I said of laughter, It is mad: and of mirth, What use is it?
All Commentaries on Ecclesiastes 2:2 Go To Ecclesiastes 2
Leander of Seville
Let your rejoicing of the heart in God be calm and moderate, in accordance with the words of the apostle: “Rejoice in the Lord always; again, I say, rejoice.” In another place, he says, “The fruit of the spirit is joy.” Such happiness does not disturb the mind with the base act of laughter but lifts the soul to the place of rest that is above where you can hear “Enter into the joy of your master.” One can usually tell what is in a nun’s heart by her laughter. A nun would not laugh impudently if her heart were pure. A man’s face is the mirror of his heart: a nun does not laugh wantonly unless she is wanton in her heart. “Out of the abundance of the heart,” says the Lord, “the mouth speaks”; likewise, the face of a nun laughs from the abundance of a vain heart. See what is written about this: “Of laughter I said: ‘Mad!’ and of mirth: ‘What good does this do?’ ” And again, in the same place: “Let laughter be mingled with sadness, and the end of joy may be sorrow.” And the Lord says, “Blessed are they who mourn, for they shall be comforted.” And the apostle spoke the truth to those insanely joyful: “Let your laughter be turned into mourning.” Flee laughter, therefore, sister, as a sin and change temporal joy into mourning, that you may be blessed if you grieve that you are a sojourner in the world; for those who mourn, according to God, are blessed and shall be comforted.