Posts Tagged ‘Melk’

Paulo Coelho – St Joseph’s Day – Melk – 19 March 2010

February 14, 2011

It is a tradition of Brazilian writer Paulo Coelho to hold a party on St Joseph’s Day to celebrate his good fortune. Last year the party was held at Melk Abbey in Austria, an important Benedictine Abbey in Austria. I had the honour of being invited but was very ill at the time and sadly was unable to attend.

This year Paulo Coelho and guests will celebrate St Joseph’s Day at Pera Palace Hotel in Beyoğlu in Istanbul.

For my lovely friend Suzanne in Lebanon who asked.

St Joseph’s Day at Melk Abbey

The chess game

August 19, 2010
chess game

chess game

A young man said to the abbot from the monastery of Melk:

– I’d actually like to be a monk, but I haven’t learned anything in life. All my father taught me was to play chess, which does not lead to enlightenment. Apart from that, I learned that all games are a sin.

– They may be a sin but they can also be a diversion, and who knows, this monastery needs a little of both – was the reply.

The abbot asked for a chess board, sent for a monk and told him to play the young man.

But before the game began, he added:

– Although we need diversion, we cannot allow everyone to play chess the whole time. So, we only have the best players here; if our monk loses, he will leave the monastery and his place will be yours.

The abbot was serious. The young man knew he was playing for his life, and broke into a cold sweat; the chess board became the center of the world.

The monk began badly. The young man attacked, but then saw the saintly look on the other man’s face; at that moment, he began playing badly on purpose.

After all, he would rather lose, a monk is far more useful to the world.

Suddenly, the abbot threw the chess board to the floor.

– You have learned far more than was taught you – he said. – You concentrated yourself enough to win, were capable of fighting for that which you desire.

“Then, you had compassion, and were willing to make a sacrifice in the name of a noble cause. Welcome, because the secret of life is to know how to balance discipline with compassion.”

Posted by Paulo Coelho on his blog.

Also see

A Christmas Tale

St Joseph’s Day at Melk Abbey

March 23, 2010
St Joseph's Day at Melk Abbey

St Joseph's Day at Melk Abbey

It is a tradition of Paulo Coelho to celebrate his birthday on St Joseph’s Day and to invite friends to a party. This year the party was held at Melk Abbey in Austria, an important Benedictine Abbey in Austria.

I was one of those who had the honour of being invited to Paulo’s party at Melk Abbey on St Joseph’s Day. I would have loved to have gone with my lovely friend Sian, looked around the Abbey and the old town of Melk. Unfortunately I was taken very ill with a bad fever and chicken pox and sadly unable to attend.

Like Carolena Sabah, I was there in spirit.

Prayers to St Joseph were said at the party.

Also see

A Christmas Tale

A Warrior’s Life by Fernando Morais

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