Friday, June 24, 2016

“The Supreme Gift” by Paulo Coelho – The Virtues of Love

The Supreme Gift by Paulo Coelho - book cover
The meaning of life is probably the oldest question we've been struggling with, one to which the majority of us don't expect to find an answer to, not any time soon at least. The lines of thought vary greatly why each and every one of us lives, ranging from the fulfilment of a unique destiny to complete meaninglessness and nihilism. Some of the greatest thinkers, however, never give up on the question and strive to uncover the essential element behind our reason for being... and thankfully, many of them happen to be authors, like the renowned Paulo Coelho.

In one of his more recent publications, The Supreme Gift, Coelho takes a different path than what we are used to seeing from him; whereas his best-known works gravitate towards the mystical and religious, this time he looks beyond those barriers at the one primordial element uniting all of us. But more precisely, this rather short book focuses on Paul's letter to the Corinthians, a passage most people who are acquainted with the Bible remember to some degree. We are presented with a re-telling of that story, one that is more suitable for a novel and complemented by the author's own peals of wisdom that came to be from his inspiration after reading the original text.

To give a basic outline of how the story goes, we follow the story of a man put in a most unexpected situation. As a crowd gathers outside to hear the words of a famous preacher, the man in question asks our protagonist to deliver the speech instead. While the people feel disappointed at first, and perhaps even cheated, they listened on nevertheless as he filled their hearts with tranquillity and wisdom, dissecting life into only two concepts that have the potential of uniting everyone in happiness: faith and love. He goes on to discuss the meaning of life, essentially instructing the people as to how they can find their own contentment every day by choosing the path of love, the one that endures beyond time and space... arguing that it may be the only thing which can give our lives the real meaning we yearn for so much.

While this may only be a hundred pages-long story, it nevertheless carries a powerful message that is worth heeding no matter your creed and religion. Basically-explained, the author believes that love ought to be the center of our lives, and with that in mind no matter where we come from or what awaits us in the after life, we will be certain of having spent our time on this Earth in a good and meaningful way. He believes that it is the only road to finding the kind of happiness that endures through everything.

It ought to be said that being a religious man, Coelho introduce his own beliefs into his conclusions, but I believe that they neither add nor detract to the essence of his message. Whether or not you yourself share his beliefs or are a religious person at all won't really impact how much you learn from the book or enjoy it; the wisdom here definitely has practical uses that can be applied in in our every day lives. This is the kind of book you can go back to year after year to get a slightly different perspective on the events of your own life.

All being said and done, The Supreme Gift definitely feels like one after reading it, imparting waves of heartwarming wisdom and a message whose power cannot be understated. For fans of the author and anyone looking to find out the depth of love's power will this book really is a must-read.

Paulo Coelho (August 24, 1947)

Paulo Coelho (August 24, 1947)

Personal site

Paulo Coelho is a Brazilian novelist and lyricist, sometimes known by the name of Paul Rabbit. His unusual and deeply-moving novels have made of him one of the most widely-read authors today, earning him an array of international awards, including the Crystal Award by the World Economic Forum. His most famous novel, The Alchemist, has been translated in over 67 languages to date.

More of  Paulo Coelho's book reviews:
Veronika Decides to Die
The Fifth Mountain
Eleven Minutes
The Alchemist
Manuscript Found in Accra

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