There’s a wonderful old Italian joke about a poor man who goes to church every day and prays before the statue of a great saint, begging, “Dear saint – please, please, please… give me the grace to win the lottery.” This lament goes on for months, as the man’s desperation consumes him entirely. He yearns for a change in his circumstances, dreaming of a life free from financial burdens. However, despite his dedicated prayers, the man remains poor and destitute.

The poor man’s unwavering dedication to praying before the saint’s statue symbolizes his belief in divine intervention. He genuinely believes that by repeatedly begging the saint for grace, his life will be transformed. Yet, while his persistence in prayer may be commendable, it is clear that his approach to achieving prosperity is misguided.

Eventually, the statue, tired of the man’s repetitive plea for a financial windfall, comes to life and looks down at the begging man. In weariness and disgust, the statue finally speaks and tells the man, “My son – please, please, please… buy a ticket.”

This simple response carries a profound message. The statue’s weary tone indicates that there are limits to what divine intervention can achieve. Rather than relying solely on prayers and faith alone, there also needs to be an active effort on the man’s part. It is a reminder that miracles rarely happen without taking some initiative.

The humorous twist of the story serves to underscore the notion that achieving one’s desires requires more than just hoping and pleading for miracles. The poor man’s failure to take action by not buying a lottery ticket leads him to remain in the same desperate situation. His prayers and pleas to the saint become meaningless if he does not put forth any effort to change his circumstances.

Moreover, the message of the joke extends beyond the realm of winning the lottery. It serves as a metaphor for life itself. Often, people wish for things to magically improve without putting in the required effort. Whether it is a better job, improved relationships, or personal growth, we must actively pursue our dreams and take steps towards achieving them.

The joke brings attention to the importance of personal agency and responsibility. It emphasizes that individuals cannot rely on external forces alone to bring about the change they desire. By buying a lottery ticket, the man would have at least increased his chances of winning, giving himself a fighting chance to improve his situation.

This story highlights the folly in hoping for miracles without actively participating in the process. While faith and belief are important, they should not be mistaken for passivity. The joke teaches us that we must take action, even when hoping for divine intervention. We define our own destinies by making choices, pursuing opportunities, and putting in the effort required to achieve our goals.

Ultimately, the Italian joke about the poor man and the statue delivers a powerful message about the importance of personal agency and effort. It reminds us that simply praying for a miracle will not bring about the change we seek. We must also take proactive steps, whether it means buying a lottery ticket or actively working toward our goals. The joke not only entertains us but also serves as a valuable lesson about the necessity of

Beyhan Perim Seçmen
Licensed Clinical Psychologist