One of my favorite modern-day religion quotes comes from Mark Hart (aka The Bible Geek) who wrote on Twitter a while back, “An annoyed and joyless Christian is the devil’s greatest billboard.” In a nutshell, it captures why Christians need to be people of joy.
That quote came to mind when I read Matthew Warner’s new interview with singer-songwriter Jackie Francois about her new album, “Divine Comedy.” Having followed Jackie on Facebook and Twitter for about two years, I know she has a serious side, but she’s also got a Catholic Lucille Ball or Carol Burnett inside her that seems to burst out from time to time. In the interview, she captures the importance of humor and joy in the Christian life perfectly:
MW: Taking our faith seriously doesn’t mean we can’t have a sense of humor. You’re a funny gal. How important is comedy to evangelization?
JF: Humor is so important! People in this world think that if you are passionately Catholic you lack all passion, humor, and joy. When I meet people on planes (which is all the time, since I travel every week), they are absolutely shocked that I am Catholic, because I have a huge smile on my face (almost all the time) and crack jokes. Our hearts, which can be guarded and afraid, are put at ease with humor. We feel more open to a person when they give us joy and laughter, and ultimately we are led to God, because He is the source of joy. One of my favorite quotes is from Blessed Mother Teresa who said, “Joy is the net of love by which we catch souls.” People won’t always remember what you say, but they’ll remember your presence, and people are drawn to those with joy. Like St. Teresa of Avila said, “I am more afraid of one unhappy sister than a crowd of evil spirits… What would happen if we hid what little sense of humor we had? Let each of us humbly use this to cheer others.” I try to use humor because 1. I am a big goofball, and 2. it opens up people to the message of the Gospel. St. Katharine Drexel said, “We must attract them by joy in order to lead them to its source, the Heart of Christ.” Amen!