"Once upon a time there was an abbot of a monastery who was very good friends with the rabbi of a local synagogue. It was Europe, and times were hard. Sometimes the rabbi would come and pour out his soul with the abbot and the abbot would encourage him; other times the abbot would visit his friend the rabbi and pour out his difficulties and be comforted by the rabbi.
"The abbot found his community dwindling and the faith life of his monks shallow and lifeless. Life in the monastery was dying. He went to his friend and wept. His friend, the rabbi, comforted him and told him: 'There is something you need to know, my brother. We have long known in the Jewish community that the Messiah is one of you.'
" 'What,' exclaimed the abbot, 'the Messiah is one of us? How can that be?'
"But the rabbi insisted that it was so, and the abbot went back to his monastery wondering and praying, comforted and excited.
"Once back in the monastery, walking down the halls and in the courtyard, he would pass by a monk and wonder if he was the one. Sitting in chapel, praying, he would hear a voice and look intently at a face and wonder if he was the one. And he began to treat all of his brothers with respect, with kindness and awe, with reverence. Soon it became quite noticeable.
"One of the brothers came to him and asked him what had happened to him. After some coaxing, he told him what the rabbi had said. Soon the other monk was looking at his brothers differently and wondering. The word spread through the monastery quickly: the Messiah is one of us. Soon the whole monastery was full of life, worship, kindness, and grace. The prayer life was rich and passionate, devoted, and the psalms and liturgy and services were alive and vibrant. Soon the surrounding villagers were coming to the services and listening and watching intently, and there were many who wished to join the community.
"After their novitiate, when they took their vows, they were told the mystery, the truth that their life was based upon, the source of their strength and life together: The Messiah is one of us. The monastery grew and expanded into house after house, and all of the monks grew in wisdom, age, and grace before the others and the eyes of God. And they say still, if you stumble across this place, where there is life and hope and kindness and graciousness, that the secret is the same: The Messiah is one of us."
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