19 January 2014

Lord, make me laugh!

Lord, make me laugh!
By Michel Quoist

I don’t know why, Lord,
but when I was praying this morning
I suddenly realized
that I never imagined you
laughing a really resounding laugh,
echoing in waves, one after another,
towards others who welcome it,
enriched by the joy it offers.

I imagine you, calm and peaceful,
and occasionally smiling quietly,
but above all serious,
and sometimes weeping.
In fact, Lord, I’m glad to know
that you knew how to cry!

But your evangelists thought it better not to tell us
that one day, in one circumstance or another,
you laughed out loud.
And I’m sorry they didn’t tell us.

I also see you, Lord, handsome, luminous,
transfigured by prayer,
or your eyes shining with anger,
moral and religious hypocrites.
I see you disfigured,
trembling with loneliness and fear,
blood-stained under torture.
But laughing out loud . . . definitely not.

Nevertheless, I’m sure that you used to laugh.
Even if there are good people who think,
that such ideas are inappropriate!
You laughed as a child in Nazareth,
when you played in the square with your friends.
As an adolescent, you laughed with your cousins
when you were with the caravan, returning from the Temple.
You laughed with your disciples
at the wedding in Cana of Galilee,
and you sang,
and you danced when others danced.
But afterwards . . .
I find it hard to imagine!

I’ve tried to discover why.
I think I’ve found the reason . . .
It’s because I haven’t enough faith!

I don’t have too much trouble
believing that you are God.
Your Father whispered it to me,
I’m sure,
because you told us that alone
one couldn’t believe it,
and I thank you for this wonderful gift
which transforms my life.
But I admit
that I don’t find it easy
to believe that you are a man,
not a superman — a man,
a real man,
and that you didn’t simply play at being a man,
disguised as a man,
pretending to be with us,
in solidarity with us.
Nevertheless, Lord,
though I may find it hard to believe sometimes
when I meditate on this mystery just with my head,
it is the most wonderful news for me,
news that fills me with gratitude and joy,
when I contemplate it in my heart.
Because in my eyes,
it is the surest
and most overwhelming proof
that you love us beyond all else,
and that this love is close to us,
so close that it touches us,
that it takes root in us,
in this humanity created by you,
but so far away,
so far away from you,
if you hadn’t come among us.

For you could have loved us from on high, Lord,
and could have sent us an ambassador
other than yourself,
but you travelled personally.
You could have come beside us,
so that you, God, could lead us
and we, human beings, would follow you.
But you came among us,
a man with us,
a man like us,
so much like us
that we became brothers and sisters:
brothers and sisters of the baby who cried,
and drank his mother’s milk;
brothers and sisters of the little boy who learned to read,
to pray;
brothers and sisters of the man who preached so well . . .
too well,
so that he died under torture,
offering his life for us.
Our brother Jesus,
who knew how to weep . . . to laugh . . .
because he was a man.

I have some strange ideas, Lord,
but what do you expect?
Thinking of you, so close to us . . .
so like us
so that we may become like you . . .
makes me happy,
so happy;
I’m amazed that we’re not happier,
and it hurts me to see us looking too serious
when we speak about you;
and I don’t see why we should seem sad
when we come together to pray to you,
and to offer with you to the Father,
your suffering . . . and your tears,
your joys . . . and your laughter,
your life.
Perhaps the people around us would have more faith in you.

if we were more joyful
and they could see our joy.

Pardon my childish tricks,
but like a little one
on an older brother’s knee,
I want to say to you this evening, Lord,
“Make me laugh!”
Yes Lord, that’s my strange prayer . . .
make me laugh,
so that I, in my turn,
can make my brothers and sisters laugh.
They really need to!


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