Tuesday, February 12, 2013

Shrove Tuesday: A Day To Laugh

Fr. Karl Rahner, in his delightful chapter on Shrove Tuesday in The Eternal Year, urges us to laugh heartily today. He decries those who take themselves so seriously that they look askance at a good belly laugh or criticize those who are adept at a good guffaw. He actually suggests that, not only does that smack of ungodliness, it's a possible sign of downright lack of love.

Spontaneous laughter, especially at unexpected moments, reminds us that we are human, that we're not the Almighty, that, as Rahner says, we are "that manifold, incalculable being that never factors out without a remainder. The being that can be broken down into no common denominator other than that which is called God--which you are not, and never will be." In acknowledging ourselves to be humans, we are acknowledging God who has given us life in which there are all sorts of times and moments, including "a time to weep and a time to laugh.

Secondly, who can doubt that Godself laughs? Amidst all the human antics and foibles for which we're responsible here below, who cannot visualize our great God roaring with laughter at our naiveté, our bumbling attempts at dignity and seriousness, our utter inability, most times, to "get it".

Finally, our laughter, our joy is but a foretaste, a tease, to keep us on the journey toward the unspeakable joy and laughter which await us as we pass from human life into resurrection. 

Most of us will probably be attending Shrove Tuesday celebrations at our parish of choice this evening. So go ahead, dig into the flapjacks, smear on the butter, pour on the maple syrup and laugh with abandon as you enjoy the company of your sisters and brothers!

No comments: