Sirach, Chapter 43, Verse 33
It is the LORD who has made all things; to those who FEAR
him he gives wisdom.
The greatest wisdom is
to do the will of God.
The Shema Yisrael which is the same prayer the Christ most likely prayed every morning Himself is still prayed by pious Jews today.
Hear, O Israel: The Lord our God, the Lord is one; and you shall love the Lord your God with all your Heart, and with all your soul, and with your entire mind, and with all your strength.
To be wise is to not take ourselves too seriously and to have the ability to laugh at ourselves and to see the humor in our foibles. Humor is a gift from God.
I know our Lord does have a sense of humor which at times He has revealed to me. Life at times can be challenging and as every married man knows life with your spouse is even on good days challenging. One day was particularly perplexing and in a prayer to Our Lord I said, “Lord why is it that you have strapped me to the meanest, most cantankerous, nasty person on earth.” To which He responded, “Funny that’s the same thing she says about you.”
Humor is God’s gift to us so that we do not take ourselves too seriously and it often helps us to make good judgments.
John McCain in his book “Character is Destiny” expresses the value humor in leaders and portraits for us the life of Mark Twain as the person who used humor most effectively to change the world.
John says of Mark Twain:
He became the most famous person in the world, and he helped Americans live up to their promise by making us laugh at ourselves. One of the greatest American novels was published in 1885, by Mark Twain, after seven years of intermittent writing. Its title is The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn. There had never been one as good before, and there has never been another as good since, or more American. Until he was twenty-seven years old, the man who wrote it had been known as Samuel Langhorne Clemens. Thereafter, he was Mark Twain. Rebellion was Twain’s salvation. His writings rebelled against social injustice, against the weaknesses of human nature, against life’s cruelest misfortune, against the heart’s own crimes. When confronted with the choice between what others thought was wrong but conscience insisted was right, “All right, then, I’ll go to hell,” was the rebel’s answer. Twain led no great protest movement, enlisted in no underground army, ran for no office, and joined no political party. He was, as has often been remarked, a “great noticer” of people, places, and things, and he told their stories, or variations of them. He told them with as much humor as he was capable of conceiving—humor that was, as it turned out, more entertaining and more meaningful than that of anyone before or since. He was the funniest man alive, and he made good use of the talent. “The human race has only one effective weapon,” he argued, “and that is laughter.” He was an American, a fact he was grateful for and proud of, but never conceited about. Human nature is flawed, wherever it resides, and he felt its flaws keenly in others and in himself. He knew his country was building a civilization better than the celebrated civilizations of the past, but that some aspects of human nature could never be changed. Human beings are apt to do as much bad as good. But Twain knew something else. They were apt to be funny as well, awfully funny. I think it could be fairly said of Sam Clemens, and the alter ego that was his great achievement, that he didn’t like people generally, but loved them well enough individually. And they loved him back. “An American loves his family,” Thomas Edison once observed. “If he has any love left over for some other person he generally selects Mark Twain.” Whether he even knew it or not, he was as a speaker and writer as instructive as he was entertaining. He helped Americans see the strengths and the foibles of our own peculiar, promising, but imperfect nature. He helped us see it because he recognized in himself those very same flaws and strengths. He helped encourage in us an honesty about the injustices we had committed or allowed to exist, and a desire to repair them. He made being human seem both a trial and a privilege, and a very funny joke. “God created man,” he said, “because he was disappointed in the monkey.” His admittedly dark view of human nature would have caused many others to shout denunciations at the world. Twain laughed at it, and made the world laugh back. “I have had a ‘call’ to literature, of a low order—i.e. humorous,” he wrote his brother Orion. “It is nothing to be proud, but it is my strongest suit.” As he often treated any personal fact, Twain exaggerated his own modesty. He knew humor to be life’s most necessary tonic and employed to take the sting out of human folly and misfortune, “to blur the craggy outlines, and make the thorns less sharp and the cruelties less malignant.” He encouraged us to rebel against injustice and cruelty and falsehood, even when they were our own creations. “I have no color prejudices nor caste prejudices nor creed prejudices,” he once assured an audience. “All I need to know is that a man is a human being, and that is enough for me; he can’t be any worse.”
THE TREE OF HAPPINESS (Cont.)
King Richard was glad to see all the Grand knights and their sons preparing for the Quest. Why even Sir Michael sent for his God-son Gabriel to be part of the great quest. Gabriel was the son of Henry, Sir Michael’s brother. Henry was not a member of the royal court and lived deep in the forests of Utopia. Henry had renounced his birthright, by his marriage to a simple peasantry woman, named Diane, who was known not only for her beauty but also for her intelligent mind and loving ways. Diane and Henry had raised Gabriel quite different from the other young men of Utopia. He was taught all the great sciences of the time and his father trained him in the Knightly arts. He was a young man of strength in both mind and body. That was why Sir Michael chose him to be his Sergeant at Arms on the great crusade to find the Tree of Happiness.
When Gabriel got the word that he was to go with his uncle he was in his most favorite places to be. He was in the upper most branches of the oldest oak tree in the forest. It was said of the tree that it was used as a meeting place for Mass when St. Dennis first brought Utopia to the church over 500 years ago and if this was true it would make the tree at least 600 years old. Gabriel always loved it here. This was his special place. This was the place where he spoke with his creator. It was here he developed his strength of mind and by climbing the great tree he also developed his physical strength.
After Gabriel joined Sir Michael, King Richard and the rest of the Crusaders visited many faraway lands in search of the Tree of Happiness. They fought many battles (which are stories themselves) they learned the value of friendship, duty and the worth of selfless service. The king and his Knights found themselves returning to the beliefs of the church and strangely found themselves happy although suffering in hardships together. After five years of searching, they found their selves approaching Utopia having never found the Tree of Happiness and having a sense of failure. Gabriel now a Knight himself, found they were approaching the tree of St. Dennis, his special place, in the middle of a terrible storm. As they approached the tree, Gabriel was mentioning to King Richard how this tree was a special place to him, and they camped there for the night to wait out the storm. Gabriel had just finished mentioning this to King Richard when a great bolt of lightning struck the great tree splitting it. Sadly, later that night Gabriel went to bed.
In the morning Gabriel, Sir Michael, King Richard and the company of Knights approached the split tree. As they approached, they discovered buried within the tree a crucifix that had been attached to the tree and the tree had grown around it. The crucifix was the cross of St. Dennis which had the following words inscribed upon it, “Upon this tree (cross) God hung in payment for our sins and love for us. THIS is the true Tree of Happiness.”
Today Diane T. Havermale succumbed to pancreatic cancer in February 2015; She is loved and remembered by her seven children: Claire, Christopher (Gabriel), Candace, Dara, Rachel, Nicole and Vincent (Michael). Please pray for her intentions and those who struggle with cancer.
· Total Consecration to St. Joseph Day 4
 McCain, John and Salter, Mark. (2005) Character is destiny. Random House, New York