Posted by: Leah | October 16, 2006

The Hermit’s Gift

This was an email I got a long time ago. I just wanted to post it today for inspiration.

Adapted from M. Scott Peck, The Different Drum, Simon & Schuster,1988

There was once an old monastery that had fallen upon hard times. It had been a thriving monastery. Now only five monks lived there and all were over seventy years old.

A few miles from the monastery lived an old hermit who many thought was a prophet. As the monks agonized over the demise of their order, they decided to visit the hermit. Perhaps he would be able to see the future.

“No, I’m sorry,” said the hermit, “I don’t know how your monastery can be saved. The only thing that I can tell you is that one of you is an apostle of God.”

The monks were disappointed and confused by the hermit’s cryptic statement. They pondered the significance of the hermit’s words.

“One of us is an apostle of God,” they mused, “That’s impossible. We are all too old, too insignificant. If it is true, which one of us is it? Did he mean the abbot, our leader for more than a generation? Or, Brother Thomas, a man of wisdom and light. He couldn’t have meant Brother Elred who gets crotchety and is difficult to reason with. But, he is almost always right. Or Brother Phillip who is so passive, so shy, a real nobody. Still, he’s always there when you need him. Of course, the hermit didn’t mean me. I’m just an ordinary person. Yet, suppose he did? Suppose I am an apostle of God.”

The old monks began to treat each other with extraordinary respect On the chance that one of them might actually be an apostle of God. And on the chance that each monk himself might be the apostle, each monk began to treat himself with extraordinary respect.

Because the monastery was situated in a beautiful forest, many people came there to picnic and to go to the chapel. They sensed the aura of extraordinary respect that now began to surround the five old monks and permeate the atmosphere of the place.

There was something strangely compelling about it. People began to come back to the monastery more frequently. They began to bring friends.

Some younger men started to talk with the old monks. One asked if he could join them. Then another. Within a few years, the monastery had once again become a thriving order and, thanks to the hermit’s gift, a vibrant center of light and spirituality throughout the realm.

Sometimes, just like the old monks, we ask, “How can we get some
new life?” Perhaps the answer has to do with how we regard each other. How do we treat each other? Are we always putting each other down and creating an atmosphere of criticism and negativism? Or are we treating each other with extraordinary dignity and respect? There is One Who treats us all with dignity. He went so far as to give His life for us.

Shared by Joe Gatuslao



  1. nice! :)

  2. This is a nice story, Leah.

    I had been burdened with work lately. So much so that I hardly smile at work and I realized it was affecting everybody else. I now smile as often as I can. Problem is, my boss often wonders what I’m up to. hehehe

  3. quite true.

    God said love our neighboor as you love ourselves

  4. very inspirational story, thanks for sharing Leah.

    btw, it’s an honor to have you in my blog. maraming salamat sa pagbisita. =)


  5. hello all,
    the story is definiely a good one, kaya nga worth posting di ba?

    ralph, thanks

    watson, keep smiling (who cares!)

    iskoo, i agree

    ligaya, thanks for dropping by as well. Fell free to come back anytime.

  6. Indeed a nice story and it makes us think how we should live our life, treat others with full respect and be thankful to the “ONE UP THERE who treated us all with dignity, went so far as to give His life for us”.

  7. I linked to this posting when I googled “hermit’s gift.” In the interest of giving credit where credit’s due, it is indeed adapted from M. Scott Peck’s “The Different Drum,” but this adaptation is from “Hot Illustrations for Youth Talks” by Wayne Rice (from Youth Secialties). The whole thing is quoted verbatim.

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