In this issue
a closer look is taken at behaviour in church, lack of punctuality,
and conversation. Minor points, but perhaps not as minor as they seem!
Have I guarded my
pew as if I owned and not merely rented it? [and if it is not rented?]
Was I rude to harassed
apparators who requested me to allow others to use my pew? Did I even
descend to rugby-scrum tactics to keep out trespassers?
Have I added to
the scandal of disgusting selfishness by going immediately afterwards
to Holy Communion before Mass, without having made any preparations?
Have I behaved
in church as I should not be allowed to behave in a cinema or a bar?
Have I distracted
others by endless whispering?
Have I been annoyed
by Miss Modern's lip-stick, Mr. Goeasy's sprawling manner and Mrs. Gettingdon's
hat, forgetting that if I were minding my own business and saying my prayers
I should not, be likely to notice these things?
Have my genuflections
suggested physical jerks or physical decrepitude rather than the worship
Have I annoyed others
by slipping into the confessional out of my turn?
Have I hurried over
preparation for confession, preoccupied all the time with the fear of
being kept waiting or by the desire to get back home to do something infinitely
less important, eg. to read a thriller or spot a winner?
Have I been late
for Mass through my own fault?
To be late for
Mass through one's own negligence is always a venial sin of irreverence
towards the Blessed Sacrament and the Divine Victim: it is a mortal
sin if one misses a principal part of a Mass of obligation, i.e. if
one come after the Offertory.
myself of having picked the sermon to bits in order to make fun of my
myself of having gone to hear great preachers solely out of snobbery,
because they were the rage....of having sought everything in such displays
but the knowledge of God." (My Sins of Omission.).
Have I been unpunctual
through my own fault?
To be unpunctual
deliberately for no sufficint reason is against charity and fidelity
to one's word or contract, and may be a sign of ingrained selfishness
which always puts the ego first.
is an occasion of sin for others, because, taking human nature as it
is, rash judgement, uncharitable thoughts, irritability grumbling and
bad temper, are particularly certain to result from it.
On the other hand,
the punctual who are kept waiting, must remember that they, are not
dispensed from, the duty of exercising patience and charity.
They must repress
unkind thoughts, and rash judgements and smother the leaping volcanic
fires of fury, or they will be guilty of venial sin. Hard I know, but
who said the spiritual life was meant to be uniformly easy?
On no account must
they assume a sulky, testy, condemnatory manner before an explanation
has been given, or demand an explanation in the menacing manner of a
prosecuting attorney, and so make an explanation morally impossible
and extremely unlikely.
It is not wrong,
of course, to remonstrate kindly and moderately, if a satisfactory explanation
is not given or even attempted.
Have I 'talked down'
Have I talked too
much and strummed perpetually on the "I" note? Has my talking
been motivated by the vain desire to stay in the limelight and convince
my listeners what a wonderful, superior, admirable person I am? Have
I talked principally and in fact almost exclusively about my own sayings
and doings and ideas?
Do I talk with breathless
haste so that others may not succeed in getting in a word edgeways?
Have I rudely interrupted
conversation when it did not interest me or kept me in the background?
Have I been taciturn
and talked too little?
Have I adopted
the pose of a sphinx to convince others what pearls of wisdom I should
proffer if only did I speak?
Have I developed
an unduly ponderous personality and a one-track mind, as a result of despising
small talk and not knowing how to relax?
Have I cultivated
a sense of humour?
Have I been depressingly
The sour faced
are generally shallow and unbalanced and not serious, or serious about
the wrong things, like the Pharisees.
Next month: Neglected