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It’s Lent: Are you laughing?

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Joseph Pearce - published on 02/23/24

With the absurdity of human foolishness and folly in mind, the absurdity of sin, let us take our Lenten pilgrimage toward where laughter is ever after.

The great Catholic writer, Hilaire Belloc, once proclaimed that “there’s nothing worth the wear of winning but laughter and the love of friends.” This might seem flippant, especially as we wend our way solemnly through the gravitas of the season of Lent. But let’s think a little more deeply about what Belloc is saying.

Where is laughter ever after? Where is the love of friends unfettered and eternal? The answer is simple enough. The place of everlasting laughter and love, the place of perfect friendship is the Kingdom of Heaven. This is the good news at the very heart of the Gospel. How can our hearts not leap with laughter and love in the presence of such good news?

But, if this is so, why do we wander into the desert during the forty days of Lent? Is it merely to be miserable for misery’s sake? For that matter, should we be miserable for misery’s sake? Doesn’t Christ command us to look cheerful. “When you fast,” He tells us, “do not look somber as the hypocrites do ….” In the same chapter of St. Matthew’s Gospel He tells us that “the eye is the lamp of the body.” 

“If your eyes are healthy,” He says, “your whole body will be full of light.” Our eyes should see the goodness of the Lord and should reflect that goodness to others. Our neighbours should see laughter and the love of friends when they look into our eyes. They should see a glimpse of heaven, a glint of everlasting light.

Our neighbours are not always our friends, of course. Sometimes they are our enemies. Nonetheless, we should suffer our neighbors to come unto us as Christ tells us that we should suffer the little children to come to Him. Our neighbors are the children of God, which is why they are our brothers and sisters. “Then let us love one another and laugh,” says Belloc. “Let us suffer absurdities, for this is only to suffer one another.”

With the absurdity of human foolishness and folly in mind, the absurdity of sin, let us take our Lenten pilgrimage. Let us see it as a pilgrimage of grace in which we hope to grow in love for Our Lord and our neighbor. It is, therefore, with a happy heart and a glint in our eye that we should journey through the desert on our way to the promise of the Resurrection and the promise of what lies beyond it. Beyond the Cross and the Resurrection is the promised oasis, Paradise, a place where our thirst will be quenched with the waters of everlasting life. And everlasting laughter.

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LentSpiritual LifeVirtue
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