and Christian Laughter
"We then saw what St. Jerome said of those who
serve God and those who serve the world: 'Each to the other we seem insane.: Invicem
insanire videmur. There is a never-ending duel between the two."
|"If anyone would compare the Gospel story with
the prophetic saying, he will readily perceive how often, and in how many ways, the Lord
in the heavens laughed at the impious counsels of men and had them in derision."
those who, despising all earthly things and even life itself, embrace the heavenly
philosophy with all their heart, seem insane to those for whom nothing is pleasant but the
earthly and perishable. He who pours out his inheritance for the poor is insane in
the opinion of the man who places the defense of his life in riches.The man who, for the
Gospel, willingly exposes himself to exile, poverty, imprisonment, torturing, and death,
in hope of eternal blessedness, is a lunatic for the man who does not believe that, after
this life, there is a more blessed one for the pious. He who spurns the honors of
princes and of the people so as to obtain glory with God, is mad for those who really are
critics give me more credit than I deserve. I'm not the least eager for such
praise, coming as it does from people in whom I recognize neither wit nor learning nor
eloquence. Believe me, my dear Dorp, if they were better endowed that way, they
wouldn't be offended by jokes which aren't simply witty or learned, but convey a good
|"A certain preacher
jumped into the pulpit half-asleep from a night's drinking.[. . .] He began with
these words, as though taken from St. Paul: Ebrii sunt, et ergo, 'Are they drunk?
so am I."
||"Even as a joke, I wouldn't want to have
written anything that could offend a Christian conscience; only grant me a reader who
tries to understand what he reads, not to misrepresent it. But if one were to reckon
up the number of readers who have neither wit nor judgment to understand; then add the
number of those that know less than nothing of good literature because they've been
infected rather than instructed by muddled and careless teaching; and finally tot up the
lot of those who hate anyone who knows what they don't know, and who bring to their
reading nothing but a fixed determination to blacken anything that by some chance they do
not understand; then indeed the only way to avoid calumny would be to write nothing at
|"Only look at
those heavy, solemn fellows who've devoted themselves to philosophic studies or to serious
or difficult business -- they have started to grow old even before their youth, their
vital spirits and animal juices all dried up as a result of constant worry and the
pressure of painful, intensive cogitation."