As is usually the case with the Bible, there is irony in the fire. Before ever a word passes Jesus’ lips, he is teaching, in fact, communicating the heart of the faith to his followers with a smile on his face. He puts a little joy in their lives, because its only he who can bring something new and joyful into our lives as we pray. Sarah bore Isaac in her old age, making him one of the surprising babies in Scripture. The name Isaac means laughter. Makes me wonder how one can pray, smile or laugh all at the same time during moments of prayer. Proves the humanity of Jesus. You imitate him when you find joy in others and bring laughter to them. No matter what, the love of God is a good reason to smile. “Joy and Laughter attract Joy and Laughter”and his nights of prayer was the reason behind his cheerful spirit. Just as all eyes were on Jesus, all eyes will be on us as we share his Joy with others. We too can set the hearts of others on fire with our laughter but it has to come from a deep Prayer Life. Without a deep prayer life, I could not minister to others in an effective way. God’s grace is behind it all.
Find Joy in me as I accept life and its mysterious ways of laughter. We are in for a ‘joyful ride’ as we reflect, pray, meditate, and allow our precious gift from God to smile as we learn to appreciate its beauty. What a teachable moment this is for us! Pray with a smile on your lips and a song in your heart because God loves us. It ought not surprise us that Jesus has a refined sense of ‘humor’…Perhaps you never thought of Prayer and Laughter in such a way, but my friend, Jesuit priest, Rodney Kissinger, (102 years old) says that “Prayer is really Laughter” whether you realize it or not. As I think about this, we have been taught that all we do is a result of our prayer, conversing or meditating with a God who cares about us and laughs with us. If our prayer is an initiative of God, then so is our laughter. It’s a deep down, radical response to this moment in all of its circumstances. Whether it’s a tragic, complex experience, it’s a good moment with God in prayer so I can laugh with him. He helps me through it.
The six billion people in this world are all ‘mysteries’ in the hands of God, and are out there doing their own thing, but laughter and prayer could be a great grace for them. If laughter is really a prayer, then it is a ‘prayer of the whole person’, a colossal mystery, a mystery of mysteries says Fr. Rodney. We would be ridiculous if we try to control it. Ha! Ha! Ha! We’re both laughing because we are the only creatures of God who can laugh. Angels cannot laugh. God can because he is really the only person who knows us as we really are. He can laugh at the foibles of his six billion, human children and change what seems to be a human tragedy into a divine comedy. All we can do is to believe and laugh, laugh with God, our loving father. “I’m not 102, I am 60 years of experience and 42 years of laughter.” Ha, Ha! Scripture says: “A cheerful heart is good medicine, But a broken spirit zap’s a person’s strength.” Only humans can laugh and we are most human when we do laugh, even if it’s during our prayer.
The Prayer of Laughter is not only good for the spirit but puts all things into perspective and expands the mind, as well as the health of the body. According to scientists, those who laugh often, live longer and stay healthier. It’s obvious in the work I do with older people. As Fr. Rodney and I continue to speak, he says, “Oddest fact of all, laughter affects blood pressure both ways: it raises low blood pressure and lowers high blood pressure, doesn’t have any bad effects, you don’t need a prescription for it and it doesn’t cost a cent.” He keeps me in peals of laughter and is such a delightful man! My question for him is: Is it possible to pray, smile and laugh all at the same time? His response is: “Who said we couldn’t?”
What about ‘healing laughter’ which so many doctors are using today? It’s truly amazing what laughter does for a sick person. They can have a good laugh with God their Father, or cry and laugh at the same time. Laughter has a profound and almost instantaneous effect on virtually every important organ in the body. Very beneficial for those of us working with older people. We teach them to laugh with God as he transforms what is considered a human tragedy into a Divine Comedy filled with prayer and laughter. Believe and Laugh! Some older people think it’s a real tragedy growing older. Sad indeed! My response is to grow old gracefully with God in Prayer with faith, hope, love and laughter. Jesus says: “I am the Joy and Laughter that no one can take away from you. You can find inexpressible Joy in me while at prayer. Be joyful always and pray continually.” Too much Joy and Laughter to be true. Thank You, God!
Prayer for Laughter
Lord, God, Creator of everything, including me, I can be nothing but grateful to you, and in my gratitude, I find my JOY and Laughter.
I know I disappoint you at times but You can help me put my life into perspective if you keep me in the palm of your hands and free me from anxiety and sadness that keeps me off balance. Be with me Lord, when I am lonely and afraid of the future.
Of myself, I can do nothing; With you I can smile, love and laugh and become rich beyond all imagining. I’m not seeking miracles, just the power to laugh and be happy.
I know as I grow older my JOY finds different modes for expressing itself, but please let my joy get into my feet before it finds it’s way to my face. Let the roots of laughter grow deep down in my heart so I can share my JOY with others. Sustain me with your grace no matter what! Gift us with your WONDER of ‘joyful humor’ and ‘laughter’ so that we may serve you and others better. I declare myself to be “much obliged Lord.” Amen
Sister Martinette Rivers, OLS. USA.