LIBERA ME, Domine, Iesu Christe, ab omnibus iniquitatis meis et universis malis,
fac me tuis semper inhærere mandatis et a te numquam separari permittas. Amen.

Wednesday, 20 October 2010

Recognizing the devil at work . . .

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 !


  1. Could only happen at the London Oratory!

  2. Well now, had you both been my sons in the same situation, I would have grabbed the one you mention by the collar and told him to wait, and to apologise and then suggest to him, to ask you politely, to excuse him, as he gets by. I might even send the rude little blighter back to his seat to say an act of contrition before even allowing him to receive!!

    Maybe I'm a really really, bad example of a Catholic Mother though?

  3. A Jesuit, even a very old and orthodox one, might say you are being a teeny bit scrupulous.

    I, who am nothing, would say that your getting a bit miffed was quite understandable and excusable.

  4. Yes, Left Footer, perfectly reasonable and without sin to feel ever so slightly miffed about this. I suffer from it myself, partly due an an orderly obsession with using the time for all the rows in front of me to file out to communion to make some preparation to receive. I have a personal dislike for the practice of everyone standing and rushing to the front, and usually think, would *someone* (NB) please engage some Ushers. Mostly I rebel in these circumstances by waiting until the last of the communion line passes me, and going to communion then. But this also, sometimes causes disruptions. 'Britain! You are a nation renowned for queueing! Get in line!' (Except when it comes to confessionals, I hate formal queues for confessionals).

    (NB. I hate the phrase 'would someone please.....' It is so, 'would anyone else but me', and if hear it on my lips, it is immediately followed by the mental reprimand 'Get off your arse and do it yourself' - I am not known for speaking politely to myself. In the case of Ushers though, I really value their role in Church, and am not called in any way to be one. :))

  5. There is much you can heal through prayer and the rosary. I found a great website that has a link that allows you to pray the rosary with others. It is just fantastic and I feel it is important to share good finds with others.

    God Bless!