In a book-interview "God is Young," the Holy Father reveals the prayer he's been reciting for 40 years to not be taken too seriously and maintain a touch of humor.
Along with Pope Francis, humor and cheerfulness have entered the Vatican walls, shaking up the habits of the Holy See, used to a little more formality. His secret: his simplicity and a good dose of humor, allowing him to live harmoniously with himself and others — all sprinkled with much kindness and heaps of smiles.
“If one doesn’t have a sense of humor, it’s very difficult to be happy,” highlights Francis in the new book-interview God is Young, released March 21, 2018. In his conversations with the Italian journalist, Thomas Leoncini, he describes a sense of humor as a quality which should never be lacking in a Christian “because it’s linked to the capacity to enjoy life, to be enthusiastic.”
Humor, he says, is “like the water that springs sparkling naturally from the source; there is something more: one perceives life, movement,” and “Life is too important to be taken seriously.” So as not to risk being taken too seriously, for the last 40 years the pope himself admits to reciting “The Prayer for Good Humor” by Saint Thomas More (1478-1535), a joyful and cheerful man, faced with the most serious of subjects.
Here is the prayer that the pope suggests to the young at the end of the book:
“Grant me, O Lord, good digestion, and also something to digest. Grant me a healthy body, and the necessary good humor to maintain it. Grant me a simple soul that knows to treasure all that is good and that doesn’t frighten easily at the sight of evil, but rather finds the means to put things back in their place. Give me a soul that knows not boredom, grumblings, sighs and laments, nor excess of stress, because of that obstructing thing called “I.” Grant me, O Lord, a sense of good humor. Allow me the grace to be able to take a joke to discover in life a bit of joy, and to be able to share it with others.” St. Thomas More (1478-1535).