Anthony de Mello, a Catholic priest, offers us another anecdote from his book The Prayer of the Frog. All the more interesting because it concerns faith and religion and tells the story of a priest who misunderstood God. This is another pinch of educational humor on the Empowerment Coaching Krakow blog that shows how disastrous the effects of limiting beliefs can be.
The anecdote about the priest and the three boats
The priest was sitting at his desk near the window, preparing a sermon on Providence when he heard what sounded like an explosion. Soon he saw people running back and forth in panic; it turned out that the dam had burst, the river had swelled, and people had evacuated.
The priest saw that the water was already beginning to flow down the lower streets of the city. He had a bit of a hard time controlling his panic, but he said to himself, "Here I am, preparing a sermon on providence, and I'm being given an opportunity to put into practice what I'm telling the faithful. I'm not going away like the rest. I will stay here, trusting that God's Providence will save me."
When the water reached the window, a boat full of people came by. "Jump in, Father," they shouted. "Oh no, my children," said the priest confidently. "I believe that God's Providence will save me."
He climbed to the roof, however, and as the water rose again, another boat came in full of people calling for the priest to join them. And the priest again refused.
Now he has climbed to the top of the bell tower. When the water was up to his knees, an officer in a motorboat arrived to rescue the priest. "No, thank you," said the priest with a calm smile. “You see, I trust God. He will not fail me."
When the priest drowned and went to heaven, he immediately complained to God.
"I believed you. Why didn't you do anything to save me?"
"Well," replied God. "You know, I sent you these three boats."
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