From my Desk

The Messiah is among you
There is a story about a certain monastery that was going through a time of crisis. Some of the monks had left the monastery; no new candidates joined them in years; and people were no longer coming for prayer and spiritual direction as they used to. The few monks that remained became old, depressed and bitter in their relationship with one another. But, the abbot heard about a holy man; a hermit living alone in the woods and decided to consult him. He told the hermit how bad things had become and that only seven old monks remained. Praying on this, the hermit told the abbot that he has a secret for him: one of the monks currently living in his monastery was actually the Messiah, but He was living in such a way that no one could recognize Him.

With this revelation the abbot returned to his monastery, and recounted what the holy hermit told him to the community. The aging monks looked at each other in disbelief, trying to discern who among them could be the Christ. Could it be Brother Mark who prays all the time? But he has a holier-than-thou attitude toward others. Could it be Bother Joseph who is always ready to help? But he is always eating and cannot fast. The abbot reminded them that the Messiah had adopted some bad habits as a way of disguising His true identity. This only made them more confused and they could not figure out who was Christ among them. At the end of the meeting what each one knew for sure was that any of the monks, excepting himself, could be Christ.

From that day the monks began to treat one another with greater respect and humility, knowing that the person they were speaking to could, in fact, be Christ. They began to show more love for one another, their common life became more brotherly and their common prayer more fervent. Slowly people began to take notice of the new spirit in the monastery and began coming back for retreats and spiritual direction. Word began to spread and, before you know it, candidates began to show up and the monastery began to grow again in number as the monks grew in zeal and holiness. All this because a man of God drew their attention to a simple truth: that Christ was living in their midst as one of them.