We Are Three, You are Three

When his ship stopped at a remote island for a day, the priest was determined to use the time as profitable as possible. He strolled along the seashore and came across three fishermen attending to their nets and boats. In broken English they announced to him that centuries before some missionaries had Christianized them. “We’re Christians!” they said proudly and excited to be of the same of the same faith as the stranger in front of them. The priest was impressed and asked them if they knew the Lord’s Prayer? They had never heard of it. The priest was shocked and uttered ”What do you say when you pray?” “We lift our eyes towards heaven. We pray, ‘We are three, you are three, have mercy on us’”

The  priest was appalled at the primitive, downright heretical nature of the prayer. So he spent the whole two days teaching them the Lord’s Prayer. The fishermen were poor people with absolutely no formal education and slow learners, but they gave it all they had and before the priest sailed away the next day, he had the satisfaction of hearing them recite the formal ways to be connected to God faultlessly.

A few months later his ship happened to pass those islands again and the priest , as he paced the deck reciting the evening prayer, recalled the pleasure of the three men on that distant island who were now able to pray and connect to God, thanks to his patient efforts.

Suddenly he saw a spot of light in the east that kept approaching the ship faster and faster. As he gazed in wonder he and the rest of the ships crew could  make out three figures walking on the water. The captain amazed at this stopped the boat and everyone leaned over the rails to see this sight. They were the Priest’s fishermen, of course!

“ Priest , “they exclaimed, we heard your boat go past and have come in a hurry to meet you.” “What is it that you fishermen want?” asked the awe stricken priest.

 “Priest, “they said, “we are so, so sorry. We forget lovely prayer. “We say: Our father in heaven, holy be your name, your kingdom……… then we forget. Tell us the prayer again.”

It was a chastened Priest who replied, “Go back to your island, my friends, and each time you pray, say “We are Three, You are Three, have mercy on us!”

The paths to God are many and many are the ways one can reach him.

PS – I have no inputs or credits to the above story but when I came across it in my archives I couldn’t resist sharing it with my readers.

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