The Silent Monk

August 12, 2016 pwm1

A man enters a strict monastery. On his first day the abbot says, “You’ll be able to speak only two words every five years. Do you understand?” The novice nods and goes away.

Five years later the abbot calls him into his office. “Brother,” he says, “You’ve done well these last five years. What would you like to say?”

And the monk says, “Food cold!”

“Oh, I’m sorry,” says the abbot. “We’ll fix that immediately.”

Five years later the monk returns to the abbot.

“Welcome, Brother,” says the abbot. “What would you like to tell me after ten years?”

And the monk says, “Bed hard!”

And the abbot says, “Oh, I’m so sorry. We’ll fix that right away.”

Then after another five years the two meet. The abbot says, “Well, Brother you’ve been here fifteen years. What two words would you like to say?”

“I’m leaving,” he says.

And the abbot says, “Well, I’m not surprised. You’ve done nothing but complain since you got here!”

Monk holding a wooden cross in front of the old walls

—Martin, S.J., J. (2011). Between Heaven and mirth. New York, NY: HarperCollins Publishers.


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