A farmer knocked heavily at a convent’s door. When the brother doorkeeper opened the door, the farmer stretched out a magnificent bunch of grapes to him. “Dear brother doorkeeper, these are the most beautiful grapes produced in my vineyard. And I come here to give them to you as a gift,” said the farmer.
“No. I brought them for you,” said the farmer.
“For me?” The doorkeeper turned red because he thought he didn’t deserve such beautiful gift of nature. “Yes!” the farmer insisted, “Because whenever I knock at this door, you open it. Whenever I needed your help because of the harvest being destroyed by drought, you gave me a piece of bread and a cup of wine. I want this bunch of grapes to bring you a little of the sun’s love, of the rain’s beauty and of God’s miracle, as He made it grow so beautifully.”
The doorkeeper placed the bunch of grapes in front of him and spent the morning admiring it. As the bunch of grapes was really gorgeous, he decided to give it to the Abbot as a gift, who had always stimulated him with words of wisdom. The Abbot was very happy about the grapes, but remembered that there was a brother who was sick at the convent, and thought, “I will give him the grape bunch. Who knows, it might bring some joy to his life.” And so he did. However, the grapes didn’t stay very long with the sick brother, because he thought, “Brother cook has been taking care of me for so long, nourishing me with the best there is. I am sure he will appreciate it.”
When brother cook brought his meal at the lunch time, he gave him the grapes. “They are yours,” said the sick brother, “as you are always in contact with the produce that nature offers; you will know what to do with this work of God.” Brother cook was fascinated by the beauty of the bunch. So perfect, he thought, that there is no one better to prize them as brother Sacristan; as he was responsible for the guard of the Blessed Sacrament and many at the monastery saw him as a holy man; he would be able to value the marvel of nature.
The brother, on his turn, gave the grapes as a gift to the youngest novice, so that he could understand that God’s work is found in the smallest details of creation. When the novice received it, his heart filled with the glory of the Lord, because he had never seen such a beautiful bunch of grapes. At the same moment, he remembered the first time he came to the monastery and the person who opened the door to him; it was this gesture that allowed him to be in that community of people who knew how to value miracles today. Before the nightfall, he took the grape bunch to brother doorkeeper. “Eat it and enjoy it,” he said. “Because you spend most of your time here alone and these grapes will make you very happy.”
The doorkeeper understood that the gift had really been destined to be with him, so he savoured each grape of that bunch and slept happily. The circle was closed — the circle of happiness and joy, which always stretches out around the generous people.
- by PAULO COELHO