If All Else Fails, Try The Obvious

The guru was meditating in his shed when he opened his eyes and saw there in front of him the superior of a well known friary.

“What did you come here for? What are you looking for?” he asked him.

The superior related to him the hard story of his convent – how once this convent was famous in all the country, many vocations, the liturgy chant would fill the church with heavenly music.

But now hard times came over the convent: vocations next to nothing, the monks were all elderly, the music faded away, the few monks that were left would drag their feet and they keep carrying out their work with a heavy heart. They had no hope left.

“I would like to know what happened to us. Perhaps we are suffering the consequences of some sin we have committed. You are a wise man. Can you help us?” the superior asked.

“I think I can,” replied the guru dryly. “You have committed one grave offence, the sin of ignorance!”

“What do you mean?”

“One of you is the Messiah and you have not recognised him. The Messiah lives concealed in one of your monks and you have not realised this.”

The guru closed his eyes and did not say another word.

Walking back to the convent, the superior’s heart was beating rapidly. The Messiah, the Messiah himself has left heaven to live right in our convent! This is great! But how is it possible that we did not recognise him? But above all, the big question – who could he be?

Could it be the cook, perhaps? The sacristan? The bursar? The gardener? No, surely not him… he is full of flaws! But the guru told me explicitly that he is hidden in one of us. Maybe the defects themselves are the camouflage he is using to hide his identity!

When he reached the convent, the superior gathered all the community and gave them this splendid news that the Messiah himself has come back from heaven and is living amongst them. They looked at each other stunningly. The Messiah? Here? How can it be? But this is what the guru told us. So he is surely here. Veiled. Concealed. Who could he be? Perhaps that one, or the other one, or the other one, or…

One thing is sure. Since he has decided to hide himself from us, we surely would not be able to recognize him. So they started treating each other with great respect, compassion and love. “You never know…” they would tell each other, “may be he is the one…”

They never did recognise the Messiah. But the convent’s atmosphere changed from day to night. Happiness came back in. Love was felt. Vocations blossomed once more. The Church was filled with music. The convent came back to life.

Because, it’s true, sometimes we miss the obvious. We get so consumed by everything around us we forget the basics. I am always fooled by riddles. And, when I hear the answer to the riddle, I usually say something like “duh.” I can’t believe the answer was so simple

What are we using our eyes for if we fail to see the obvious?


(c) Fr. Pius Sammut, OCD. Permission is hereby granted for any non-commercial use, provided that the content is unaltered from its original state, if this copyright notice is included.