Fr. Fio is well known as a writer and preacher of biblical and charismatic spirituality. Here he writes as a ‘happy son of St. Ignatius’, to invite us to enter deeply into gospel scenes by using the Ignatian prayer method called “Application of the Senses” or Imaginative Prayer. By this “contemplative prayer” (many detailed examples of which are given in the book), the events of Jesus’ life come alive, and we discover that far from being “a chronically grim person,” Jesus was actually a very happy and attractively cheerful person, able to draw large crowds to listen to his preaching for hours on end.
The author then takes “a fresh look” at Jesus as a human person, and highlights the “human character-strengths of Jesus,” as witnessed in various Gospel scenes. We are invited to enter these scenes through “Application of the Senses”, and to recognize how Jesus is a paragon of some essential human qualities: Joy, Compassion, Wisdom, Courage and Transcendence. But the lion’s share of the book deals with ‘Laughter and Joy,’ to convince us that Jesus, as the Model human being, was indeed a truly happy person, who used both humor and compassion to draw people closer to God. The logical conclusion is that, in imitation of Jesus, joy and laughter should be intrinsic to the life of every Christian, as also our good Pope Francis keeps reminding us.
I urge laity and religious (Jesuits too, especially in this Ignatian Year!) to enjoy this little gem of a book. By bringing us closer to the human Jesus, it will enable us to better live out our Christian vocation: to be in Jesus’ company.
Title: Jesus laughed! A fresh look at the Human Jesus
Author: Fr. Fio Mascarenhas, SJ, D.Min.
Publisher: Gujarat Sahitya Prakash, Anand