Over the holidays I've been reading Fr. James Martin's book Between Heaven and Mirth: Why Joy, Humor and Laughter Are at the Heart of the Spiritual Life. I've really enjoyed two other of Martin's books, My Life With the Saints and The Jesuit Guide to (Almost) Everything.
Here is Father Martin on The Colbert Report talking about Between Heaven and Mirth and the humor of Jesus:
|The Colbert Report||Mon - Thurs 11:30pm / 10:30c|
Between Heaven and Mirth is an apology for joy, humor and laughter being a central part of the spiritual life. I heartily agree. Ever since college I'd been attracted to the merry band of holy fools that followed St. Francis, the merriest and most foolish of them all. Fr. Martin's book is a light and breezy read, but it is full of great quotes and antidotes, many from the lives of the saints. Here was one of my favorites:
There is a Talmudic story of a rabbi meeting with Elijah the prophet, who would answer questions for him about the "world to come." The rabbi was in the marketplace when he came upon Elijah. He asked the prophet whether there were any in the marketplace who merited a place in the world to come. Perhaps the rabbi was hoping that Elijah would assure him that his piety and wisdom would earn him that reward.
Instead, Elijah pointed to two men and said, "Yes, those two." The rabbi approached the two men and asked them who they were and what they did. They replied, "We are jesters. We make sad people laugh. And when we see two people arguing, we make peace between them."