This Book Is a Laughing Matter

Jesuit jokes stand out in the realm of religious humor, so it’s no surprise that a new book on holy mirth is written by a Jesuit.  He’s Fr. Jim Martin, and his new book is Between Heaven and Mirth: Why Joy, Humor, and Laughter Are at the Heart of the Spiritual Life.There are lots of jokes in the book–Buddhist, Jewish, and Lutheran jokes as well as Catholic ones–but Fr. Martin is serious about humor.  He thinks that a little laughter can enhance one’s spiritual life.  He says, “I don’t think that there’s a problem with Catholics not being serious enough during Mass; I think there’s a problem of Catholics being too serious during Mass all the time. It’s obviously a place for reverence, but it should also be a place for joy, too, and occasional humor and laughter.”  Go here to watch Fr. Martin explain the book.

I’ll end with a joke from Catholic blogger Simcha Fisher:

Old Mr. Horowitz is crossing the street when he is hit by a car. A priest happens to be passing by and sees him lying in the street, clearly near death. So he cushions the old man’s head and tries to make him comfortable, and then starts to tend to his soul. He whispers into his ear, “Do you believe in the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit, Three Divine Persons in One Substance, and in the Holy Catholic Church?”
And Horowitz moans, “I’m DYING, and he’s asking me RIDDLES!”
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Jim Manney
Jim Manney is the author of highly praised popular books on Ignatian spirituality, including A Simple, Life-Changing Prayer (about the Daily Examen) and God Finds Us (about the Spiritual Exercises). He is the compiler/editor of An Ignatian Book of Days. His latest book is What Matters Most and Why. He and his wife live in Ann Arbor, Michigan.


  1. Similar to Ms. Fischer’s joke: After Mr. Horowitz is hit by the car, a passerby stops to help, makes a cushion out of his jacket, and puts hit under Mr. Horowitz’s head, then asks, “Are you comfortable?”
    “I make a living.”

  2. I was known once for my sense of humour (Sometimes a bit dark) Now I don’t laugh so much. Thank you for the reminder… I’ll get out my joke books. There is something on the internet that will send one a Joke a day. Start the day with a Prayer and a joke! A.M.D.G.

  3. We could definitely use some humor in our spiritual life especially during the Mass when most actually tend to either be so serious or sleepy. There’s so much to learn from having joy in our lives even if it was just from a simple joke.


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