Franciscan Moments @ Saint Miriam: April 13, 2020

I recently wrote in my Easter Message that the devil thought he had won, but the light still came through The Light of the earth! Darkness was overcome by Christ’s resurrection and ushered in an era of joy and hope. Perhaps our own little deaths may be overcome by laughter and joy, too?

In the Middle Ages there was a custom called, “Laughing Monday ” (read as ‘Laughing at death’). This custom was common in central Europe but was gradually suppressed by the holy Church due to the violent attacks against it by the Reformers.

On Easter Sunday afternoon, the people would gather back at the parish for Vespers and Benediction. During the sermon that preceded this solemn service, the presiding priest would entertain his congregation with funny stories, anecdotes, and poems from which he would extract a moral conclusion. The purpose of this event was to “reward” the parishioners with a fun activity after the penitential spirit of the Lenten Season! Peals of laughter and frivolity could be heard in the many little towns and villages that dotted the landscape of central Europe — a happy consequence of the reality that life overcame death through the passion and resurrection of Our Lord Jesus Christ!

This custom later led to what was known as “Laughing Monday”, a tradition of practical joking that took place on Easter Monday where one would poke fun at the devil’s defeat. The devil thought he had won the battle when Jesus was crucified, but God had the last laugh — Jesus arose from the dead!

So, on this Easter Monday, as we still may not return to the normalcy of routine work and play, we can still return from a season of penance to one of great joy and hope, despite our present circumstances. For you see, Christ is risen! The devil has been defeated. Joy is here. Our life will find its way again post-pandemic. The real question is, will we be a people of joy? Will we allow this present circumstance, terrible as it may be, to rob of us of Easter joy and laughter?

Alleluia! May you have a most blessed Easter Octave! God bless you and know that we are praying daily for you during this time of turmoil and uncertainty. Happy Easter!

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