My wife and I wanted to get Lent off on the right foot, so we went early to the Saturday mass at Maria Stein in order to receive the Sacrament of Reconciliation (aka Confession) before mass. In addition to mass and confession, the rosary is prayed before mass, starting at 11:05 am. These are old-fashioned Catholics who insist on praying the Glorious Mysteries on Saturday, even though Pope John Paul II changed all that with his apostolic letter Rosarium Virginis Maria. He "suggested" adding the Luminous Mysteries on Thursday and rearranged the order for the other three mysteries such that the Joyful Mysteries now fall on Saturday.
As we crossed the parking lot to approach the entrance to the chapel, another woman was entering. I turned to my wife and said (in perhaps slightly less charitable language), “There’s that blessed soul who always says ‘amongth’ during her Hail Marys.” My wife replied to me, “Are you sure? Is she one of the leaders?” “Yes,” says I, “and it annoys me to no end. When we take our seats after confession, please don’t sit in front of her.” My wife, ever the jokester, answered, “I’ll sit right in front of her so that you have something more to offer up during mass.” I was relieved, after confession, to find my wife sitting on the far side of the chapel from Mrs. Amongth. During the rosary, I could still hear her strange pronunciation if I listened for it, but it wasn’t nearly as distracting.
Upon reflecting on this incidence, two additional thoughts came to me. First was that, if I were more charitable and determined to follow a path to perfection, I suppose that, ala St. Therese of Liseux, I would have purposefully not only sat near this woman, but warmly greeted her as well. I guess I’m not there yet.
My second observation is that, as I type these things out, I must appear to be annoyed by everything. I’ve never thought of myself that way, but there it is. Maybe what I should really give up for Lent is complaining about others. My dear wife has quite a burden to put up with in me. Do you suppose that I can claim that I’m just doing my part in helping her get to heaven?