Work in the Field

A young man crossed the desert and finally came to the monastery of Scete. There, he asked to hear one of the abbot’s lectures – and was granted permission.

That afternoon, the abbot’s discourse was about the importance of work in the field.

After the lecture, the young man said to one of the monks:

“That was amazing. I thought I would hear a fine sermon about virtues and sins, and the abbot spoke only of tomatoes, irrigation and so forth. Where I come from, all believe that God is merciful: all one must do is pray.”

The monk smiled and replied:

“Here we believe that God has already done His part; now it is up to us to continue the process.”

Paulo Coelho is a Brazilian author who has sold more than 100 million books, which include 14 short story collections and the novel “The Alchemist.” He has been a fan of the Internet since the early 1990s. He spends at least three hours a day online, writing e-mails back and forth with his readers and posting photos on Flickr, MySpace and a blog.

Coelho’s online activities also include promoting pirated copies of his own books. Since 2005 he’s been directing his readers to an online site where they can download his books, in languages from German to Japanese, for free. “I always thought that when, at the beginning of your career, you strive to be read, you can’t change your mind later and become greedy about it.”

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