Fr Rodney Kissinger, S.J.

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When was the last time you had a good laugh; a good laugh at yourself and your seemingly impossible situation? When was the last time you had a good laugh with God, your loving Father? Perhaps you never thought of it in such a way but laughter is really a prayer. It is a prayer of faith, hope and love that tries to deal with the incongruities of the human situation.

All prayer is a response to the initiative of God. God always takes the initiative and we respond. No matter how tragic, how complex the situation may be, I believe that this moment comes from God. And He intends it for my good, so I accept it and laugh, knowing that God will provide. Remember Abraham and Isaac on the way to Mount Mariah? Isaac asks Abraham, “Father, here is the wood and the fire but where is the lamb of sacrifice?" Abraham said, “My son, God will provide.” And he did because there was a ram caught in the brambles.

Think of it this way. I am a mystery. I think I know myself, but I really don’t. You are a mystery. I think I know you, but I don’t. Only God knows us as we really are. Each person is a mystery. Today there are over seven billion of these mysteries living and interactively working in this world. And each one is doing his own thing, exercising his own will. The result is a huge, colossal mystery, a mystery of mysteries. And there are some people, perhaps we our selves, who are trying to understand this mystery of mysteries. And what is even more ridiculous, we are trying to control it. Ho, Ho, Ho.

Laugher is a prayer of the whole person. My intellect perceives and discerns the humor and my body expresses it with laughter. In fact, we are the only creatures of God who can laugh. Angels cannot laugh. They have an intellect to perceive and discern the humor but they do not have a body to express it. Animals cannot laugh. They have a body to express it but they do not have an intellect to perceive and discern it. Since only humans can laugh we are most human when we laugh.

Unfortunately, few people seem to appreciate the value of laughter. They do not seem to realize that laughter puts all things in perspective. If we laugh at our failures they will vanish. If we laugh at our successes they will shrink to their true value. So laughter is good for the growth and expansion of the spirit.

It is also good for the health of the body. According to scientists, those who laugh often live longer and stay healthier. In fact, laughter has a profound and almost instantaneous effect on virtually every important organ in the body.

Oddest fact of all, laughter effects blood pressure both ways: it lowers high blood pressure and raises low blood pressure! And it doesn’t have any bad side effects; you don’t need a prescription for it, and it doesn’t cost a cent. Your body has a resident physician and a built-in pharmacy and its most effective prescription is laughter.

Life is not a problem to be understood and solved; life is a mystery to be lived. It is a mystery to be lived in faith, hope and love – and laughter, knowing that God will provide. Believe and laugh; laugh with God our Father as He transforms what is apparently a human tragedy into a Divine Comedy.


© 2006, 2007, 2008, 2009, 2010, 2011, 2012, 2013 Fr Rodney Kissinger, S.J. all rights reserved