Religious life is not all about work and prayer: laughter and joy are just as key to a healthy religious life, if not more! One of the things I love about the Franciscans is that they are very down-to-earth, enjoy having a sense of humor, and rarely put on a face of false piety. Because of this, we’ve often been depicted as foolish or simple minded in many jokes, looking less serious and organized than our Jesuit or Dominican counterparts. Obviously there’s some historic truth to this, but I think what it says most is that we embrace our sense of humor as much as anyone. I hope that the three jokes I’ve picked will bring a little laughter and joy to your busy day!
Stranded on a deserted island: A Dominican, a Jesuit, and a Franciscan were stranded on a deserted island for many years. One day, they found a lamp buried in the sand, and out popped a Genie. The genie said to them, “Thank you so much for setting me free from my lamp! I will grant each of you one wish to show my gratitude!”
The Jesuit spoke first: “I long to be back at the university where I study and teach once more. Please, send me back, away from here!” Poof, he was gone. The Dominican spoke next: “I long to be back with the people, preaching the word of God in the streets and in the church. Please, send me back, away from here!” Poof, he was gone. After thinking long and hard, the Franciscan spoke last: “I kind of miss those guys. Can you bring them back?”
Power Outage: A Franciscan, Dominican, and Jesuit were concelebrating the Mass when the power suddenly went out in the church. The Franciscan took great joy in opportunity for simplicity, and sat in quiet prayer in the dark. The Dominican took the opportunity to give an eloquent sermon about how God is the light for the world, leading all out of darkness. Seeing the responses of his two concelebrants, the Jesuit went downstairs to the basement and fixed the fuse.
The First Charism: Saints Benedict, Dominic, Ignatius, and Francis were in heaven arguing over which of their charisms was most primordial. Saint Benedict said: “All the way in the garden of Eden, all that existed was work and prayer, ‘Ora et Labora,’ therefore we are first.” Dominic jumped in, “Hold on. In order for Eden to be created, God had to speak, and so the Word was first. Dominicans are older.” Ignatius, feeling quite confident, said, “But even before that, there was chaos, and the lord gave creation structure and order. The Jesuits are clearly first.” Chuckling to himself, Francis agreed: “You’re right. First came chaos!”