Hilarity and Holiness

I’m the first to admit all religions have their super serious self righteous bores, but many also have causes to rejoice, crazy and wonderful aspects of humor and humble humanity. Many have interesting and terrible and hilarious histories.

Christianity, however, is more joyful than any other.

From the very beginning, when the Holy Spirit was poured out there was a sense of supernatural joy. The observers at Pentecost thought the apostles were drunk.

They had, if you like, an overdose of the Holy Ghost.

St Joseph of Cupertino
St Joseph of Cupertino

Then in the midst of persecution and hardship their joy continued. They sang in prison, joked as they were being tortured (St Lawrence being grilled alive and saying “You can turn me over. I’m done on this side.”) and went to their deaths singing, joking and dancing. Remember St Thomas More writing to his daughter just before his beheading saying that he looked forward to “Meeting merrily in heaven.”

This is one of the reasons that I am a Catholic–because this is the religion above all others that believes hilarity and holiness are part of the same package.

This is why I trust comedians, actors, poets and artists rather more than moral theologians, for they stand things on their head and see life aslant.

Thus a jester may be juster than a Doctor of Law, and a fool  may be wiser than the most solemn of atheists.

So may St Joseph of Cupertino–the patron saint of levity–pray for us.

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