This morning's reading from Ecclesiastes made me stop to ponder the "time" we are in today.  There is a time for everything.  (Eccl. 3:1-8)  We can go through that passage line by line and make comparisons with today's climate in this country but I was particularly struck by the "time" to laugh and a "time" to cry. 
   Just prior to Mass I was sharing that we seem to have lost the joy and laughter that is part of our call as Christians.  Then, I hear how maybe this isn't the time for laughter, impossible I say. 
   I am reminded of St. Francis and his description of perfect joy.  I think we are in the season of perfect joy.  One day in winter St. Francis and Brother Leo were going from Perugia to Saint Mary of the Angels.  As Brother Leo was a few steps ahead of him Francis called out several times giving examples of what perfect joy was not.  It was not giving sight to the blind, hearing to the deaf, life to the dead, knowing languages of all people, converting all the infidels to the faith, and Francis goes on and on for about two miles.  Finally Brother Leo asks, "...in God's name tell me where I will find perfect joy."
   Francis responds, "When we arrive at St. Mary of the Angels so drenched by the rain and frozen by the cold, spattered with  mud and suffering from hunger, and we knock on the door and the porter comes and angrily says, "Who are you?" And we say, "We are two of your brothers...and he will not let us in but keeps us standing in the snow and water, in cold and hunger until it is night, and then if we patiently endure such insults without being disturbed or murmuring, and humbly and charitably feel the porter knows us that is perfect joy.  And if we persevere in knocking and the porter comes out and attacks us with very hard blows and we bear these things with patience and love, accepting the insults wholeheartedly, this is perfect joy.  ...If we endure so many evils, so many insults and blows with joy, thinking we ought to bear and endure most patiently these pains of the blessed Christ, that is perfect joy.
(paraphrased from Francis of Assisi Early Documents III, 449-450)
    Maybe loud, raucous laughter isn't for this time, but perfect joy ...that's another matter.
 
 God is good all the time.  Come experience that Goodness at IL Ritiro.