On Sunday, I returned from the pilgrimage in the footsteps of St. Philippine Duchesne in France. The evening before I left, together with my post-academic community in Poznań, I read this passage from a book by Fr. Tadeusz Dajczer “Reflections on faith” :
“The one enthroned in Heaven laughs” (Psalm 2: 4). When you look at yourself in the light of faith, you will see that all your claims for absolute seriousness and recognition are actually ridiculous. The sense of self-importance is largely opposed by the “virtue” of humour. It turns out that it is very necessary for faith as an act of growth in seeing the world in the right light and in the right proportions. Humour is seeing the world on the axis of absurdity. “
The author goes on to write about Jansenism, which I have heard a lot about in the history of my Society. It was in this trend that St. Madeleine Sophie grew up and it took her many years to get rid of the false image of God who is distant and cold, from whom we must constantly deserve love, and we will never be able to do it anyway. That is why, as the Sisters of the Sacred Heart, we are sent to show people that God is tender, close and wants to give us life and happiness completely for free – love is our mission!
Fr. Dajczer writes about one more face of Jansenism:
“According to Jansen’s views, a Christian is a penitent for sins, he can not allow himself to be joyful. The sorrow of his sins should dominate in his life. (…) The “virtue” of humour will help you overcome the poison of sadness that Satan is trying to put in your soul, and by taking away your self-love, it will enable you to live a life of joyful faith. “
Thus, the answer to the evil of Jansenism is also a sense of humour and a life of joy that Jesus always wanted for us! 🙂
In his reflection, however, he goes even further:
The “virtue” of humor, seeing the world in terms of the absurd is a religious procedure that can have the value of an exorcism. When you fight with a wave of temptations, a wave of intrusive thoughts that can torment you, do not join in the fight against Satan, because he is stronger than you, but try to laugh at him and ignore him. Use this “exorcism”, which is a religious sense of humour. Laughing at Satan you reject his attack in the most effective way.
To my great surprise, at the beginning of our pilgrimage, one of our sisters, someone from the Sacred Heart family and a Jesuit priest stood on stage and began with a story that the Congregation for the Causes of Saints has just announced that from now on, apart from the two miracles needed to be canonised, they will need… a joke! It will be necessary to prove that the future saint had a sense of humour 🙂 So on all subsequent days we could witness a sketch, during which all three in a brilliant manner referred to the life of Philippine, visited places and our life as pilgrims. It was a real spiritual feast!
During the pilgrimage, we had the opportunity to get to know not only the place where St. Philippine lived, but also her – as a woman of relationship, of surpassing herself, receiving the unexpected and constantly praying. I recognised her as the one who is now smiling from above and reminding us not to be so serious 😉