Mar 162010
 

The village priest was a holy man, so each time the people
were in trouble they had recourse to him. He would then
withdraw to a special place in the forest and say a special
prayer. God would always hear his prayer and the village
would be helped.

When he died and the people were in trouble they had
recourse to his successor, who was not a holy man but knew
the secret of the special place in the forest and the special
prayer. So he said, “Lord, you know I am not a holy man. But
surely you are not going to hold that against my people? So
listen to my prayer and come to our assistance.” And God
would hear his prayer and the village would be helped.

When he died and the people were in trouble they had
recourse to his successor, who knew the special prayer but not
the place in the forest. So he said, “What do you care for
places, Lord? Is not every place made holy by your presence?
So listen to my prayer and come to our assistance.” And once
again God would hear his prayer and the village would be
helped.

Now he too died, and when the people were in trouble they
had recourse to his successor, who did not know the special
prayer or the special place in the forest. So he said, “It isn’t
the formula that you value, Lord, but the cry of the heart in
distress. So listen to my prayer and come to our assistance.”
And once again God would hear his prayer and the village
would be helped.

After this man died, when the people were in trouble they
had recourse to his successor. Now this priest had more use
for money than for prayer. So he would say to God, “What
sort of a God are you that while you are perfectly capable of
solving problems that you yourself have caused, you still refuse
to lift a finger until you have us cringe and beg and plead?
Well, you can do as you please with the people.” Then he
would go right back to whatever business he had in hand.
And, once again, God would hear his prayer and the village
would be helped.

— Anthony De Mello

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