Laugh Yourself Healthy

Today is the last day of the year 2006. And perhaps one question we need to ask is whether we have laughed enough! God is working hard to make us happy. He enjoys seeing us amused! Laughter is linked with love. It is the closest distance between two people.

Laughter also allows us to step back from life, deal with it and the move on. By definition, laughter is healthy. Total absence of humor renders life impossible to live.

The real Church is full of mirth! "Why is it necessary to be quiet in Church?" The mother asked her daughter. The answer was uncomplicated, "Because people are sleeping!!" Father Rudy in Asan has an enlarged cartoon on his desk which always makes me smile when I see it. Two haggard guys are commenting, "Some people I see in Church only for christenings, weddings and funerals" And the other answers back with a big grin "Yeah... To hatch, match and dispatch…"

Prayer is full of fun. A four year old was heard praying, "And forgive us our trash baskets as we forgive those who put trash in our baskets!"

Even funerals can acquire a dimension of joy. The husband was not really a nice guy and when he died, while looking at the casket, the priest consoled the wife saying… "What you see here is the husk, the nut is gone!"

Catechism can be an enjoyable affair. The teacher was discussing the Ten Commandments with her five and six years old. After explaining the commandment 'Honor thy father and mother', she asked, "Is there a commandment that teaches us how to treat our brothers and sisters?" Without missing a beat, one boy answered, "Thou shall not kill"!

Family life can be replete with laughter. She was watching her mother doing the dishes at the kitchen sink. "Mum, why is it that some of your hair is white?" Trying to convey a moral lesson, the mother answered, "Well, every time you do something wrong and make me cry or unhappy, one of my hairs turns white." The little girl thought about this disclosure and then said "Mom, how comes ALL of grandma's hairs are white?"

The American humorist and writer Mark Twain once remarked that "The human race has only one really effective weapon and that is laughter."

The children were lined up in the cafeteria of a religious elementary school. At the head of the table was a large pile of apples. The nun had made a note and posted it on the apple tray. It said 'Take only ONE. God is watching.' Moving further along the lunch line, at the end of the table was a large pile of chocolate chip cookies. A kid had scribbled a note in his clumsy handwriting, 'Take all you want. God is watching the apples!'

The Bible can be a good starting point for hilarity. After the fall in the Garden of Eden, Adam was walking with his sons Cain and Abel. They passed by the ruins of the Garden of Eden. One of the boys asked, "What's that?" Adam replies, "Boys that's where your mother ate us out of house and home."

God is sharp! This man had the opportunity to speak with God. "What is a million years like to you?" God answered, "Like one second, son." "What is a million dollars like to you?" And again God, "Like one cent." The man jumped at this answer, "Can I have a cent?" And God with his gigantic divine smile, replied, "Just a second."

An ecumenical and historical joke! Every year, just before Easter, the Chief Rabbi in Rome goes to the Vatican and presents a tattered envelope to the Pope. The Pope inspects the envelope, shakes his head, and hands it back to the Chief Rabbi, who then departs. This has been going on for two thousand years. One year it happened that there was a new Pope and a new Chief Rabbi. Both of them were following the instructions of their predecessors but then the discussion arose why this ritual and what could be in this envelope. So they jointly decided to open the envelope. This they did… slowly and reverentially. Do you know what they found? The caterer's bill for the Last Supper!

Happy New Year 2007. And remind yourself that the most wasted of all days is the one without laughter. So let us laugh often… dream big… and reach for the stars! Meet you there!

(c) Fr. Pius Sammut, OCD. Permission is hereby granted for any non-commercial use, provided that the content is unaltered from its original state, if this copyright notice is included.