Last evening, Fr. James Martin was on the campus where I teach. He gave a great talk based on his book, Between Heaven and Mirth. The message was that a sense of humor was part of being human, and that we need to allow a spirit of joy to permeate our religious practice. Too many gloomy Christians. He punctuated his talk with some really hilarious jokes, many of them on himself. The man could be a standup comedian! We had a good crowd, among them my students from the first semester course on Christian Spirituality. I had used Martin's book The Jesuit Guide to (Almost) Everything as one book in that course, and the students loved it. I was so pleased that they came to his talk when they had long since finished the course!
A man knocks on the door of a Franciscan church and asks a priest to pray a novena so that he might be able to afford a Lexus. “What’s a Lexus?”
says the poverty-minded Franciscan. Frustrated, the man goes to a parish
run by the Dominicans (the order, not the nationality). “Will you pray a novena so that I can afford a Lexus?” Says the Dominican: “What’s a
Lexus?” Finally, the man figures he’ll go to the Jesuits, since they
have a reputation for being so worldly. “Father,” he says to the priest,
“do you know what a Lexus is?” The priest nods. “Good,” says the man.
“Will you pray a novena that I can afford one?” “Sure,” says the Jesuit.
“What’s a novena ?
A Jesuit, a Dominican, and a Franciscan were walking along an old road,
debating the greatness of their orders. Suddenly, an apparition of the
Holy Family appeared in front of them, with Jesus in a manger and Mary
and Joseph praying over him. The Franciscan fell on his face, overcome
with awe at the sight of God born in such poverty. The Dominican fell to
his knees, adoring the beautiful reflection of the Trinity and the Holy
Family. The Jesuit walked up to Joseph, put his arm around his
shoulder, and said, “So, have you thought about where to send him to
Maybe you have to be Catholic to get these jokes, but the crowd last night roared with laughter at them.