Monday, November 04, 2013

Let it begin with me

So at mass on Sunday, I was in a great mood. I'd been to the Audrey Assad concert the night before (it was essentially an hour and a half of praise and worship, which was wonderful and much needed), and woken up at 6:15, thanks to the time change, then made some progress in reading St. Augustine's confessions (which I've been reading off and on for over a year now -- but I'm almost done!).

Like I said, great mood, the priest gave a wonderful homily, and I wasn't even minding the cantor's overly operatic musical stylings that typically distract me completely from the mass. I was sitting on the end of a pew, and next to me was an older man, easily in his 80s. I got up and went to communion and got hung up in the line for the precious blood, so because the pew had filled from the opposite end, walked all the way around the section of pews to come back to my seat. When I got there, I found the old man had moved both my purse and my sunglasses over and taken my spot!

He moved off the kneeler and let me back into the pew as soon as I tapped his shoulder, but it was amazing how fast my great mood started to fizzle, and I could feel myself getting annoyed. My internal dialog as I knelt went something like this:

"That man took my seat! And he moved my stuff! How dare he?! That's so rude! I would never do that! Does he think just because he's ancient he can do whatever he wants? I bet he just wants to duck out so he can win the race of other seniors out of the parking lot....But wait, I just received Jesus in the Eucharist, I shouldn't be letting myself be angry. Be charitable, be charitable, Lord please help me to be charitable."

Guess what the closing hymn was?

"Let there be Peace on Earth."

And I started to laugh silently to myself. "Let begin with me," indeed! It turned out that my supposition about the man was wrong, as he didn't leave until the hymn was over. I have no idea about why he actually felt the need to move over and take the spot at the end of the pew previously occupied by me (I guess I can't really call it mine, either, since the pews don't exactly have assigned seating). But I got to thinking as I drive home that that's all it takes, something that small and quick, for us to take our eyes off the Lord get off track, and for the devil to slither in, even when we've been focusing on prayer.  

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