Feb 18 “Laughter begets liking” – Meister Eckhart

Tuesday February 18  –  Meister Eckhart  (c. 1260 -c. 1327)

Meister Eckhart, a German Dominican, theologian, philosopher and mystic, was known along with his writings for sermons addressed to ordinary people as well as to  women and men more more visibly engaged in Church life.   Eckhart died just twenty years before the peak of the European pandemic known as The Black Death which killed 30% to 60% of Europe’s people.  One might be inclined to set his intuition about the identity of God as embodied in laughter and affection as an antidote before the fact for the terrified and violent fears that convulsed  Europe in the mid-14th century  as the living worked to bury some 100 to 200 million of those who died around them.  A grim time badly in need of  the rebirth of Europe’s sense of humor and  playfulness.

How does a university simultaneously challenge its students to risk the terrors of self discovery and of attention to the whole fabric of human behavior while encouraging in those same students a resilient sense of humour about that same human condition?   It is one of the great challenges of teachers and one of the great gifts that great mentors offer their students.

This saying of Meister Eckhart might make a good short text to read outloud in front of your mirror when winter grows overlong or students show their less attractive sides when under pressure, from fear that they do not have the inner stuff to find their voice and engage the real world with generous desires.

Have a good day.


john st sj


Today’s Post — This Trinitarian saying is attributed to Meister Eckhart.

Indeed I say, the soul will bring forth Person

if God laughs to her and she laughs back to him.

To speak in parable, the Father laughs to the Son

and the Son laughs back to the Father;


And this laughter begets liking,

and liking begets joy, and joy begets love,

and love begets Person,

and Person begets the Holy Spirit.”

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