Get Over Yourself!

Lent is coming to a close. That news may prompt some people to say, "Thank God!" Lent is seen as a time of penance, of giving things up — and of, well, seriousness.

Advertisement

Most people think Christianity is like that year-round. Humorless. Depressing. Boring. Christianity is seen as a path of deadly seriousness, when it’s supposed to be one of life-giving joy.

Part of this is due to the inability to see the value of humor in the spiritual life. Unfortunately, many religious people tend to take themselves way too seriously. You know, the "frozen chosen." That’s one reason why humor — especially self-deprecating humor — is important.

Check out the rest of that line of thought here on NPR.

James Martin, SJ

Comments are automatically closed two weeks after an article's initial publication. See our comments policy for more.
8 years 6 months ago
Dear Michelle, Thanks! I've always wondered what the exact quote from St. Thomas is. Peace, Jim Martin, SJ
8 years 6 months ago
A while back I was meditating using my imagination in prayer as I have been doing for about 30 years from a book by Bernard Bassett S.J. I was almost dozing as people in their 80th year seem to do. My spirit was that of a very young girl who was baby sitting a two year old named Jesus whose mother had to go to the well for water. I remember how quick and smiling the baby was and he was doing everything he could think of to get me to chase him around his yard. (It was dusty.) The most wonderful thing about that meditation was the laughter that came from that little boy as he ran, and expected me to seize him up in my twelve year old arms. His laugh was so full throated and full of glee that I began to laugh out loud myself. I have remembered His laugh. I can hear it yet.
8 years 6 months ago
When my youngest was 10 he asked me, "Does God have a sense of humor?" His brother immediately countered, "He made us, didn't he?" To quote the Angelic Doctor: It is requisite for the relaxation of the mind that we make use, from time to time, of playful deeds and jokes.  -- St. Thomas Aquinas
8 years 6 months ago
Fr. Martin, You're welcome. To be more precise, it's from question 168 in the Summa Theologica - Secunda Secundae under: “Whether there can be a virtue about games?” Cheers! Michelle
8 years 6 months ago
I am enjoying the comments column. How wonderful to let your imagination go ! Do anyone know where the picture of Jesus can be obtained ? So good to see that the Angelic Doctor is quoted.. Thanks ! Margaret McCormick OP
8 years 6 months ago
Margaret, if you want the picture, put your mouse on it and click on the save icon. I am not sure about the picture, however, so maybe I should lighten up. I don't believe Jesus was ever a fisherman and I saw something on Discovery last night that says Carpenter was a mistranslation. He was a day laborer (which has interesting implications for the immigration debate). Since Zebedee was a fisherman, however, he might have worked the boat occassionally, since Zebedee was married to Mary Salome, who is said by some to be the daughter of Joseph by a first wife - to be the mother of James and John she could not have been Jesus little sister unless these two Apostles were teenagers. Since reading Gary Wills book "What Jesus Meant" I have been given over to the belief that Jesus was a bit more broken down physically than we often portray him. In this picture, he looks like he is getting ready for a Luau, which would be difficult after giving Levi/Matthew the Empire's cut.

Advertisement

Don't miss the best from America

Sign up for our Newsletter to get the Jesuit perspective on news, faith and culture.

The latest from america

John Milton's Paradise Lost (published in 1667) may be more relevant in our time than ever before.
Lisa AmplemanOctober 19, 2017
Released in April 2017, "DAMN." portrays Kendrick Lamar’s internal torment as he struggles with his faith.
Olga SeguraOctober 19, 2017
iStock photo
The majority of Americans now believe that “God is not a prerequisite for good values and morality.”
Michael J. O’LoughlinOctober 19, 2017
A neighborhood destroyed by wildfire in Santa Rosa, Calif. The Diocese of Santa Rosa "has been hit hard" and "is in an ongoing state of uncertainty" because of Northern California wildfires that began the night of Oct. 8, said Bishop Robert F. Vasa. (CNS photo/Jim Urquhart, Reuters)
Upward of 3,000 buildings, including the homes of at least 15 parishioners, have been destroyed just in Santa Rosa, a city of 175,000 people.
Jim McDermottOctober 19, 2017