Condemning One’s Brother

Abbot Isaac of Thebes was in the patio of the monastery praying when he saw one of the monks commit a sin. Furious, he interrupted his prayers and condemned the sinner.

That night he was prevented from returning to his cell by an angel who said to him: you condemned your brother, but you did not say what punishment we should inflict: the pains of hell? Some terrible disease in this life? Some torment in his family?

Isaac knelt down and asked for pardon: I tossed the words in the air, and an angel heard them. I sinned by being irresponsible for what I said. Forget my ire, Lord, and make me take greater care in judging my neighbor.

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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