God’s gift of laughter Print
Everyday Faith

Everyday Faith column by Julianne Nornberg

Our Lord loves laughter. I know firsthand because He gave me my husband and my children, who bless me with the gift of laughter every day.

For example, they love to tease me good naturedly about my obsessive-compulsive tendencies regarding germs.

Since my children were babies, I've always been fastidious about everyone having clean hands.

So, when my husband was boarding an airplane for a work-related trip, I texted him to ask if he remembered to sanitize his hands after getting settled in his seat.

"Nope," he replied. "I just finished licking the arm rests."

My daughter answered in the same vein the other day when I asked if she washed her hands after playing with our pet hamster.

"Nope," she said. "I just licked my hands and then ate some cake."

"You're as bad as your father," I remarked, laughing.

"That's too bad," she said, her eyes sparkling with mischief. "I was hoping to be worse."

Mission accomplished.

Laughter is good

Laughter is so good for us, especially when we can learn to laugh at ourselves and our own idiosyncrasies.

None of us is perfect and neither is the world, but still we must persevere in our everyday lives -- with cheerfulness and joy.

One of my favorite depictions of Jesus is a drawing of Him throwing back His head in a tremendous, joyous laugh. Every time I pass that picture in our parish gathering room, I cannot help but smile.

Joy in our lives

Sometimes we can get so caught up in the trials of our lives and the endless list of atrocities in the world, that we don't notice the simple ways God tries to lift our spirits. Or we flit from one worldly thing to another, seeking fleeting happiness instead of lasting joy in Him.

But if we want to help change the world of sin around us, it all begins with changing the sinfulness of our own hearts and developing a place for Our Lord to reside there, with an unshakable joy in the knowledge of His unending love for us.

If we pray for the grace to truly embrace this knowledge and seek Our Lord at Mass and in the sacraments, joy in Our Lord will begin in our hearts and nothing of this world can shake it.

St. Josemaria Escriva said, "True virtue is not sad or disagreeable, but pleasantly cheerful. If things go well, let us rejoice, blessing God who makes them prosper. And if they go badly? Let us rejoice, blessing God who allows us to share in the sweetness of his Cross."

Holy cheerfulness

"The true way to advance in holy virtues is to persevere in a holy cheerfulness," said St. Philip Neri. "The cheerful are much easier to guide in the spiritual life than the melancholy."

"Where joylessness reigns, where humor dies, the spirit of Jesus Christ is assuredly absent," said Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI.

"Joy, with peace, is the sister of charity," St. Padre Pio said. "Serve the Lord with laughter."

At this time of year when summer is coming to a close and change is on the horizon, soak up all the opportunities for laughter that Our Lord sends our way. We will be better people for it, cheerful and humble people ready to face the everyday challenges of the world.

Julianne Nornberg, mother of four young children, is a member of St. John the Baptist Parish, Waunakee.