We've all had our fair share of parties. Birthday parties, Christmas parties, "Haven't Seen This Person In a Long Time" parties, and the ever-notorious College Party. But it wasn't until another Protestant buddy told me roughly the same thing that I started taking notice of why that might be.
"You Catholics know how to party."
You see, this time, it was after this big Catholic college retreat that we had both attended, and we were all sitting around the biggest campfire in the universe with our guitars, singing 90's songs and running around in the dark like a bunch of dorks. Until this point, I had never really thought about the way we partied or how often we partied or even what we were partying for. But it dawned on me as I sat there with him screaming "Living on a Prayer," that this was not a normal party. For that matter, none of the Catholic-Parties that I had ever been to would have been considered "normal" compared to the usual party I had been to growing up.
I think a lot of us get into this mentality that a "party" is either a thing for a little kid at Chuck E.Cheese's, or as your stereotypical frat house fiasco in which windows get smashed and the cops get called and people end up passed out on the neighbor's lawn smelling like a brewery. But when it comes down to it: what is the Oktoberfest that St. John's holds every year? What is the feast of Our Lady of Guadalupe? What is Christmas? Are these not causes for celebration?
There's something to be said for the somber times. And believe you me: Catholics do that outrageously well. But I think my Protestant friends always only ever viewed this as the "default" Catholic mode. When, in reality, we have so many different reasons to be in a near-constant state of celebration. Pray in earnest, and then celebrate. Even in times like these, we have reasons to be thankful - to party.
David and all the house of Israel were bringing up the ark of the LORD with shouts of joy and sound of horn."
~ 2 Samuel 6:14-15