The monastery was perched on a steep hillside that was terraced by natural benches where picturesque rows of grape vines grew. They were connected by paths and stairs that were cut into the rock centuries ago.
The monastery buildings were carved, high into the cliff and were as austere as the escarpment itself, offering little comfort to the people who lived there, although, it did have a great view of the valley below.
A brown robed monk climbed the, worn, stone steps wearily to his stark cell after toiling all day, in the vineyards, under the, sweltering, hot, sun.
He chanted, prayerfully and silently, with each labored step. He had lived here for twenty years under a vow of silence, which he considered penance for not being good enough to be accorded a place among the angels. He suffered in humiliation for not to be among the favorites of God.
Then, one day, while tending the vines, his eyesight had gone blurry, and he had a vision, in which Jesus told him that he loved him.
He´d passed a note to the Abbot during his weekly consultation where he was asked how he was doin´, describing the miracle.
“Don´t worry about it,” the Abbot had said, “The nuns get those all the time.”
He couldn´t understand it. He was sure the Abbot would praise him in congratulation for his accomplishment. Wasn´t it proof that he had become one of the favored? Might he, one day, sit on the right hand of God? God had, surely, realized that he was a better man than most for living such a pious and selfless life. Didn´t he, at least, deserve more than some flippant response?
He opened the door to his cell and looked around his impoverished dwelling. There, on the narrow stone bench that served as his bed, he saw an envelope.
He opened it with trembling hands, and removed the gold printed card from inside. His lips moved with the words as he read them. When he was finished, he turned his eyes towards heaven. “Thank you Lord!,” he said out loud. “A sign, at last!”