Spiritual Gift of the Week
We pray for the grace to trust in the compassion of Christ our Lord,
especially at our darkest moments.
May we remember that Mary understands our suffering and grief—
she enfolds us with hope and joy into her Immaculate Heart.
Spiritual Instruction of the Week
When our hearts are filled with sorrow and grief,
we pray to find consolation in the Sacred Heart of Jesus.
A heart filled with Christ’s love and laughter, will bring consolation, joy and hope to others.
Dear Beautiful Daughters of Mary,
She is clothed with strength and dignity, and she laughs without fear of the future.
When she speaks, her words are wise, and she gives instructions with kindness. (Proverbs 31: 25-26)
God has given us the gift of laughter. We are told in the Old Testament that our God laughs! (Psalm 31:13). In his image and likeness, we are meant to laugh. Jesus himself was lighthearted. The stories and parables he told often had a twist of humor. James Martin S.J. cites New Testament scholars to assure us that the mustard seed, the lamp under a basket, the house built on sand—all of these would have been “hilarious” to 1st century Christians. Jesus enjoyed telling a good story. He enjoyed life. He ate and drank with friends. And like his Father in heaven, Jesus most surely laughed, (Psalm 2:3-4).
Many saints reveled in the gift of laughter. St. Phillip Neri, whose feast was May 26, was known for his sense of humor. He loved to laugh, especially at himself. He was a holy man, with mystical physical manifestations. Yet, he continued to entertain those he served with humorous stories. He said once: “A cheerful and glad spirit attains to perfection much more readily than a melancholy spirit.” Padre Pio, who received the gift of stigmata, taught that we should “Serve God with laughter.” Finally, in recent years, we have enjoyed great papal humor. Both John XXIII and John Paul II were known for their wit and humor. And not long ago, Pope Francis approved the “Joke with the Pope” website saying: “When we laugh with each other, and not at each other, God’s love is present in a special way. Share your jokes and your funny stories: the world will be better, the Pope will be happy, and God will be the happiest of all.”
Sorrow and grief are a part of life—as are joy and laughter. With grace, we remember to seek equanimity during times of grief. We are called to carry our crosses—we are also given the grace to carry our crosses joyfully. Think of the family who suffers the death of a loved one. There are always lighthearted moments, even funny memories, all meant to celebrate the life of the deceased. Grief is not erased by laughter. Laugher does however give balance to grief.
We do not often speak of laughter and prayer together, and we almost never speak of laughing in prayer. Asking for the gift of tears, (as Ignatius did) is well known. Remember however Ignatius also said, “Laugh and grow strong.” Both laughter and tears are important to our relationship with God. Laughter protects us from self-centeredness and keeps our egos in check. That we embrace our crosses is most surely a grace. That we embrace our crosses with a sense of humor, this is God’s most sacred and merciful grace. We pray to be like Job, whose suffering and grief is well recorded: “He will once again fill your mouth with laughter and your lips with shouts of joy.” (Job 8:21).
The gift of laughter is a form of prayer—a “holy gift,” (as Madeline L’Engle said). At times, we may (for a moment) feel forsaken, but if we abandon our spirits to God, we will laugh again. Turn to God, dear beautiful Daughters of Mary, for he fills our hearts with laughter. Have fun when you pray. Smile at Christ. Laugh with him. Open your hearts to his joy. Remember Jesus’ words: “Blessed are you who are now weeping, for you shall laugh,” (Luke 21:6).
Enough! The Resurrection! said Gerard Manley Hopkins. Let us pray and laugh…
Today is the Feast of the Sacred Heart of Jesus. St. Margaret Mary Alacoque was chosen to reveal the love of God proved by the passionate heart of Jesus. Like many saints, she suffered for the sake of holiness. She was greatly rejected and scorned because of her mystical revelations. She kept her cheerful attitude however and at her death proclaimed: “I need nothing but God, and to lose myself in the heart of Jesus.”
We pray for the disposition of saints such as Margaret Mary. As Pope Francis said in November 2015, “To imitate the saints’ gestures of love and mercy is a bit like continuing their presence in the world. These evangelical gestures are the only ones that resist the destruction of death. An act of tenderness, generous help, time spent listening, a visit, a nice word, a smile — these can seem insignificant, but in the eyes of God they are eternal because love and compassion are stronger than death.” (Pope Francis, Nov 2015)
Veni, Spirito Santo, la misericordia di Dio ci salva—
Come Holy Spirit, it is by God’s mercy that we are saved,