Embracing humor and fun in discernment

Benedictine Sisters play basketball at St. Mary Monastery in Rock Island, Ill.

I loved the closing talk at the Vocation Conference. It was about joy, laughter and humor: a somewhat odd but wholly welcome concept when talking about the serious task of discernment and vocation ministry.

I loved the talk because it validated my serious belief that we have to be light-hearted. I was seriously ill about 3 years ago and ever since my recovery I insist on humor and fun – as much as possible! – every day. (That’s me on the left, beating Sr. Claudia in a little one-on-one!) Life is way too short to be entirely serious. Read Ecclesiastes and remember life is a cycle with time for all emotions.

Discernment is a time for all emotions, too. Maybe you feel delighted when circumstances just seem to happen as you need, allowing you to simply know God is watching out for you. Or you laugh out loud at the wonder of God and the Spirit working.  Discernment is about appreciating all that is in your life and recognizing a loving God is leading you.

If you read some of Jesus’ experiences carefully, you can find humor in them. How about the time the squatty figure of Zaccheus – up in a tree – watches Jesus come into town? When Jesus responds to him, Zaccheus scrambles down and runs excitedly to Jesus. The vision is light-hearted, to say the least.

My basic work ethic has always included fun. If what I’m doing doesn’t include fun then maybe I need to discern whether it is right place for me. It applies to religious life as well – our lives must be full of fun as well as prayer. Our community laughs a lot and enjoys life in all its facets.

I encourage you to discover the humor of God and in the life of Jesus. Recognize God in all ways, and look for a community that does the same.

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