There’s an hotel in Stoke-on-Trent – I remember it as ‘The Grand’, but I may be wrong about that – where, many years ago now, a local Anglican Priest going to entertain to lunch, on the Feast of S. Ignatius Loyola, a couple of young friends who were staying with him. They had been out shopping, as they were redecorating the Vicarage, and were carrying their purchases with them as they entered the hotel . . . and the Reverend Father tripped and let go of a large can of paint, which described a graceful arc through the air, and then hit the floor and burst open covering everything within a huge radius with high-quality white gloss paint !
You may wonder where that’s leading . . . and the answer is however, really : except that whilst I imagine that the floor and everything else which were covered with paint may have looked pristine, underneath they were not only no better than before, but were probably a good deal worse.
I know myself well enough to know that I am prone to ‘whitewashing’ myself at times : and also to realize that this is neither wise nor useful. If I want sorting out, there’s only one way to do it . . . make a good preparation and Act of Contrition, and then go and make the best confession I can manage, and let God sort me out.
Although I am sure that the foyer looked shining white after the paint went everywhere, I am sure that it looked even better after it had been cleaned off, and both the original dirt and the superficial coverup had been removed.
Saturday is a good time to go to Confession; and S. Ignatius was a great believer in it . . . so let us, today, try to make the best confession we can, and ask S. Ignatius for his prayers that we may truly clean out our souls, rather than just covering them with an illusory coat of white paint !