23rd March

Laughter

Being cheerful keeps you healthy. It is slow death to be gloomy all the time. Proverbs 17: 22

A frail old desert Christian had reached about ninety years of age, and he acutely felt the devils tempting him to fall into despair. So he used the weapon of humour to get rid of them. ‘What will you do, old man, for you might live like this for another fifty years?’ the tempters asked him one day. In reply he said to them ‘You have distressed me greatly, for I had been prepared to live for two hundred years!’ That did it. With great cries the devils left him.

At all hours Cuthbert was happy and joyful, neither wearing a sad expression at the memory of a sin nor being elated by the loud acclaim of those who were impressed by his way of life.
Life of Cuthbert by an anonymous monk of Lindisfarne

Caedmon, who lived at Whitby monastery, moved into the house for those who were dying. He and his nurse talked and joked in good spirits with each of the other occupants in turn until after midnight. Caedmon asked if they had the Sacrament in the house. ‘Why do you need Holy Communion now?’ they asked. ‘You are not due to die yet for you talk with us as cheerfully as if you were in good health’. He died with a smile on his face.
Bede

A well-known writer once pointed out that God must have a sense of humour, otherwise why did God make the duck with such a funny looking bill?

It is the heart that is not yet sure of God that is afraid to laugh in God’s presence.
George Macdonald

Teach us good Lord
to enjoy the fun of your creation
not to take ourselves too seriously
and to allow the sense of humour
which is your gift to us
to bubble over as it should.

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