April Fool’s Day is a good day to hear about fools. Let me tell you about two.
The first fool entered a Subway shop with his friends one day. He proceeded to gather all of his friends, his fellow customers, and all the employees into one giant circle in the middle of the sub shop and lead the whole throng in a kick-leg chorus in song and dance in a tribute to Nomar Garciaparra.
The second fool? Well one day in broad daylight, he ran naked, headlong into a snow bank. Then, still in his birth day suit, he proceeded to build seven snowmen side-by-side in the snow, and then he cussed them out one-by-one.
What’s the difference between these two fools? Well, the first one is me. I did that in the 1990’s after spending one hot summer day at the beach down the Cape with the sun and friends and beers. Why did I do it? I was a fool, that’s why.
The second fool is St. Francis of Assisi. He did that in the 1200’s after spending one cold winter day in Italy in prayer. Why did he do it? Divine Love. See, the seven snowmen represented the seven deadly sins, and the self-humiliation and cold would put them in check. Why is that so important? Because these tendencies inside him are the only threat to the love of his life: God. He treats them like a man would treat a group of thugs trying to kidnap his wife and kids.
On the outside, the actions seem just as foolish, don’t they? In fact, in his younger days, St. Francis used to do things like sing and dance in public like a fool. But my act really was just plain foolish, wasn’t it? His act? Well once I understood why he did it, it actually makes a lot of sense to me. So what has made the difference?
The crucified Lord Jesus.
St. Bonaventure wrote of St. Francis: “the memory of Jesus Christ crucified was ever present in the depths of his heart like a bundle of myrrh, and he longed to be totally transformed into him by the fire of love.”
Do you have a touch of the fool in you? Good. You are not far already from being a great saint. Be a fool for the crucified Lord Jesus.