Blog Post

St. Lawrence and the Necessity of Good Humor

“Turn me over, I’m done on this side.” – St. Lawrence
Have you ever noticed how good it feels to laugh? "It's not surprising that the adage, "laughter is the best medicine" is such a popular cliche." It’s true. It’s also not surprising that many of the saints were known for their keen sense of humor.

Take St. Lawrence, for example. There he was being grilled to death when he quipped, “Turn me over, I’m done on this side.” What effect do you think it had on his executioners? They probably thought he was nuts or they realized that his faith in Jesus gave him complete and total peace and surrender while amid his dire circumstances.

Other saints who were known for their mirth include St. Philip Neri who is said to have laughed his way into heaven. St. Francis of Assisi, who referred to himself as a “fool for Christ,” believed that his reputation for talking with the animals, though humorous, was important to his mission. And St. Teresa of Avila was a known practical joker.

Pope St. John XXIII, was most famous for his reply when a journalist asked, “Your Holiness, how many people work in the Vatican?” He paused and said, “About half of them.”

And who can forget our dear Mother Angelica, of happy memory? Just try watching an episode of Mother Angelica Classics without cracking a smile. She was quick-witted indeed and it was probably one of the characteristics that made her most relatable to her audience.

Why not try incorporating humor into your evangelization efforts? Here are a few tips:

  • Plan a fun evening with friends or family that could include dinner, games, a funny movie, or even a karaoke machine if you dare.
  • Find the humor or positive side of your circumstances. Have you ever heard the phrase, “If I didn’t laugh, I would cry?” There’s a hidden truth in it. Practicing gratitude is one way to put a positive light on our challenges.
  •  I’ve always loved reading the comic strips in the Sunday paper. Though many of them have gone off the deep end, there are still a few clean, family-friendly, genuinely funny ones out there.
  •  Smile. St. Mother Teresa of Calcutta is quoted as saying, “Peace begins with a smile” and “Let us always meet each other with smile, for the smile is the beginning of love.” It is said that the Sisters of Charity were encouraged to adopt the charism of continually wearing a smile on their faces.
It seems so simple but smiling and laughter have been scientifically proven to increase the happy hormones and decrease the unhappy ones. They also lower stress levels and improve our mood.

The world is watching you because you are a Christian. It may take a little more effort, but let’s all do the world a favor by smiling and laughing more. ;)

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