Tuesday, July 18, 2006

The Tonic of Silliness

The saints were nuts. We often trick ourselves (or are tricked by the enemy) into thinking that becoming a saint means becoming "serious".... stern and rigid, like a marble statue. Hands folded in prayer, gazing heavenward, snubbing our noses to the "world" and all it's pleasures. Phooey. St. Philip Neri once shaved half of his beard off just to freak people out. St. John Bosco at the age of 55 could still out run any boy in his famous School for Boys. St. Theresa of Avila said "God spare me from long-faced and gloomy saints." St. Francis of Assisi once danced around with a stick, faking to play a violin, when he saw his brothers were getting too "serious." I recently read of an eighth century St. David who built a tree fort in a sycamore so he could have some quiet time with God. How cool is that? And St. Thomas himself, the Angelic Doctor who composed the Summa Theologiae once said "There must be time for frivolity." And so, I put forth the need, the necessity, that from time to time in our hurried, frazzled, cell phoned, e-mailed, plugged in 24/7 days (that would be ME), that we must turn to the Tonic of Silliness. What is this elixir of hilarity that can renew us, supercharge us with endorphins produced by prolonged laughter? It is the gift of seeing this world for what it is.... not a dead, opague thing, swirling atoms and bits of matter, mindless and bending towards some unknown end. It is seeing the world as transparent, as a birthday present! As clear and translucent as a sacrament, for that's what it is, in the ancient sense of the word... a Mystery, a physical entity that can communicate to us spiritual realities! With this vision we can see a Loving Father behind it all! And what a sense of humor He has. Look at a platypus. Come on! Better still, look at Chief Halftown (pictured above). He was a full blooded member of the Seneca tribe who travelled the country teaching kids how to bowl.... and he had a show on Channel 6 until 1999. That's what I'm talking about.
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