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Finding God can be funny

“Did you hear the one about the Jesuit and the Dominican, both heavy smokers who asked their respective superiors if they could keep smoking and praying?” If you didn’t and want the punchline then get yourself a copy of Flemish Jesuit Nikolaas Sintobin’s new book, Jesuits Telling Jokes, published by Loyola Press. Not only will you get the punchline, but you’ll get a thorough unpacking of the joke in terms of its underlying wisdom about prayer and Jesuit spirituality. If you want to get a flavour of the book and hear more about this joke, then listen to this interview Nikolaas gave to Pat Coyle of Irish Jesuit Communications.

Nikolaas, an ‘internet chaplain’ and creator of the website seeingmore.org, talks to Pat about the reason why he collects jokes about Jesuits and the importance of humour in helping people easily understand challenging concepts. For him, humour that teaches happily is always loving, unlike cynicism and sarcasm which often has a barbed edge to it. He reveals a few of his stack of over twenty jokes from this book and he explains the deeper truths behind them. He employs this unique formula to very good effect in his book and in sections of the interview. So a joke ostensibly about the difference between the Dominicans and the Jesuits ultimately ends up as a very good teaching on the ‘discernment of Spirits’. This type of discernment is what Pope Francis has urged people to become proficient at as they try to follow the promptings of the Holy Spirit in their daily lives.

Nikolaas is also fluent in Dutch, English and French and the book, originally in English has been translated into those languages as well as Spanish and German as well. It’s available in all good bookshops and on line from Loyola Press and Amazon.

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