yes to laughter

Apr 1, 2023

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“Then the young girls will rejoice and dance,
the men, young and old, will be glad”.
from today’s responsorial psalm.

I’ve been moving about a bit in recent weeks, across the country and further afield. I don’t enjoy the travel since planes are not made for people of my height, but I love being with the people I end up with after a journey of any length.

Yesterday morning I woke in Wellington after a half-day meeting on Thursday with the National Liturgy Advisory group. We half-dozen meet together twice a year and in a few hours each time cover a wide agenda on every aspect liturgy seeking to improve the quality of Liturgy (especially the Mass) in NZ Catholic communities especially parishes and schools.

At our meeting six months ago we decided to finish this week’s meeting with slow food and drink together, something we haven’t done before.

At the end of the meal last night I commented that I didn’t think I had laughed as much in months, and the laughter wasn’t just at the meal but throughout the meeting.  Great company. Great conversation. There was openness, trust, a full agenda well covered, and the laughter flowed throughout.

I feel as though yesterday I got a head-start on today’s April Fool’s Day.

Laughter is a great gift, and most of us do not indulge enough. The Bible speaks of humour and laughter often. Pope Francis’ sense of humour is spontaneous and contagious.

Pope Benedict also has a great sense of humour and he spoke about this a few years ago in an interview:

“I’m not a man who constantly thinks up jokes. But I think it’s very important to be able to see the funny side of life and its joyful dimension and not to take everything too tragically. I’d also say it’s necessary for my ministry. A writer once said that angels can fly because they don’t take themselves too seriously. Maybe we could also fly a bit if we didn’t think we were so important.”  Peter Seewald Interview

Humour and laughter is a gift that is seen in babies and young children. It is as if they have not yet unlearned the ability to live this gift, and to use it often. Most of us take life and ourselves too seriously. We forget that laughter is the best medicine.

Recently Pope Francis admitted that he prays every day for the ability to laugh, and suggested a prayer by St. Thomas More to be granted a sense of humour.

Francis added that he has recommended this prayer to the members of the Roman Curia – implying that they often take themselves far too seriously.

Prayer for Good Humour
by St. Thomas More

Grant me, O Lord, good digestion,
and also something to digest.
Grant me a healthy body,
and the necessary good humour to maintain it.
Grant me a simple soul
that knows to treasure all that is good
and that doesn’t frighten easily
at the sight of evil,
but rather finds the means
to put things back in their place.
Give me a soul
that knows not boredom,
grumblings, sighs and laments,
nor excess of stress,
because of that obstructing thing called “I.”
Grant me, O Lord,
a sense of good humour.
Allow me the grace
to be able to take a joke
to discover in life a bit of joy,
and to be able to share it with others.

Amen!

8 Comments

  1. Amen to laughter. I must not take myself too seriously. A merry heart doeth good like a medicine. Proverbs 17:22.

    Reply
  2. I love this. Lately I’ve been thinking about how when I was a child I would laugh until my sides hurt. I can hardly remember when I last laughed like that. We must remember that joyfulness is a gift from God, and not to take ourselves so seriously, that we can’t enjoy a laugh. I’m sure if people can see joyful Christian people there is more chance of them wanting to know more about Jesus.

    Reply
    • So good that you celebrated with food after the liturgy meeting. When we relax, and eat food we find the time to laugh

      Reply
  3. Thank you John for the reminder to lighten up, appreciate the LIFE all around, & to enjoy God’s goodness with a light & joyful heart

    Reply
  4. Thank You also Fr John for reminding me that half an hour a day is necessary for good health.
    The prayer by St Thomas More is a great one to keep!
    Fred

    Reply
  5. Love it. Have shared St Thomas’s prayer with family members.

    Reply
  6. Thanks Fr John
    I quite often pray , that l include laughter in my day. I was delighted to read of laughter in your food for thoughts.

    Reply
  7. Thanks Fr John
    St Thomas’s prayer is wonderful, and certainly brings a smile in itself.
    A smile and a laugh are certainly contagious!

    Reply

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