My brother sent me a link to a story about a man at the Taipei zoo who tried to convert some lions and nearly ended up martyred in a very traditional kind of way. My brother accompanied it with the following joke (which is probably even more amusing when told at his house, in Rome):
A pious young man goes lion hunting in the jungle. Being a man of God he has had little experience in arms and combat. So when he finds a lion, he finds that his hands shake uncontrollably when he aims at the beast. He prays to God:
“Dear God, steady my hand so that I may shoot straight.”
He then fires his shot.
However, the lion takes notice of the pious young man trying to kill him. The lion stands up, and begins charging at the pious young man.
The charging lion scares the crap out of the man, but Jesus is still with him. He tries to muster his courage, prays again, takes aim, and shoots.
However, shaking even more now due to the enormous, angry, roaring, charging lion… he misses.
He then turns and runs as though the riders of the apocalypse were after him. The lion stays right behind him.
He runs and runs, the whole time sure that Jesus will save him.
In fact he seems to be putting some distance between himself and the lion. But then he trips and falls, and the lion is on him.
The poor pious young man makes a last prayer to God.
“Dear God, let this lion have a Christian thought in his beastly mind.”
A miracle happens.
The lion rises up on to its hind legs like a man, puts his forepaws together. The beast’s mouth opens and instead of a roar, a sweet voice speaks the words:
“Dear Lord, Bless this meal which I am about to receive….”