The Messiah at the Monastery

Here is an awesome tale shared recently by my online friend Mo. I need add no further commentary:


Once a great order, a decaying monastery had only five monks left. The order was dying. In the surrounding deep woods, there was a little hut that a Rabbi from a nearby town used from time to time. The monks always knew the Rabbi was home when they saw the smoke from his fire rise above the tree tops. As the Abbot agonized over the imminent death of his order, it occurred to him to ask the Rabbi if he could offer any advice that might save the monastery.

The Rabbi welcomed the Abbot at his hut. When the Abbot explained the reason for his visit, the Rabbi could only commiserate with him. “I know how it is,” he exclaimed. “The spirit has gone out of the people. It is the same in my town. Almost no one comes to the synagogue anymore.” So the Abbot and the Rabbi sat together discussing the Bible and their faiths. The time came when the Abbot had to leave. “It has been a wonderful visit,” said the Abbot, “but I have failed in my purpose. Is there nothing you can tell me to help save my dying order?”

“The only thing I can tell you,” said the Rabbi, “is that the Messiah is among you.”

When the Abbot returned to the monastery, his fellow monks gathered around him and asked, “What did the Rabbi say?” “He couldn’t help,” the Abbot answered. “The only thing he did say, as I was leaving was that the Messiah is among us. Though I do not know what these words mean.”

In the months that followed, the monks pondered this and wondered whether there was any possible significance to the Rabbi’s words: The Messiah is among us? Could he possibly have meant that the Messiah is one of us monks here at the monastery? If that’s the case, which one of us is the Messiah? Do you suppose he meant the Abbot? Yes, if he meant anyone, he probably meant Father Abbot. Certainly he could not have meant Brother Elred! Elred gets crotchety at times. But come to think of it, even so, Elred is virtually always right. Maybe the rabbi did mean Brother Elred. Of course the Rabbi didn’t mean me. He couldn’t possibly have meant me. I’m just an ordinary person. Yet supposing he did? Suppose I am the Messiah?

As they contemplated in this manner, the monks began to treat each other with extraordinary respect on the off chance that one among them might be the Messiah and in turn, each monk began to treat himself with extraordinary respect.

It so happened that people still occasionally came to visit the beautiful forest and monastery. Without even being conscious of it, visitors began to sense a powerful spiritual aura. They were sensing the extraordinary respect that now filled the monastery. Hardly knowing why, people began to come to the monastery frequently to picnic, to play, and to pray. They began to bring their friends, and their friends brought their friends. Then it happened that some of the younger men who came to visit the monastery started to talk more and more with the older monks. After a while, one asked if he could join them. Then, another and another asked if they too could join the abbot and older monks. Within a few years, the monastery once again became a thriving order, a vibrant center of light and spirituality in the realm.

– Author Unknown: Adapted from the Different Drum: Community Making and Peace by Dr. M. Scott Peck*

*Yes, the same Scott Peck whose work I shared so extensively in my series on Spiritual Growth

2 thoughts on “The Messiah at the Monastery

  1. There are a million different ways in which communities are gathered together but in every instance there has to be a Leader.
    Leadership requires a new approach for every generation, because nothing remains the same, everything changes within the due course of Evolution. Not always for the good.
    I have agonised over the extent of cruelty in the World today, and I have worked to put an end to it. Hopefully my efforts will prove helpful in the near future. Meanwhile I would like to share my thoughts with you, I write in rhyme because it is easier for me to express my thoughts in this manner.

    One Nation, clever Country, computer literate
    Civilized, organised, politically correct
    A button pushing army never breaking ranks
    On the Information Highway to the data banks
    The Information Highway is a street paved with gold
    Where real street kids are banned, left out in the cold
    Not for them the luxury of numeracy and literacy
    For them the raw reality of prostitution and brutality
    One Nation’s not the answer, every man must have a goal
    A personal ambition to satisfy the soul
    Death is not the door to Heaven, death is history
    The future follows death with relentless certainty
    The seeds of life planted, the seeds of thought sown
    Are the Heaven and Hell created by each of us alone
    If there’s to be a Heaven it must be here on Earth
    Created by Humanity and handed down at Birth
    Then if by chance we see someone living in Hell on Earth
    What we do then to create Heaven is the measure of our worth

    1. Thanks Joyce, I think that’s the first time anyone has put rhyming prose on the comments! I really appreciate the contribution and the work you have put in on it 🙂

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