Friday, 14th Week in Ordinary Time               

                “Be shrewd as serpents and simple as doves.”

                How can we combine the qualities of a serpent and a dove? Fr. Raul de los Santos, in his reflection in 365 Days with the Lord (2011), answers this question by way of a story he heard from a monk.

                According to the story, Jesus and Peter decided that to make things easier for all concerned, they would allow entry to the pearly gates of heaven for people who could give them a very good clean joke. For days, the Lord Jesus and Peter had a great time laughing and rolling on their stomachs enjoying the jokes they were hearing.

                An old priest one day came to be interviewed. When he heard the new requirement, he was shocked and furious. The old priest declared, “I will have no part in this stupidity!” “All my life I have tried to be holy and have done nothing but good, and all you ask of me now is a joke?” Peter laughed out loud (LOL), “That is the best joke I have heard so far!” “Come in, Father!” And the old priest was guided to his room in heaven.

                Fr. Raul comments, “An old, sour, and grouchy person is said to be the devil’s crowning work.” To be able to laugh is to be shrewd as serpents and simple as doves. Somebody said, “Happy is the person who can laugh at himself or herself. He or she will never cease to be amused.” While Charlie Chaplin said, “A day without laughter is a day wasted.”

                Perhaps, the Lord God is telling each of us: “Learn to laugh at yourself more freely.” “Don’t take yourself or your circumstances too seriously.” “Relax and know that I am God with you.” “When you desire my will above all else, life becomes much less threatening.” “Stop trying to monitor my responsibilities – things that are beyond your control.” “Find freedom by accepting the boundaries of your domain.”

                Perhaps, God does not stop there. He adds, “Laughter lightens your load and lifts your heart into heavenly places” “Your laughter rises to heaven and blends with angelic melodies of praise.” “Just as parents delight in the laughter of their children, so I delight hearing my children laugh.” “I rejoice when you trust me enough to enjoy life lightheartedly.” “Do not miss the joy of my presence by carrying the weight of the world on your shoulders.” “Learn to laugh more freely.”             

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