Catholic Faith Corner

Living in the Light
of Jesus Christ

Sea of Galilee at Sunrise

Catholic Faith Corner

Living in the Light
of Jesus Christ

Joy, An Inexpensive Gift

            We are filled with great joy when we bring someone else a little joy and happiness. Bishop Anthony Pilla once told us Cleveland religious that we ought to practice the diaconate of humor.  A deacon is someone who serves. One way we serve others by creating humor. St. Padre Pio said, “Serve the Lord with laughter.” We must teach laughter to a world that has almost forgotten how to laugh.

Joy is contagious.  My mother had nine siblings. They had no TV or Internet, but they had a record of people laughing. When they played this record, they would double up with laughter themselves.

Here are other ways to spread joy . . .

When we are in the presence of a happy person, we feel happy. So, let your joy be known.

Speak of your joy often. See that your face reflects joy and peace. Remember St. Teresa of Avila said, “From silly devotions and sour-faced saints, good Lord, deliver us!”

Smile at others. A smile is joy coming out of you. Moreover, St. Teresa of Calcutta said, “Every time you smile at someone, it is an action of love, a gift to that person, a beautiful thing.”

Laugh often. This will cheer up others. Besides, laughing is healthy because it massages the liver and increases endorphins, the feel-good chemical in our brains. Even Scripture notes, “A cheerful heart is a good medicine, but a downcast spirit dries up the bones.” (Proverbs 17:22)

            God obviously has a sense of humor. Why else would he create a giraffe, a platypus, and a two-year-old human? Have you created something funny…a piece of art? a humorous short story?

Jesus cracked jokes: 

• A camel going through a narrow gate, especially two-humped. 

• A man with a log in his eye trying to take a speck out of someone else’s eye.

• Pharisees straining out a gnat but swallowing a camel.

Jesus made farmers laugh when he told a parable about a man throwing seeds around at random on rocks, on path, into thorn bushes. They knew how ridiculous that was. When is the last time you told a joke or made a funny comment?

“Joy, with peace, is the sister of charity.” In other words, it is a way to show love. The little prince in Antoine de Saint Exupery’s The Little Prince leaves his friend the gift of his laughter. To whom can you give that gift today?

Tell funny anecdotes.  I asked my Sisters to tell me funny things that happened in the classroom or parish. These were published in my book Why Is Jesus in the Microwave? Why this title? One day a child asked Sister Jane Reisinger, “Why does Father put Jesus in the microwave at Mass?” At his church the tabernacle was a silver rectangle.

The funniest stories may be ones you tell on yourself. Self-deprecating humor is one of the finest, as stand-up comedians know.

Play a joke on someone.  God did. He had old Sarah get pregnant. God helped the boy David slay a giant with a slingshot.  Jesus had Peter the fisherman find tax money in a fish.

Send humorous greeting cards.  When my niece graduated, I gave her a card that read: “You can’t make footprints in the sand of time if you’re sitting on your butt, and who wants to make butt prints in the sand of time?”

St. Augustine observed, “When large numbers of people share their joy in common, the happiness of each is greater because each adds fuel to the other’s flame.”

Likewise, St. Teresa of Calcutta said, “He or she [who has joy] is like sun in a community.” We can elaborate: “in a family, in a neighborhood, in a workplace.”

Here are a few important ways to give joy:

            Help someone.  I edit and publish books for others. What can you do?

            Forgive a person who hurt you. Even if they don’t deserve it or if they don’t apologize.

            Do someone a favor.  Not grudgingly and not so you can receive a favor in return.

            Give a gift. The best ones are surprise gifts. Give the gift of your time.

            Tell or show someone that you love them.

            Perform a work of mercy, corporal or spiritual. In case you don’t remember what they are:

Here for you to ponder are a few excerpts from the handout I gave to the religious in New Orleans:

Serious Quotations about Joy

One can possess joy in a prison cell as well as in a palace. St. Thérèse of Lisieux  

Never let anything so fill you with sorrow as to make you forget the joy of Christ risen. St. Teresa of Calcutta

Joy is based on the spiritual knowledge that, while the world in which we live is shrouded in darkness, God has overcome the world. Henri Nouwen

God didn’t design us to be sad. He created us to have joy. Dieter F. Uchtdorf

Joy cannot be pursued. It comes from within. It is a state of being. It does not depend on circumstances, but triumphs over circumstances. It produces a gentleness of spirit and a magnetic personality. Billy Graham

Joy is the holy fire that keeps our purpose warm and our intelligence aglow.  Helen Keller

Joy is a net of love by which you can catch souls.  St. Teresa of Calcutta

Find a place inside where there’s joy, and the joy will burn out the pain.  Joseph Campbell

Think joy, talk joy, practice joy, share joy, saturate your mind with joy and you will have the time of your life today and everyday all your life. Norman Vincent Peale

We cannot cure the world of sorrows, but we can choose to live in joy.  Joseph Campbell

Comparison is the thief of joy. Theodore Roosevelt

The root of joy is gratefulness. It is not joy that makes us grateful, it is gratitude that makes us joyful. Brother David Steindl-Rast

Nothing else in all life is such a maker of joy and cheer as the privilege of doing good.  J.R. Miller

The soul of the one who serves God always swims in joy, always keeps holiday, and is always in the mood for singing.  St. John of the Cross

A Video to Life Your Spirits         

In lieu of a record of laughing, for your enjoyment here is a video of babies laughing.

•  When was the last time you enjoyed a belly laugh?  Laughed until you cried?

•  How have you given joy? 

•  What joke can you tell?

On May 20 at 6:30 p.m. I will be speaking on the close relationship between Blessed Sacrament and Mary at St. John of the Cross church on Richmond Road in Euclid. I’ll also be selling my books there. You are welcome to join us!

2 Responses

  1. Thanks for the laughs. I just celebrated my sister in laws life this week. There were a few tears, but even though they loved her so much ; they chose to show their love by sharing the love she gave so freely. Her children, grandchildren, great grandchildren, and so many nieces and nephews, enjoyed sharing stories of her. It was a true celebration; one of her granddaughters said she would have been sorry she missed it.
    It was very joyful.

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