“If one doesn’t have a sense of humor, it’s very difficult to be happy; it’s necessary not to take oneself too seriously,” stresses Pope Francis in the new book-interview “God Is Young,” published on March 20, 2018 by Robert Laffont Publishers/Presses de la Renaissance for the French. It’s a work that treats particularly the theme of young people, in view of the forthcoming Synod of Bishops of October 2018.
In his dialogue with 32-year-old Italian journalist and writer Thomas Leoncini, the Pope speaks of a sense of humor as a quality that should never be lacking in young people. “A sense of humor is fundamental to be able to breathe, because it’s linked to the capacity to enjoy life, to be enthusiastic,” he says.
“Humor also helps us to be in good humor, and if we are in good humor it’s easier to live with others and with ourselves,” continues the Pontiff. “Humor is like the water that springs sparkling naturally from the source; there is something more: one perceives life, movement.”
In this connection, he quotes English writer G.K. Chesterton (1874-1936): “Life is too important to be taken seriously.” And the Holy Father confides that every day, for almost forty years, he has recited the “Prayer for Good Humor” of another Englishman, Saint Thomas More (1478-1535).
Here is More’s prayer, which concludes the book:
Grant me, O Lord, good digestion, and also something to digest.
Grant me a healthy body, and the necessary good humor to maintain it.
Grant me a simple soul that knows to treasure all that is good
and that doesn’t frighten easily at the sight of evil,
but rather finds the means to put things back in their place.
Give me a soul that knows not boredom, grumblings, sighs and laments,
nor excess of stress, because of that obstructing thing called “I.”
Grant me, O Lord, a sense of good humor.
Allow me the grace to be able to take a joke to discover in life a bit of joy,
and to be able to share it with others.