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Anthony De Mello

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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 lo 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 too 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. 🙂