Chapter 12: Laughter Is the Highest Spiritual Quality
The archbishop was happy that they were humbled by him. He said, “What prayer do you do?” All the three giggled. He said, “What is there to giggle about; is this your prayer?”
They said, “No, this is not, but what it is creates giggling.”
Everybody said to the other, “You say it.” The second said to the third, “Better you say it. You are older than us. It is your right to say it.”
The archbishop said, “I don’t have much time. Say it! What is your prayer?”
They said, “We are ashamed. Just forgive us, because our prayer is very poor. Hearing that God is a trinity and we are also a trinity, we have made our own prayer. Our prayer is simple because we are very simple people. We cannot remember long words and big prayers. Our prayer is, ‘You are three, we are three; have mercy on us.’”
Even the archbishop giggled. He said, “This is a prayer? You were right that it brings giggling. I have never giggled in my life, I am a serious man, but seeing you three fools creating a prayer on your own - and we have a prayer authorized by the church. I will tell you the authorized prayer, and from today, you start the authorized prayer. Become real Christians!”
They said, “We will try. Just tell us what we have to do.” So he repeated the whole authorized Russian prayer. As he was saying the prayer, all the three were becoming very sad. At the end, they said, “It is almost impossible for us to remember. You will have to repeat it two, three times so that we can manage. One part I will remember, another part the other remembers, the third part, the third remembers. But the whole prayer to be remembered by one single person is asking too much.”
He said, “Okay, that will do, but at least it will be authorized prayer, the right prayer, the only right prayer in the world.” So he repeated again.
They thanked him; “It was great of you to come here. God must have sent you here.”
And he went very happily back in his boat, feeling satisfied that now this foolishness will stop. People will not go to these people. I will expose them, that this is their prayer. And how have they become saints?
But in the middle of the lake, he saw suddenly all three running on water towards him. He said, “My God!”
They caught the boat and said, “One more time because we forgot. We forgot which part is to be remembered by whom. And there was so much conflict that we said it is better to go to you. You can decide which part - and the reality is, we have forgotten the prayer. You repeat it once more.”