Featured Reviews, VOLUME 4

Featured: Between Heaven and Mirth – James Martin, S.J. [Vol. 4, #26]

“What Joy!”

A Review of
Between Heaven and Mirth:
Why Joy, Humor, and Laughter Are at the Heart of the Spiritual Life
by James Martin, S.J.

Review by Mark Eckel.


Between Heaven and MirthBetween Heaven and Mirth:
Why Joy, Humor, and Laughter
Are at the Heart of the Spiritual Life
James Martin, S.J.
Hardback: HarperOne, 2011.
Buy now: [ Amazon ] [ Kindle ]

My faculty have impish ways.  One is jovial, spouting sarcasms and light-hearted ribbing.  Another is a clandestine wit whose laugh-line missiles cause a two second delay in explosive glee.  Still another lies in wait for the listener to fall into his word traps, a sly smile then dawning on his face.  We spend half our time in meetings, laughing.  I love it.  What joy, then, to read Between Heaven and Mirth!  One knows a book will be good by how many smiley faces are applied!  James Martin knows how much The Church needs levity and he encourages the purpose of lightheartedness throughout the pages.

Laughter helps to lighten the load we carry.  “Humor is a path to an open acceptance of reality” (162) is a statement that resonates with me!  Life is messy, hard, difficult, and dangerous.  Depending on the circumstances, laughter helps to defray the high cost of hardship in the life of another.  A jolt of levity breaks Icelandic conversations or the logjam of disagreements.  Over and over Martin opens his humor file (he must have one!) to prescribe the medicine of delight to those in need.  Martin does not sidestep the difficulty of asking “Do I have to be happy all the time?” or “Where do I find joy in the midst of sadness?”  A spiritual mentor, Martin gives cool water for the desert heat of life.  Sometimes the awfulness of a circumstance can be tempered by the hilarity of hyperbole: don’t miss the roach story in the chapter “My Life Stinks” (185).

Click the link below to read page 2…

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