The Pearl of Great Price

This is an excerpt from Tales of a Magic Monastery, by the late Theophane the Monk. He has ever been a mentor to me… For more than three decades now, I’ve unabashedly declared, “When I grow up, I want to write this well.” (I’m still working at it.)


He asked me what I was looking for.

“Frankly,” I said, “I’m looking for the Pearl of Great Price.”

He slipped his hand into his pocket, drew it out, AND GAVE IT TO ME. It was just like that! I was dumbfounded. Then I began to protest: “You don’t want to give it to me? Don’t you want to keep it for yourself? But. . .”

When I kept this up, he said finally, “Look, is it better to have the Pearl of Great Price, or to give it away?”–

Well, now I have it. I don’t tell anyone. From some there would just be disbelief and ridicule. “You, you have the Pearl of Great Price? Hah!” Others would be jealous, or someone might steal it. Yes, I do have it. But there’s that question–“Is it better to have it, or to give it away?” How long will that question rob me of my joy?