It is, apparently, a sign of being irredeemably behind the times to use the acronym LOL (‘laughing out loud’). I never liked it much. In my youth, we were told that ladies do not laugh out loud, they smile graciously — or, in my case, give way to helpless giggles — at the foibles of mankind. Any suggestion of impropriety by way of risqué joke or allusion should, by the same token, be met with a glacial stare. How long ago all that seems! But it has left me with a vague feeling that laughter can sometimes be cruel and easily turns to the kind of derisive mockery St Benedict deplored. Time was when the letters LOL stood for ‘lots of love,’ and parts of me wish they did still. Can we reclaim them? If we do, may I put in a word for the monastic LiLi (‘like it or lump it’) and my favourite, L&P (‘love and prayer’)? Much of life is a LiLi experience. We can’t avoid the difficulties, but we can avoid making heavy weather of them. And what is love if it is not accompanied by prayer — if it is not taken up into that greater Love which embraces and redeems all others?
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