One morning, a farmer knocked loudly on the door of the monastery.
When Brother Porter opened the door,
the farmer held out to him a magnificent bunch of grapes.

"Dear Brother Porter, these are the finest grapes from my vineyard.
Please accept them as a gift from me."

"Why, thank you! I'll take them straight to the Abbot,
who will be thrilled with such a gift."

"No, no. I brought them for you."

"For me? But I don't deserve such a beautiful gift from nature."

"Whenever I knocked on the door, you opened it.
When the harvest had been ruined by drought,
you gave me a piece of bread and a glass of wine every day.
I want this bunch of grapes to bring you a little of the sun's love,
the rain's beauty and God's miraculous power."

Brother Porter put the grapes down where he could see them
and spent the whole morning admiring them: they really were lovely.
Because of this, he decided to give the present to the Abbot,
whose words of wisdom had always been such a boon to him.

The Abbot was very pleased with the grapes,
but then he remembered that one of the other monks was ill and thought:
"I'll give him the grapes.
Who knows they might bring a little joy into his life."

But the grapes did not remain for very long in the room of the ailing monk,
for he in turn thought:
"Brother Cook has taken such good care of me,
giving me only the very best food to eat.
I'm sure these grapes will bring him a great happiness."
And when Brother Cook brought him his lunch,
the monk gave him the grapes.

"These are for you.
You are in close touch with the gifts Nature gives us,
and will know what to do with this, God's produce."

Brother Cook was amazed at the beauty of the grapes
and drew his assistant's attention to their perfection.
They were so perfect that no one could possible appreciate them more than Brother Sacristan,
who had charge of the Holy Sacrament
and whom many in the monastery considered to be a truly saintly man.

Brother Sacristan, in turn,
gave the grapes to the youngest of the novices
in order to help him understand that God's work
is to be found in the smallest details of the Creation.
When the novice received them,
his heart was filled with the Glory of God,
because he had never before seen such a beautiful bunch of grapes.
At the same time
he remembered the day he had arrived at the monastery
and the person who had opened the door to him;
that gesture of opening the door
had allowed him to be there now
in that community of people who knew the value of miracles.

Shortly before dark,
he took the bunch of grapes to Brother Porter.

"Eat and enjoy.
You spend most of your time here all alone,
and these grapes will do you good."

Brother Porter understood then that the gift
really was intended for him;
he savoured every grape and went to sleep a happy man.

In this way, the circle was closed;
the circle of happiness and joy
which always wraps around
those who are in contact with the energy of love.





Footnote
A wisdom story taken from "Zahir" by Paulo Coelho
His website - should you wish to visit

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