make me take greater care in judging my neighbor”.
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