Last Saturday, popping into the Brompton Oratory for Mass, I noted that there was an impromptu confession queue starting. I took a deep breath, ‘it’ll be ok’ I told myself, ‘don’t give the priest your life story complete with anecdotes about your first day at school…tell your sins…and if the priest has some hard things to say…listen!’ I have a tendency to shock myself with the way I repeat the same aul sins, and queue for confession with the same aul litany of sins. Were I to go to the same confessor all the time, he would be paralysed with boredom. It’s actually an act of charity that I go to several different priests.
So, while I waited last Saturday, someone else joined the confession queue, gave me a bright smile, and gave me a picture of Our Lady. I thanked them; they continued to smile brightly, they looked like they were really looking forward to going to confession, and their enthusiasm was catching.
I went to confession and it was fine. There was no loud argument, no gnashing of teeth and no wailing as there never is in reality, except in my imagination.
This Saturday, I attended the Latin Mass Society AGM Mass in Westminster Cathedral, I stayed in the cathedral for about an hour afterwards, contemplated going to confession, but lingered at the various altars mostly praying for my family and friends. Whilst in the confession queue, I turned just as someone who looked familiar turned into the confession queue. It was the exact same person that I had seen in the confession queue last week. We both caught our breath in surprise.
‘It’s you!’ they said ‘I know you by your…’ they whispered as they nodded to that scruffy mantilla that I wear. Here we were again, one week on, in different places in London, but next to each other in the confession queue.