It is uncouth to be happy in difficult times and clever to be sad, but forget the wise of this age and be happy. There is always something terrible happening and that is bad. There is always something joyful happening and that is better.
Sometimes we act as if even a moment’s rest and we will have let down the Cause. The good news is that God has given us a day of rest each week and while he delights in our labor, like a good Father watching his children, He is a better boss to us than we are to ourselves. At the end of the day, He would give his beloved rest.
I am told* that in during the period of time when books had to copied by hand the monks would place notes in places where these hard working holy men thought their thoughts would never be seen. Scholars have found them, many are delightful, and here is a great one in translation:
I would like to have the men of Heaven in my own house;
with vats of good cheer laid out for them.
I would like to have the three Mary’s,
their fame is so great.
I would like people from every corner of Heaven.
I would like them to be cheerful in their drinking.
I would like to have Jesus sitting here among them.
I would like a great lake of beer for the King of Kings.
I would like to be watching Heaven’s family
Drinking it through all eternity.**
This is a party I hope to attend and thinking about it makes me jolly. I can only imagine a monk, a bit cold in Ireland, thinking about some feast and his flagon of beer. What was Heaven, but good companionship and good beer? Who could be better friends than the saints? They are beyond death now and so it is all feast without end.
Some overly serious soul . . .a censorious person who cannot imagine a moment taken aside from fighting for the Cause (pick any) will be shocked, but of course Heaven is full of joy, feasting and rest. There will be work to be done there, of course, meaningful work. The cosmos is very large and perhaps to another race we will serve as angels do to us. Who knows?
This much God has said . . . whatever Heaven is like, there will be all the good things of the Earth there. Whatever good there is in beer, a warm fire, and a comfortable chair will be there endlessly . . . and the monk’s great lake of beer is no more silly (or perhaps literal) than streets of gold.
God became a human in the person of Jesus so we could know God. His humanity must never be forgotten while we worship His Divinity, because even our our most Divine thought comes from Jesus, through Jesus, and in Jesus. We are in God’s image, but we will never be God. As a result, anything that God says to us is reaching down to us . . . making Himself less so we can grasp what He is saying . . . even if only dimly and in icons.
If you are tired today, think of that Irish monk, gone to Glory now ahead of us, waiting by his great lake of beer, a flagon in his hand, and a story to tell. We will be there with him, can enjoy life now as a foretaste, and have a moment of rest from a Cause that is His to win in any case.
*I was introduced to these marvelous poems through a concert of Randall and Kate Gremillion. If you have not heard them sing, you should. They presented a program of music to Wheatstone Academy summer camp that was beautiful and a foretaste of heaven. If you wish to hear them contact Wheatstone.
**Translation Sean O Faolain.