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From the Chapel — April 15: April showers

Our Sunday Visitor chapel. Scott Richert photo

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“From the Chapel” is a series of short, daily reflections on life and faith in a time of uncertainty. As people across the world cope with the effects of the coronavirus — including the social isolation necessary to combat its spread — these reflections remind us of the hope that lies at the heart of the Gospel.

Here in northeastern Indiana, it looks like God has a sense of humor. After a very mild winter, here on Easter Wednesday, snow is falling on the green grass, grape hyacinths and daffodils.

We could learn a thing or two from our creator. Actually, I think many of us already have. While there is far too much strife and anger on Twitter and Facebook, there’s also quite a bit of humor, as people try to cope with the reality of a global pandemic and the restrictions that have been placed on them (or that they’ve voluntarily placed on themselves) in order to combat it.

On Easter Sunday, a relative of mine wrote on my Facebook wall: “Question that you may know the answer: Did Jesus see his shadow or do we have six more weeks of plague?” As in a lot of humor, the laugh comes from deliberately riding the line between propriety and impropriety, but in doing so, it reminds us that the risen Christ is ultimately the answer to everything we’re experiencing.

Our family has coped pretty well so far. There are 10 of us here together — my wife and I and our eight children, ranging from 8 on up to 24. We had homeschooled everyone until we moved to Huntington in 2017, so transitioning to working and learning from home hasn’t been too hard.

But what’s kept us going, and kept friction to a minimum, is the fact that we all have a great sense of humor, and we’re not afraid to use it. When we gather around the dinner table every night, I never know what’s going to happen after we say grace, but I do know it’s going to involve waves and waves of laughter. (Last night, it turned into chants of “Shave his head! Shave his head!” after Rose, our 17-year-old, asked me why my hair looks the way it does.)

And as humor relieves stress, it also prepares us for moments of quiet and calm, as we say grace after meals and pray the Divine Mercy Chaplet. For a certain type of Christian (I’m looking at you, John Calvin), humor and piety may seem at odds, but anyone who has read some of the Fathers of the Church knows that we Catholics have been a hilarious bunch from the beginning. This life may be a vale of tears, but some of those tears are tears of joy, and a foretaste of the world to come.

So as the snow continues to fall, and I reflect on our travels through this world to our heavenly home where it’s Easter all the time, permit me to recall the old schoolyard joke: April (snow) showers bring May flowers. And what do May flowers bring?

Pilgrims.

Scott P. Richert is publisher for OSV.

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