Prayer Of The Frog, Anthony de Mello

When Brother Bruno was at prayer one night, he was disturbed by the croaking of a bullfrog. 

All his attempts to disregard the sound were unsuccessful, so he shouted from his window, "Quiet! I'm at my prayers."

Now Brother Bruno was a saint, so his command was instantly obeyed. Every living creature held its voice so as to create a silence that would be favourable to prayer.

But now another sound intruded on Bruno's worship—an inner voice that said, "Maybe God is as pleased with the croaking of that frog as with the chanting of your psalms."

"What can please the ears of God in the croak of a frog?" was Bruno's scornful rejoinder.

But the voice refused to give up. "Why would you think God invented the sound?"

Bruno decided to find out why. He leaned out of his window and gave the order, "Sing!" 

The bullfrog's measured croaking filled the air to the ludicrous accompaniment of all the frogs in the vicinity. 

And a Bruno attended to the sound, their voices ceased to jar, for he discovered that, if he stopped resisting them, they actually enriched the silence of the night.

With that discovery Bruno's heart became harmonious with the universe, and, for the first time in his life, he understood what it means to pray.

~ Anthony de Mello, from
Anthony de Mello; Selected Writing

or as James Martin S.J says :

"Relish the gifts that God gives us every day, 
and savour the sparks of divine light that illumine the darkness.

(It's a lot of fun if you have the two videos playing at the same time !)

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deodate said...

I love this story - had not seen it before. Reminds me of....'even the stones will cry out'. I often think of the sounds of nature as prayer. Thanks Phil.

Philomena Ewing said...

Thanks Andie,for the stones will cry out thought- it's great carrying forward the story like this.Talking of stones you've got me thinking of Ayers rock now and all the sculptures I have seen. Also,a huge ancient rock in Africa near shores of Lake Malawi I visited was a sacred place and in my birth country Ireland and here in Cornwall the landscape just reeks with God and numerous other places etc etc. See how you have got my imagination and memory going now ?!

claire said...

Great story, Phil. It reminds me of learning yoga in India, where this kind of story is said when it comes to meditating.
De Mello is wonderful in the way he used those stories to make points for his own teachings.

Philomena Ewing said...

Thanks Claire. To do yoga in India must have been an exhilirating experience for so many reasons. I have never been there but would love to go -in my dreams maybe ?!

Word in the Hand said...

We must allow everything to pray in it's own way. It's so hard to fine anywhere fully silent - even in our church we have the ticking of the heating pipes and the crack of the roof timbers - then traffic and ambulance sirens (we are near the hospital). In fact the quieter we get the noisier the world gets. Being able to accept it all as the rhythm of life rather than trying to fight it, is a skill I am working on.
Good illustration - blessing

Philomena Ewing said...

I don't know how to address Word in the Hand by name but thanks very much for the comment - what you say is so true.When I was teaching I learnt to switch off from the hum !
I do love silence but nature's sounds I think are easier for me to contend with, easier to meld with prayer than mechanical noise.