Monday, October 08, 2007

Reading for Feb 7, June 8, Oct 8

February 7, June 8, October 8
Chapter 7: On Humility

The tenth degree of humility
is that he be not ready and quick to laugh,
for it is written,
"The fool lifts up his voice in laughter" (Eccles. 21:23).

Some thoughts:

People who think it is funny to be sarcastic or insulting, often through this passage in my face. I think people who model their sense of humors on the smart ass, insulting, dysfunctional garbage that passes for humor on America sitcoms, have proved the wisdom of what Benedict says here.

We have enough of that nonsense in this world. Benedict has nothing against joy and neither does this passage.

Insight for the Ages: A Commentary by Sr Joan Chittister

Humor and laughter are not necessarily the same thing. Humor permits us to see into life from a fresh and gracious perspective. We learn to take ourselves more lightly in the presence of good humor. Humor gives us the strength to bear what cannot be changed, and the sight to see the human under the pompous. Laughter, on the other hand, is an expression of emotion commonly inveighed against in the best finishing schools and the upper classes of society for centuries. Laughter was considered vulgar, crude, cheap, a loud demonstration of a lack of self-control.

In the tenth degree of humility, Benedict does not forbid humor. On the contrary, Benedict is insisting that we take our humor very seriously. Everything we laugh at is not funny. Some things we laugh at are, in fact, tragic and need to be confronted. Ethnic jokes are not funny. Sexist jokes are not funny. The handicaps of suffering people are not funny. Pornography and pomposity and shrieking, mindless noise is not funny. Derision is not funny, sneers and sarcasm and snide remarks, no matter how witty, how pointed, how clever, how cutting, are not funny. They are cruel. The humble person never uses speech to grind another person to dust. The humble person cultivates a soul in which everyone is safe. A humble person handles the presence of the other with soft hands, a velvet heart and an unveiled mind.

Labels: , ,


Post a Comment

<< Home