Paulo Coelho

Stories & Reflections

Today’s Question by the reader :Aguri

Author: Paulo Coelho

How was your childhood? We know that you have entered Jesuits school at the age of 7 but had a question toward religion at one time in your life. Would you please tell us about the question and the pain you had?

My family was very strict and my father sent me to the Jesuit school so that I could have real discipline. The chains of rigor were so heavy throughout my youth that very quickly I started to doubt this religion that showed no mercy, only constraint and suffering. I remember being obliged to attend mess and the constant threats of hell in the mouth of the priests. Everything was sin, everything was forbidden, joy was ruled out.

I think that my rebellion was what saved me: I doubted about Catholicism, and felt that I must try something new. Later on, in my teenager years, I became a hippie. During this time, I traveled a lot, met people of different backgrounds, and had learnt different paths to come closer to spirituality. I started to see other paths and started to see that my own religion wasn’t restricted to the Jesuit perception.

After I did a pilgrimage to Santiago de Compostela, I returned to the Catholic faith – just because it is in my blood, not because it is the best religion. I don’t think you can put God in a church. God is everywhere. All religions have advantages and disadvantages. God is–as William Blake said–in a grain of sand and in a flower. This energy is everywhere.

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