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@Spirit Daily

Laughter chases the devil away. He hates when we laugh because when we laugh we have joy. The devil is the antithesis of laughter. The only snicker he has is when we are in pain. This is the dark side of humor: when we laugh at the misfortunes of others. I'm not talking about that. We're talking about a good, clean, and honest laugh -- a laugh that purges tension.

"Laugh and grow strong," said St. Ignatius Loyola.

It really does work. The other night I heard a preacher talk about how the devil tries to emotionally block us up like throwing stones in a well. He does this our whole lives, trying to halt the flow of positive emotions. Laughter is like a geyser that tosses the boulders aside. Laughter lets loose healing. Laughter released hormones called endorphins that cause us to relax.

True, there's nowhere in Scripture where Christ told a joke. And, true, earth is serious business. We'd never deny that! We're cognizant indeed of the difficulties and dangers on earth, which is a place of trial. No one could accuse us of taking such things lightly.

But we need to have balance. We need to have joy. No matter the difficulty, the bottom line is that we live forever -- eternity is a fact -- and knowing this should expel all gloomy thoughts.

Want to say an effective prayer? Pray for a better sense of humor. Pray for a smile. Pray to make others laugh. You'll be amazed at how quickly the Holy Spirit will move in this direction, for God has a very cheerful side. His deepest essence is joy. Pray to lift your spirits. Pray to lift the spirits of others.

When we do, the devil flees because with good humor comes the light of heaven.

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