The story about the Monk that inspired the title for my blog is not a “theological” fable. And it was NOT told to me in the context of the Legion. In fact, the version I heard portrayed the Monk as a Buddhist and he actually ordered the cow to be killed. So, it would be futile for me to defend the “theology” behind it just as it would be futile to defend the “theology” behind any other fable. It is most certainly not a "Catholic" story. Most "stories" are not "right" or "wrong" - they are just stories!
Why do I say this? Because I have been asked to defend "the theology" of the story of the "Monk who stole the cow" by someone who says it is not "Catholic" and that it's "wrong."
A business friend told me the fable, after I lost my job. The intent, I think, was to help me see beyond the immediate catastrophic effects of losing my livelihood. The story helped me in the moment – the “takeaway” seemed to be: one can triumph over adversity. Indeed, I retell the story in the prologue to my book about my experiences with Fr. Maciel and the Legionaries of Christ, because then and there, at the dinner in a restaurant called “Izote” in Mexico, I decided to finish and publish my book. I hoped it would be a story of triumph over adversity.
In my personal journey, I could say that I experienced great losses – starting with leaving my home and family for the Legion, then moving on assignments to six different countries, then leaving the Legion. I worked hard on my new life, and like everyone else, experienced losses – jobs, opportunities, friends who died. Then I found out that MM was a fraud. Another “loss.” But “losses” are part of life. The “final” job loss I refer to above was particularly devastating. It was just a “layoff,” a “cutback” due to an incipient recession. But it affected me greatly, disrupting all my well laid plans towards the end of a fairly long career. I took the “lesson” from the fable to heart and made a “new start.” I founded a company specializing in cross-cultural management issues, of which I am proud, and, I like to think, has done good. I guess it wouldn’t have happened had I not been let go from the multinational I worked at. Not unlike the family that thrived after everything they relied on was taken away from them by the Monk who stole the cow.
So, the “Monk” does not represent Maciel or Me. It’s just a fable! I never quoted it, nor did I put it on my blog, intending it to be anything more than that. Sometimes, as Freud said, “a cigar is just a cigar.”