How often do you laugh??
If we take a few minutes off of our busy schedules
and look around us, what do we often see or become aware of? Some
sort of tension going on in the lives of individuals. Families,
parishes, religious communities, dioceses all experience tensions
and worries in their daily activities. Newspapers often carry
information about untimely and cruel death resulting from the
demon of tension. Frequent visits to doctors and psychiatrists are
further proofs for us that we need some relief from mental
tensions. Those working in leadership positions are frequently
easy victims of tension.
Is there a way we can relieve tension? The answer
is an emphatic “YES” and a way is “LAUGHTER.” If laughter has
disappeared from families, our communities, or our circle of
friends, then something is seriously wrong in our society!
We all have a sense of humor. Humor makes life
lighter and human exchanges more delightful. One day a senior
priest asked me; “do you know the three signs of old age?” “No,” I
told him. “Well, he said, these are the three signs of old age.
One, loss of memory. The other two I forgot!” The ability to laugh
is good for us in many ways. Laughter is good for our physical
health. Smiling and laughter are good physiological helps, while
tension and worry tends to damage our health.
Laughter makes the environment more enjoyable for
everyone. People like St. John Bosco or St. Therese of Lisieux
brought much cheer to their community inspite of their sufferings.
St. Francis de Sales used to say; “a sad saint is a sorry sort of
saint.” Blessed Teresa of Calcutta had a great sense of humor. On
one occasion, while speaking with a group of seminarians of which
I was a part, she told a joke. She said; “the other day I dreamed
that I was at the gates of heaven, and St. Peter said, “go back to
earth, there are no slums up here.” Then she laughed and laughed!
We should work to create a happy environment for the people we
work with. A gloomy or fear-filled environment, where all
spontaneity dies, is a real killer.
Humor is not meanness. It is not a cruel or
insensitive game of poking fun at others or making them feel bad.
Humor basically is the ability to see ourselves as we are, as
fallible human beings who make mistakes. It is the ability to
laugh at ourselves, not the attempt to ridicule someone else.
Humor is based on intelligence. When philosophers and theologians
wanted to pinpoint the trait most proper of human beings, they
picked reason. As the clearest manifestation of reason, the
quality they highlighted was humor. (Have you ever heard cats and
dogs cracking jokes or having a laugh?)
Our sense of humor, as well as our particular type
of humor, seems to depend on our culture and family upbringing.
Humor can also be inappropriate, harmful or cruel.
For example, laughing at someone’s physical defect, lower income
level or lack of education. At times it is easier to tease someone
rather than express tender, loving words of appreciation. All of
us need to hear from our significant others that they love and
care for us. It can never be substituted by teasing and/or
Let me conclude with a God joke.
One day in heaven, the Lord decided he would visit
the earth and take a stroll. Walking down the road, the Lord
encountered a man who was crying. The Lord asked the man; “why
are you crying my son?” The man said that he was blind and had
never seen a sunset. The Lord touched the man’s eyes, now he could
see, and he was happy. As the Lord walked further, he met another
man crying and asked; “why are you crying my son?” The man was
born a crippled and was never able to walk. The Lord touched him,
he was able to walk, and he was happy. Farther down the road, the
Lord met another man who was crying and asked; “why are you
crying, my son?” The man said, “Lord, I work for the government.”
The Lord sat down and cried with him.
Let us hope you see the funny side of life and
laugh heartily and often. Let us hope you use humor to cheer up
and unite people, never to put them down or divide them. Someone
said; “if Christ were to revise the sermon on the Mount, he would
add one more beatitude, Blessed are those who make others laugh,
for they are the children of my Heavenly Father.”
Fr. Tony Andrade