There are times when one regrets the feelings one has had, but was genuinely unable to control them at the time; and then one has to accept that sometimes one is bedevilled in the most literal sense of the word . . . when a devilish instinct – which clearly is not a gift of God – affects one, usually at a critical moment, and interferes with one’s ability to maintain a spiritual equilibrium : a thing which is perhaps particularly relevant in the context of the ‘lukewarmness’ I refered to earlier.
Let me tell you a story.
Last Saturday evening, after the Rosary Crusade, because I wanted to say Vespers anyway, I made the decision to stay at the Oratory, say Vespers, and then stay on also for the 6:00 pm First Mass of Sunday . . . if only because F. Ronald had reminded us of the potential Plenary Indulgence, and ensured that we had said prayers for the Holy Father’s intentions . . . and as I’d been to confession that morning, and rather obviously said the Rosary publicly, I thought that making a decent Communion would just possibly qualify me for that Indulgence . . . which must be of some use to the Holy Souls, or someone who needs it.
Just before Mass began someone came and wanted to get past me, and sit a couple of seats along from me. Fine; perfectly proper.
However : when it came to time for Holy Communion, and well before the Priests had even finished giving Holy Communion to the (enormous) choir (from the Oratory School, I think), and whilst I was still kneeling and waiting until it was realistically practical to get up and go to the altar rail, that person very abruptly demanded that I move . . . ‘I want to receive Holy Communion !’
Well, yes, of course; so did we all : but the determination to make a mad dash for the altar rail seemed slightly unseemly, and the determination to force someone to move instanter to permit this, rather than wait until that person moved to do the same thing, seemed to me (shall we say) less than entirely seemly as well . . .
I can’t comment on the effect on that person’s spirituality : but I do know that it took me a little time to recover my composure after what I perceived as such an aggressive approach from my left . . . I tried, not very successfully, to accept that it was probably mainly my fault, for not getting up and creating a free way the moment Holy Communion began : but because I felt upset myself, it obviously affected my thoughts at the time of Holy Communion . . . which was, of course, exactly what Satan wanted.
I’ve tried to bring myself to realize sincerely that I was in the wrong, and that I had no right to complain or react adversely in any way to what must have been an entirely proper observation . . . and to recognize the need to feel sorrow for creating a moment of distress for my neighbour : but it wasn’t deliberate in one way, because it all happened so quickly that I didn’t actually have time to make a conscious decision . . . which leads one to recognize that this sort of devilish antics needs one to work at recognizing the possibility of it when there isn’t a problem, in the hope that one will perhaps be able to develop a resistance to falling for it when it does arise.
Meanwhile, if the person whom I offended is reading this, please accept my sincere apologies for failing to perceive the need to be out of your way immediately you decided to go forward for Holy Communion – and also for feeling aggrieved when you expressed your desire to do so.
Mea culpa !