Long ago, a monastery in the woods that had been famous and much visited by the faithful, fell upon hard times and was reduced to only a handful of monks who carried on their duties with heavy hearts and sour moods. The abbot, hoping to learn how to change things, travelled to a neighboring monastery whose abbot, it was said, was very learned and wise. Upon meeting the wise abbot, the monk from the troubled monastery, told his story and asked, “What can be done?”
The wise abbot looked at the despondent monk and said, “I have studied and contemplated for years and so I can tell you a secret that I have learned. I happen to know that one amongst you in your monastery is the messiah and he is in disguise.
The monk returned to his monastery with a feeling of astonishment. He related what he had learned to his fellow monks and all pondered what this could mean. Each looked at the other and wondered if it was he that was the messiah in disguise. One thought, “could it be Brother Baker? But he is always short-tempered and quick to anger. Ah, but perhaps that is his clever disguise.” Another thought, “could it be Brother Treasurer? But he always seems so disorganized and even lazy. Has he been acting that way to fool us about his divinity?” Yet another thought, “Surely it couldn’t be Brother Librarian? He is forever getting angry about us all not studying enough. Is this his disguise against discovery?”
A remarkable thing happened in the following days and months as each of the monk’s began to exercise more patience and love towards his fellow monks. Each was convinced the Messiah was one of them and also a master of disguise. Before long the monastery was filled with kindness and compassion and, as word spread, new people came to ask admittance to the order and the monastery thrived once again.