We heard “Act Two” from the story of the prophet Jonah at Mass today – a tale that inevitably reminds me of “Act One”…in which the reluctant missionary finds himself residing in the belly of a whale.
Maybe it’s because I’ve reached the stage in life when such things can no longer be taken for granted, but I’ve long thought that a balky digestive system is an overlooked grace in Jonah’s life.
I mean, really: Three days in the belly of the beast…and he comes out no worse for the wear? No pockmarks on his skin from the whale’s stomach acid? No mastication-induced bruises or broken bones?
The flip-side, of course, is how often we fail to notice the everyday miracles of our existence: How readily our bodies convert what we consume into fuel and sustenance, for example.
Apparently, such simple (and yet remarkable) gifts were not lost on St. Thomas More. Recently, I came across his Prayer for Good Humor – a light-hearted supplication that features the stomach’s inner workings in its opening lines.
Wise words, worth sharing…as we pray along with Jonah and Thomas for conversion of hearts today.
Prayer for Good Humor
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.
Let us pause now…to recall that we are in the presence of the Holy & Merciful One.