And this quote, comes from the alchemist himself in The Alchemist:
No matter what he does, every person on earth plays a central role in the history of the world. And normally he doesn’t know it.
That may indeed sound to be too strong a statement, especially for those of us who are strong believers in existentialism, but there is a clear sense of optimism (of our influence) and responsibility (of our actions) in it. The quote is when a Roman centurion goes to find Jesus and felt to be in the presences of the divine. There is a slightly related story in Many Lives, Many Masters by Brian Weiss.
Having had the privilege of visiting the holy land, I can slightly picture some of the settings, and that makes these two stories so much more interesting for me.