"Be ye angry and sin not" (Ps 4:5) - well, this morning, after Confession, I'd said my penance (five Pater's and Ave's), lit some votive candles, and was just settling down to pray, when two ladies coming from out the side chapel and across the sanctuary steps decided to have a fairly loud conversation. A cough or two elicited no change. When they came over, still talking, to the Marian icons and side altars of Our Lady and the Sacred Heart, I thought they were going to leave by the side door; but no, they kept on chatting.
At this point I lost my short temper. "Excuse me, ladies, I'm trying to pray," said I, still kneeling at the forward pew, voicing my irritation at their distracting converse. Then I snapped, and added still more tersely, "This is a church, not a gossip-chamber."
They scuttled off, but instantly I felt frustrated, angry, and wretched again: so much for going and sinning no more! (The fact that, in amongst their conversation, they'd mentioned some silly devotional fad had helped annoy me particularly: so I was judging them rashly.)
After managing to calm down (it seemed overscrupulous to go back to the confessional), and lamenting my lack of charity, I turned, chastened, back to praying over the words of the Mass of Our Lady on Saturday: Salve, sancta Parens... As it says in the Gospel of Mary's Mass, "Blessed rather are those who hear the word of God, and keep it" (St Luke xi, 28). I especially repeated the words of the Confiteor and so forth at the start of Mass.
I was praying over the words of the Mass, perhaps blindly and hypocritically, because Fr had mentioned in Confession that we should remember that we are reborn as sons of God, and not just fallen mortals born "of blood, or of the will of the flesh, or of man" (St John i, 13), so I had resolved to recite the Last Gospel, the Prologue of St John (i, 1-14) and think on this truth:
In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. The same was in the beginning with God. All things were made by him: and without him was made nothing that was made. In him was life, and the life was the light of men. And the light shineth in darkness, and the darkness did not comprehend it. There was a man sent from God, whose name was John. This man came for a witness, to give testimony of the light, that all men might believe through him. He was not the light, but was to give testimony of the light. That was the true light, which enlighteneth every man that cometh into this world. He was in the world, and the world was made by him, and the world knew him not. He came unto his own, and his own received him not. But as many as received him, he gave them power to be made the sons of God, to them that believe in his name. Who are born, not of blood, nor of the will of the flesh, nor of the will of man, but of God. And the Word was made flesh, and dwelt among us, (and we saw his glory, the glory as it were of the only begotten of the Father,) full of grace and truth.
"[D]arkness did not comprehend it... His own received Him not." Oh dear...
I later spoke with my mate Justin via mobile phone, and he seemed to think that persons talking away loudly in church do need to be told to stop doing so; but I know I overstepped the mark. Mea culpa; ora pro me peccatore.